It is very frustrating when we as consumers are faced with issues such as facility fees (12-30, A1, “ ‘Facility fees’ add billions to bills”).
Wayne Powell, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City chief of staff, states that to his knowledge subscribers have lodged no questions or complaints about facility fees.
When was the last time a person who has Medicare and a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicare supplement policy received a bill directly from the clinic or hospital? We have no idea what is being charged or what the codes are for.
We are expected to help report fraud if there are charges from doctors or facilities that we didn’t use, but we’ve no idea about reasonable amounts. It would seem to me that the insurance company and Medicare would be questioning these increases and work on helping keep medical costs down.
I sure hope that Medicare and companies such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield can and will stop this practice in the future by refusing to pay for unwarranted and unethical fees that hospital groups charge just because they have become for-profit operations and no longer are facilities that take care of the patient.
I can see why some doctors are embarrassed with this practice.
My New Year’s resolution is to fight and work harder to help create a world in which sharing, justice and peace are not only vague ideals but are manifest in political and economic realities.
There is simply no reason for the continued suffering of so many of our fellows, except for maybe our negligence.
We have it within our power to end it, and we should and must.
It truly is time to walk the talk. I cordially invite all others who share this goal to join me in this resolution and effort.
The Civil War proved that the Second Amendment should have been rewritten, if not repealed.
That horrible war was exactly what some of the framers of the Constitution wrongly thought to be the means to control oppressive central government.
Why would we ever again want to go through armed opposition to the federal government? If the federal government were to lose an internal conflict to a “well armed militia,” it would no longer exist.
That’s a cure much worse than any imaginable disease. And anyone who has studied the Border War and bleeding Kansas can attest that armed ruffians and Jayhawkers provided no solution to anything.
Now there really is no justification for a heavily armed citizenry.
The time has come to end the posturing regarding gun rights and come up with some sensible restrictions regarding the private ownership of high-capacity assault weapons.
KC Chiefs legacy
Second stringers go down valiantly, prompting a multitude of sensational headquarter and media optimistic reports that “The Chiefs’ second team is almost as good as our first team” (12-30, A1, “It’s a wild-card date in Indianapolis”).
Of course, that knife has two blades. Maybe it would be more truthful to report that the Chiefs’ first team is almost as bad as their second team.
Missouri Republican Sen. Will Kraus, the latest prince of giveaways, estimates that his latest proposal would cost the state $1 billion (12-30, A1, “Missouri tax-cut plan resurfaces”).
Kraus has revived a bill to give a 50 percent deduction for business income reported on individual tax returns and other tax reductions for corporate interests.
It seems that we who live or work (as I do) in Missouri can’t escape the power plays designed to give away the state’s resources at the expense of education and other services. Why?
I can’t imagine. Missouri already ranks 16th in the nation for best business tax climate (vs. 20th for Kansas), says the State Business Tax Climate Index for 2014.
Missouri voters, imagine the devastation Sen. Kraus is trying to inflict upon child services, road maintenance, schools and elder care.
Funding safety net
People most dependent on Social Security and Medicare are those earning less than $100,000 annually. People with lower incomes get it from wages, not capital gains.
People with wages of $113,700 or less pay payroll taxes on all of it. Those earning more pay more for Medicare. Those at the top make far more from capital gains, on which they pay no payroll tax.
Those who make the least might pay no income tax, but they still pay the payroll tax. Contributions for “entitlement” spending come from those most dependent on that benefit.
The tea party Republicans are most adamant about controlling entitlement spending. People who are not part of the top 1 percent are coerced by the Koch brothers’ money to give their votes to tea party candidates.
The wealthy do not wait for a Social Security payment to pay the rent.
Why are the wealthy concerned if those of us who are not wealthy want to tax ourselves to support benefits that many of us need or may need in the future?
These are benefits that the wealthy will probably not need.
Logic of liberals
The fuzzy logic of liberals continually amazes me.
They push for $15 an hour for people doing unskilled, entry-level jobs, which any reasonable economist will tell you would result in a large decrease in the number of these jobs that are available.
As justification, liberals point to a study that suggests that “low-paid workers in the fast-food industry are costing U.S. taxpayers about $7 billion a year because they are forced to get public assistance such as food stamps and Medicaid.” OK, fair enough.
Yet liberals are the same folks who believe that the most efficient way to help people is to have the government take from the rich (and middle class) and redistribute to the poor. So you would think liberals would be thrilled about the way this $7 billion is collected and spent.
Personally, I am fine with the $7 billion a year of tax dollars that are going to decent, hard-working Americans who constitute the working poor of our society. It is the untold billions going to able-bodied but lazy non-working adults that I take issue with.
William Sean Nunn
Trusted Star delivery
Many of us seem to find an unending amount of things to complain about and use this forum to express our dissatisfaction with a whole range of topics, including politics, The Star, the Kansas Department of Motor Vehicles (one of my favorites) and more.
This time, I would just like to acknowledge an individual who gives outstanding service and dependability.
And he consistently delivers, no matter what the weather — good, bad or horrible. What does he deliver? Our Kansas City Star.
His name is Jeff Gillenwater. I can’t recall a missed paper delivery, but last winter I thought a huge snowstorm had stopped him in his tracks because I could not find my paper.
I thought: “Good for him. He should not be out in this mess anyway.” A few days later, I saw something protruding from a mound of melting snow that the snowplow had made.
It was our newspaper. Jeff Gillenwater had been here after all.
That is dedication. We want to publicly say thank you to Jeff Gillenwater.
We appreciate your loyalty so much. We and The Star are fortunate to have you.
Thanks for assistance
On behalf of the Filipino community in Kansas City, I extend a big thank you for the overwhelming donations, expressions of concern and prayers over the recent massive storm that hit the Philippines.
I especially commend the U.S. Armed Forces for their quick humanitarian response.
It is a shame, though, that had the U.S. Navy not been banished from Subic Bay, ships could have come closer to the scene of destruction.
Manuel P. Pardo, M.D.