Letters to the Editor

VA care, Missouri sales tax, atheists and faith

Shortcomings in care

It has been reported that some Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics place veterans on waiting lists for treatment so protracted that people die. This is shameful and outrageous. Such disregard for the care and treatment of fellow Americans is unconscionable.

All Americans should be concerned with the health and well being of fellow citizens. However, for purely partisan reasons, many Republican governors and legislatures have chosen not to adopt Medicaid expansion.

A recent study published in Annals of Internal Medicine provides some of the best data in connecting health insurance to saved lives. The study found that after Massachusetts’ “Romneycare” was enacted in 2006, lifespans lengthened.

It is estimated that by rejecting Medicaid expansion, upward of 6,000 additional Americans could die annually.

It is absolutely imperative that corrections be made in the VA. The loss of life is unjustifiable.

So should we not be concerned, too, for the loss of life because of the rejection of the Medicaid expansion?

Ken Strange

Kansas City

Vote no on tax

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon isn’t a party of one (6-3, A4, “Nixon opposes increase”). I’m in it, too.

I plan to vote against the tax increase in protest. The tax breaks to our wealthier citizens juxtaposed with an increased sales tax to fund infrastructure makes me angry.

Jennifer Chapin


Questions of faith

Some atheists think all atheists should not respond to criticism. I do not agree with this idea.

If a critic makes a claim and no one rebuts his statement, the listener or reader generally tends to agree with the critic.

It is necessary to respond for two reasons. One is to make an opposing viewpoint public, and the second is it prevents mass acceptance if the critic is challenged.

Christians spend their entire lives claiming an imaginary, invisible, wizardly sky dictator exists. They base this on the evidence (actually a claim) in an almost 4,000-year-old book of stories, written by wandering Bronze Age shepherds who believed the world was flat and the sun circled the Earth, and knew nothing about the vast oceans and continents and size of the planet.

As for any nosediving airplanes, how many survivors knew any person yelling, “Oh God,” was an atheist? Did they ask?

Who took this poll and who verified it?

Dennis L. Joyce

Plattsburg, Mo.

Courtesy missing

I find Leawood to be a lovely place, but it does seem there are many in our little burg who feel exceptionally entitled and special. I manage to hide my amusement as I walk around one of your gigantic SUVs blocking the entrance to some establishment, usually with the engine still running.

After all, I understand that you are delicate flowers and cannot be expected to park in a space with the unwashed masses and walk all that way to the door. However, after nearly being hit twice by your shiny, large cars while running, I must request that you temper your specialness with common courtesy.

I know you have pressing calls to make on your cellphones while simultaneously checking your visor mirror to ensure that every hair is in place. But wouldn’t you feel bad if you dragged someone to his or her death under your car?

Not to mention the possibility that your fabulous vehicle might sustain some damage should such a collision occur.

If you just glance up occasionally and actually stop when we have the right of way, you won’t be any less elite.

Lou Williams


Republican support

What if everything today remained the same except our president was a 65-year-old white Republican named John Smith? What would be different?

The talking heads on the right would praise President Smith for giving us the “best economy” in U.S. history.

They would tout his health-care bill as long overdue because too many poor Americans have been getting away with not having health insurance and using emergency rooms, which drive up health-care costs for those with money.

They would be bragging about how the president enabled manufacturers to make more guns.

Most important, they would point out he has, through tax law, fueled the movement of wealth into fewer and fewer extremely wealthy pockets.

Given the president’s philosophy that the more money we give to the wealthy, the better off we all are, he is quickly moving to the point that all citizens in the wealthiest 1 percent should receive a gold card allowing them to skip paying sales taxes, gas taxes, property taxes and fees for such things as driver’s licenses.

After all, if giving more to the wealthiest among us helps the least among us, then why not go all the way?

Ron Roesler

Manhattan, Kan.

Medicaid expansion

On behalf of the physicians and medical students who constitute the Missouri Chapter of the American College of Physicians, I express deep concern for the citizens of Missouri if the legislature fails expand Medicaid eligibility as allowed under the Affordable Care Act.

Missouri citizens who are not eligible for Medicaid and make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level are not receiving the health care they need because of legislative intransigence.

Ironically, those whose incomes exceed 138 percent of the federal poverty level receive premium assistance if they have signed up for health insurance. Next year, the federal government will stop a longstanding policy of paying Missouri hospitals for uncompensated care (payments for the uninsured).

Although Medicaid expansion was made optional by the Supreme Court, other parts of the legislation, such as halting payments for uncompensated care, remain in place. This reduction of revenue without the corresponding expansion of Medicaid eligibility will have a very negative effect on health care for all Missourians.

Alan D. Forker, M.D.


Missouri Chapter

American College

of Physicians


Steve Rose column

Steve Rose, in his June 1 column, “Meddling state lawmakers cut county funds,” was essentially correct about the loss of mortgage registration fees in Johnson County because of the Legislature in Topeka. Not known is what lobby secured the support of state Sen. Jeff Melcher of Leawood.

The voters need to find out the motivation for this betrayal of our county. The expectation that this loss of revenue might generate a heated dispute in the primary race for the Johnson County Commission chair is premature and clouds the issue.

Sen. Melcher owes voters an apology and should have the tax increase placed in his lap. Mr. Rose should share the rest of the story.

Tom Raby


End death penalty

I have long been against the death penalty. The Oklahoma debacle with Clayton Lockett reinforced my belief. There has been much outrage about how the execution took place, and I share that outrage.

The reasons I oppose the death penalty are numerous: First, it is more costly to execute a person than to maintain the prisoner for life. Second, not everything is known about the poisonous drugs injected into the person’s body, and this is a must to comply with the Eighth Amendment.

But most important, it does not bring the victim back. I prefer to live in the New Testament of forgiveness rather than in the Old Testament’s “eye for an eye.” I wonder, which of these men Jesus would choose to execute?

I have lost friends to murder, too many in fact. But the days are long gone when revenge was the only solution. Yet, our government continues to pursue the death penalty out of laziness, or perhaps greed. After all, the longer cases get drawn out, the more money for the attorneys, right?

If common sense were to reign, there would be no death penalty but life in prison for our most heinous criminals.

George M. Melby

Pastor, Retired

Kansas City