Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made a decision that would require new insurance plans to cover birth control with no co-pays.
This would be an incredible achievement for the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and a giant step for preventive health care.
Birth control needs to be available, so whether you are a low-income family or a broke college student, you are able to stay safe.
However, House Republicans are attacking the decision by insisting that Catholic-based hospitals and schools be exempted.
These institutions are supposed to employ and serve many individuals from different backgrounds and faiths, consequently, millions of people and their families would be denied access to affordable birth control if the department succumbs to pressure.
It is not respectable or professional for an employer or school to dictate whether an employee or student has access to affordable birth control.
It is true that women of all faiths use birth control, and that it is an essential part of preventative health care.
It is important to not impose religious beliefs on others just because of where they attend school or because of where they work.
Temporary patches, mounting harm
As the Nov. 29 editorial “Medicare challenges” points out, the looming 27 percent cut to Medicare physician payments scheduled to occur on Jan. 1 will have devastating repercussions for physicians and their patients in Medicare and TRICARE, the military health-care program. What is not noted is the adverse effect it has already had on taxpayers’ wallets.
On 12 separate occasions, Congress has put in place temporary patches to prevent the cuts triggered by this faulty formula. This failed policy of short-term patches spends more taxpayer money to preserve a system everyone agrees is broken. Congress’ short-term patches have already increased the overall cost to taxpayers for permanent repeal of the broken Medicare physician payment formula from $48 billion in 2005 to nearly $300 billion this year.
Congress’ first responsibility must be to stop this massive cut and protect access to care for seniors and military families. Going forward, Congress must also work to find a permanent solution to this ongoing problem and repeal the Medicare physician payment formula once and for all.
Peter W. Carmel
American Medical Association
Not-so dedicated firefighters
During the union-backed campaign to repeal Senate Bill 5, we were constantly fed stories of devotion and bravery by members of the firefighters’ union. If Senate Bill 5 is left in place, firefighters warned, your houses will burn to the ground and your children will lose their lives.
Now we find out from news reports that over Thanksgiving, there were so many firefighters calling in sick in Cleveland that two fire stations had to close.
Where was the concern for the babies and property then?
When you complain about your commute, think of the Cleveland firefighter who lives part-time in San Diego?
We should not worry. I’m sure he gets a negotiated gas allowance.