Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss term limits, Lions Clubs and Senate leaders’ hypocrisy

Here’s a question

Do The Star’s Missouri Influencers panelists think that allowing Missouri governors to hold two successive terms in office has benefited the state’s government? (Sept. 24, 1A, “Term limits ‘a disaster,’ say many state leaders”)

Annabeth Miller

Dexter, Mo.

Fighting blindness

In her Sept. 20 commentary, Haben Girma told of Helen Keller’s inspiration to generations. (13A, “The triumphs of Helen Keller teach lessons to everyone”)

But Keller’s legacy also includes what has become a worldwide effort to eradicate preventable blindness. In 1925, she pleaded to the Lions Clubs International Convention at Cedar Point, Ohio: “I appeal to you, Lions — you who have your sight, your hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind — will you not constitute yourselves knights of the blind in my crusade against darkness?”

Most people know Lions Clubs collect used eyeglasses. Yes, but they do much more. They provide eye exams, glasses, camps, playgrounds and activities such as fishing tournaments for the sightless or visually impaired. Lions build hospitals, especially in third-world countries, where millions of cataract surgeries are performed every year. And those used eyeglasses bring sight and hope to millions.

In the 1970s, the University of Kansas Medical Center ophthalmology clinic had the only laser equipment between Chicago and Los Angeles, funded almost entirely by Kansas Lions Clubs. KU Eye Center is the beneficiary of nearly $2 million it would have to do without — or taxpayers would have to provide — if Lions weren’t there.

Neal K. Nichols

Overland Park

People over profit

The Star recently reported on the 400 percent drug price hike that Nostrum Laboratories CEO Nirmal Mulye perpetrated. (Sept. 21, 6A, “KC CEO who hiked drug price 400 percent says he got death threats”) This report is timely given the increasing prevalence of similar actions across the pharmaceutical industry.

As a physician and fellow health care consumer, I believe these price-gouging tactics should be illegal. Such financially motivated decisions by business-minded CEOs have real life-and-death consequences for innumerable people.

At their core, these price hikes are unethical and inconsistent with the promotion of health that pharmaceutical companies should uphold as a tenet of their operations. Hospitals do not sacrifice patients’ health for their bottom lines, so why is it tolerated when pharmaceutical companies do so?

One intervention that could really make a difference would be for the government to set price limits for medications designated as “essential” by the World Health Organization. An alternative or supplementary option would be federal subsidization to help cover manufacturing costs for essential medications. This policy could promote more competition within the market and prevent monopolies that allow for such absurd price points.

Caitlin Collins

Kansas City

Under a cloud

It is the height of hypocrisy for the Republicans to have refused even to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, for almost a year and now try to ramrod Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination at breakneck speed.

It is also ludicrous to allow a president under investigation to appoint a Supreme Court justice. Moreover, Kavanaugh’s opinion that a president should not be subject to legal prosecution or even investigation as long as he remains president is all but promising Trump a free pass. This appears to be why Kavanaugh received Trump’s nomination.

The one hope we have to end this madness is to vote Democratic in November and end the Republican majority in Congress.

Thomas J. Elmy

Independence

Situational ‘smear’

I watched with some amusement, and amazement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s statement that the sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh were a “smear” campaign and politically motivated. (Sept. 25, 1A, “Feeling heat, Kavanaugh vows to fight ‘smears’”) He then stated that politics should not play a part in confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justices.

As McConnell gets older, he must be losing his memory. I remember two years ago, he and the rest of the GOP stalwarts refused to give President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee even a hearing. Their stated reason? “This should be taken up after the general election so that the incoming senators and representatives can have their opinions heard.”

So the nomination of Merrick Garland was delayed for most of 2016, and then discarded.

If this reasoning is true, why is Kavanaugh’s nomination being pushed through a little more than a month before the midterm election? What’s good for the goose — well, you know the rest of the phrase.

If this ain’t politics, I don’t know what is.

Carol Kelly

Overland Park

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