I am writing this letter to support the restoration of long-term unemployment benefits.
At a time when families are in need, our representatives should listen to their constituents and provide them with assistance.
Long-term unemployment benefits are not a waste of taxpayer dollars. Assistance of this kind is exactly its purpose, to aid citizens of the nation who are in need until they can find work.
Congress must help workers in their respective states and restore long-term unemployment benefits.
IRENE W. DOWDELL
After reading the story about the homeless in Chattanooga, I am sending the Community Kitchen $500 and emptying out closets to provide warmth to those who don't have any. I challenge residents of Chattanooga and Hamilton County to do the same. If you can't match me, contact friends and relatives to chip in to pool your resources. Employers could match employees' donations, and corporations could do likewise.. As for the city, $75,000 is chump change. It's fine that rich folks can walk or jog or exercise their dogs on all of these green ways that cost millions of dollars, not to mention the cost of the boondoggle at the riverfront, while hundreds of men, women and children live under bridges, in cars and in abandoned buildings. I challenge the City and County to unite for a solution and funding for those who need it the most. I figure that the majority doesn't want a hand out but a hand up in housing, education and job opportunities. How about that for a New Year's Resolution? Let's get our priorities straight.
BETSY BRAMLETT, Missionary Ridge
Greetings! With the beginning of the New Year I find that I can no longer keep silent on the "issue" of equal rights for all citizens of this great country. I am proud do call myself a Christian, but I weep at what I see happening in my religious community of brothers and sisters. I will be brief. We are not allowed to judge or point fingers. We are not without sin. Sin is sin to God. If being a sinner disqualifies one from having benefits that all city and county employees have, then it would only be fair to either give them to all, or take them away from everyone. As citizens, gay Americans have just as many rights as we who are heterosexual and should be afforded the same constitutional protections as everyone else. You see, we can only point a finger when the log is out of our own eye. God is a God of love and fairness. He loves all sinners the same. He and only he will judge all accordingly. Blessings.
DAN YOUNG, Pikeville, Tenn.
After reading Dr. Danielle Mitchell's and Roy Vaughn's letters regarding BlueCross Blue Shield's policy change for physician laboratory services, I would like to make the following observations and offer a compromise.
Physicians are under increasing pressure to administer quality care while still keeping the lights on, paying rent, employees, etc. Insurance companies are in a state of flux with changes mandated by Obamacare providing defined coverage at affordable prices.
BlueCross BlueShield knows (or should know) which providers currently accept payment for laboratory services a rates less than Medicare reimbursement rates. Their demand for a 48 percent reduction in payments for laboratory services should be directed at these providers. In this way, BCBS can remain competitive with the insurance companies that have negotiated these rates, but also remain a top choice for consumers because of less restrictive provider options. I agree with Dr. Mitchell's conclusion that certain specialties cannot continue to provide lab services at these lower rates. Also, patients will be unhappy with going to a separate facility to have lab tests drawn. With this compromise, BCBS patients can receive and providers can continue to give high quality care.
J. EUGENE HUFFSTUTTER, MD, Signal Mountain
I've found a place for conservative Republicans, tea party and NRA members. Pakistan: Only 0.57 percent of Pakistanis paid income tax last year. Pakistan has one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world, leaving public services woefully underfunded. The wealthy pay a disproportionately low share of taxes while poor Pakistanis are disproportionately hit by high direct taxes on fuel, food and phone use. Last year nearly 70 percent of Pakistani lawmakers did not file tax returns. Pakistan maintains multiple weapons of mass destruction programs and unrestricted automatic weapons ownership with unlimited club size. Religious extremist groups are everywhere, so you can move to Pakistan and have your own personal little apocalypse. You could take a job guarding the teams administering polio vaccine in the tribal region and get in a gun battle over trying to save religious extremists' lives. Many Pakistanis own 4-by-4 (vehicles) because most of the roads are dirt. Whether conservative Republicans, tea party or NRA members intend the U.S. to be like Pakistan, this would be the results of their leadership (oxymoron).
And here I was thinking that all of the warmist-alarmists were safely ensconced in the melted ice of Antarctica, but here -- locally -- we experience a spot of cold weather and the Times editorial feels the requirement; indeed, the necessity to justify the prophesy of climate change! While I can appreciate the need for your teaching moment, surely, you can see that, unlike the Antarctic ice, climate change divining is wearing a bit thin, can't you?
And need I remind, the climate-change we've been banged about the ears over, 'lo these many years, was rising temperatures. So much so, that I now have a constant ringing thereabouts. So, what happened when the prophesied warming failed to materialize? Why, simply re-define the culprit, maybe to suit the moment, or, as in this case, the century.
Yep. "When at first you don't succeed, try ... " re-positioning to a place where any weather event of any kind confirms the correctness of that position! What a nice place to land, huh? But, is it science?
JOHNNY RAY BROWN, Ooltewah
Your first-page article, "Shootings rise here; killings decline," grabs my attention in a way I suppose it isn't supposed to. But my thoughts consistently say -- and perhaps not as a Christian should -- "let them kill one another so we taxpayers won't have to pay their medical bills, provide disability payments, probably food stamps, Medicaid, support their children, and on and on." Gang members departing this world are a blessing. Perhaps God will take care of them -- one way or another. If this is offensive to your liberal rag, you might wish to consider a more un-biased overall stance for your paper. After all, the majority of those who actually pay for each issue (because we have no local alternative) might even encourage other like-minded Chattanoogans to re-subscribe.
KATHLEEN M. OWEN