Today, the enrollment phase in the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act begins.

On Sept. 26, President Obama highlighted this occasion with a detailed presentation about the necessity, benefits and procedures of the law. As a health-policy analyst, I often view these events on several TV networks to obtain different views.

I discovered the president’s presentation was thoroughly carried by CNN and MSNBC, but was essentially ignored by CNBC and Fox News.

Expect more of the same. Ultra-conservative “think tanks” (such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute) are among those making a last-minute effort to trounce Obamacare before people actually begin to understand it might be useful.

A Republican study group recently released a report on health reform (about 50 years late). Presumably, if the Affordable Care Act is destroyed, “Republicare” could replace it.

Both the report and its premises are bogus on numerous technical and socioeconomic levels.

It was just another hollow, grandstanding sham to distract from real issues confronting the American health-care system.

Polls show Americans don’t want the reform law, by a few percentage points, about the same the number as admit they don’t understand the law. But the percentage-point spread doesn’t come close to the extent the radical misanthropes in the tea party Congress would suggest.

Besides, when Americans and their representatives in Congress are asked what part of the act should be discarded, one frequently gets an admission that much of it is in their self-interest, after all.

Perplexingly, some unions, traditionally champions of health-care reform, now profess reservations about the act. Could union influence over workers and industry engendered by control over health care since World War II be in jeopardy?

Economists are well aware that no empirical evidence supports the notion that the act is going to have a major negative impact on the overall economy or work force.

Conversely, disenfranchising the act would be disastrous to the vast majority of Americans and to our health-care industry, the largest in the world.

We should be careful what we want our representatives to do. I suggest we tell them to stop lying about the act for purely partisan reasons.

William J. Lambert Jr.

Jackson Township

GOP shooting? itself in the foot?

Good news about gun control: With a GOP shutdown of the federal government, gun permits won’t be processed.

Perhaps the tea party is really for gun control, and shutting down the government is a diversion to accomplish it and save face.

Mary F. Hazlett


Congressional ?job security

I’m just a simple Joe who gave seven and a half years of his life to defend our country. I look at Congress and scratch my head.

They passed the health-care law and are now trying to tell us that the law should never have been passed and should be defunded.

How stupid and arrogant are they to think that we don’t see what they’re doing?

Do we pay them to pass laws, then tell us they shouldn’t have passed the laws and now need to pay them to get rid of the laws?

Let’s take away our legislators’ perks. Maybe that would save enough to balance the budget.

Leonard Liberman


Questions to ask ?on NSA bugging

The U.S. government has been leading for decades an effort, hidden from the public, to engage in unlimited bugging of Americans. It has forced companies to comply with court orders and shut off discussion by elected officials through gag orders.

Some questions:

How did the feds put a gag order on our senators and representatives to keep them from discussing the bugging with the people they were elected to represent?

Did the feds have the legal right to do so? May the federal government place gag orders on our elected officials without recourse by the people?

Do our elected officials have the right to lie to the public about this? Does the president?

Do heads of federal agencies have the right to lie to our elected officials in congressional hearings regarding bugging?

The contracts U.S. citizens sign with Internet and cell phone companies provide for the guarantee of privacy.

Have these contracts been violated on a wholesale basis, opening the door to massive class-action lawsuits?

What is the current justification for the expense and effort to keep all this surveillance operational (an approximate price tag of $44 billion) to protect us from terrorists, when no terrorist will likely ever use the Internet or cell phones again now that the nature of U.S. surveillance has been disclosed?

It pretty much appears, to the horror of the rest of the world, that the U.S. feels justified in bugging everyone; that the assumption on the part of the government is that we have no right to individual or collective privacy of our communications.

The government is strangely silent at present. What is the truth on the above matters?

Who knows? It’s secret.

David Kettlewell


Managing excitement

To watch Terry Francona light up describing the little things his Cleveland Indians players do right is incredibly amazing.

His press conferences are as much fun to watch as an Indians’ win. He gets so excited in his positive thinking. He is a beautiful personality.

Jim Henes

Cuyahoga Falls

Obama did try?sensible gun control

I am writing in response to the Sept. 27 letter “Common sense about guns,” which completely contradicts every point the writer tried to make.

President Obama’s “scheme” was, in fact, to create common-sense gun laws, beginning with across-the-board, mandatory background checks, as the majority of the citizens in this country wanted.

If the writer had any clue about privacy laws, he would understand the problem with the mentally ill is that medical teams are not allowed to put someone’s name on the “do not buy” list because of the privacy regulations in the Health Insurance and Portability Act.

If that were permitted, then a lot of the legally purchased guns by mentally ill people would not happen. If that were permitted, perhaps the Navy could have stopped the Navy Yard shooter from being allowed to purchase weapons. We can only guess.

No one with half a brain believes that common-sense gun laws would take guns out of the hands of criminals, but requiring national, mandatory background checks would have been a good place to begin addressing the very real problem this country has with its gun culture.

From there, we may have been able to address the problem with the mentally ill being able to obtain weapons legally.

But we won’t know until Congress has the intelligence to take a stand and vote on the side of the majority.

Should Obama not have asked Congress to pass common-sense laws? He did, and Congress allowed the money the National Rifle Association lines their pockets with to decide for them.

Lora Crossgrove

Copley Township

Leave the swans?alone

The article about killing the mute swans was and still is very upsetting to a number of residents (“Portage Lakes swans swim afoul of state nuisance law,” Aug. 31). It’s easy to understand that a species not native to the lakes can be harmful. However, shooting them is not the answer.

The geese are a larger problem for residents, due to the mess they leave, oftentimes making other animals ill. The cormorants are also a nuisance.

As I drove through the lakes the other day, it was sad not to see those beautiful swans in their areas.

Before the Ohio Department of Natural Resources commits murder again, it should ask the residents to vote on it. Please, leave our swans alone.

Nancy Sliwinski

Coventry Township

Chief Wahoo ?has to go

My Choctaw grandmother must be spinning in her grave from the continued use of “Indians” as the name of the Cleveland baseball team and, in particular, the blatantly bigoted Chief Wahoo, or “Little Red Sambo,” as he is called in the rest of the country.

If that were a caricature of a black man with big, white lips, there would be hell to pay. Clueless fans either don’t realize or give a damn about how insulting he and the team name are.

And speaking of baseball, can’t something be done about the grammatically challenged Rick Manning?

William McCullough