The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 3, 2013

Readers' Forum 11-3 | Even unimportant elections are important

Submitted by Readers

JOHNSTOWN — Tuesday is no usual Tuesday. It’s the municipal election here in Pennsylvania. It doesn’t always get the most attention, being an off-off-year election. No major offices are up for grabs, international policy will not change and we are not besieged with countless TV, radio and newspaper ads.

That doesn’t make Tuesday any less important. Our local municipalities are the last true home to the ideals that created America. Federal politics are exceedingly out of touch with the people. Petty arguments and mindless speeches do not make good government.

Our local municipalities, however, represent our day-to-day needs.

Will my streets be clean in the winter and maintained in the summer?

Will my garbage be picked up when I set it out on the curb?

Will my neighborhood park be safe to use?

Will the police, fire and medical help I need arrive in time?

These are the issues we are looking at on Tuesday. The time it takes to go and vote isn’t great, but it is important for our communities. Participation makes the process work.

As with any election, we will have winners and losers. That’s the process as it should be. Ideas are tested as we all contribute to the direction we will move in the next two years.

I hope to see you at the voting booth on Tuesday.

Joseph Sernell

Geistown Borough

Affordable Care Act is bad economics

This letter is in response to Jim Scofield’s column on Oct. 29 (“Criticisms of new Affordable Care Act”). His view seems to be that everyone, including some media and the GOP, are giving Obamacare a bad rap.

Too bad Scofield is not a professor of economics. If he was, he would see that the Affordable Care Act is bad economics.

I’m sure Scofield and others think that every American should get free health care. In a perfect world, yes. But our world, and country, are far from perfect. Someone has to pay for “free” health care.

In his column, Scofield tried to use an analogy by comparing his homeowners insurance to Obamacare. It was so off-base.

If I had an insurance policy and never had to file a claim, so what. At least I know that if I had to file a claim, my insurance company would rebuild my home in case of a disaster. It’s not as if all my premiums were going to someone without homeowners insurance. It would go to other policyholders who pay their premiums every month.

That’s one of the problems with Obamacare. Not enough young, healthy taxpayers are joining to help offset the demand from older, sicker taxpayers. The Affordable Care Act is going to go bankrupt, and that’s just one of its flaws. I’m not a professor, just a concerned high school-educated citizen.

Paul A. Hornbake


Affordable Care Act was mismanaged

Perhaps this is too simplistic or perhaps I am not well-enough informed of the intricacies in Obamacare, but if the majority of people who are successfully enrolling in Obamacare are enrolling in the Medicaid portion of the act, why didn’t we approach this in a more targeted manner?

The Affordable Care Act is trying to provide affordable health care to the poorest in our country. Why do we not simply allow the needy to enroll in Medicaid on a sliding scale cost basis? Pay according to income. Many people would pay nothing, and the cost would be picked up by the taxpayers, who are the government.

I believe this would probably be cheaper and more cost efficient than the $654 million we have already spent on the computer system that doesn’t work.

If you consider that people who simply answer the phones at Obamacare are receiving $26,000 a year and who knows what the so called “navigators,” who are going to guide the rest of us through Obamacare, are paid, the costs are never-ending. I have seen that it is upwards of $70,000. And with no background checks.

Let the rest of the people who were satisfied with their health care continue choosing and paying for their health care privately or from their employers. Government could enact regulations for those things that need to be corrected, such as pre-existing conditions.

Why turn the entire country upside down because we want to provide health care to the needy?

Rebecca L. Carlin


Redistricting cannot create new world

Both parties like the idea of safe congressional seats, especially the congressmen who occupy them, so the chances of persuading them to support a new system are pretty slim. Also, the 11 percent approval is misleading; while the body as a whole gets lousy marks, most voters are fond of their own congressman.

There is always a touch of self-righteousness in discussions of redistricting, as if by some magical snap of the finger a new world could be created with perfectly “fair” legislative districts. It seems naive to assume that a system could be created that would not be subject to manipulation.

An intransigent Congress was not the only problem in the recent shutdown; some of the blame must be borne by President Obama. Obama is a product of Cook County, Ill., politics. In Illinois generally, and Chicago especially, there is little of a loyal opposition, so the president isn’t accustomed to talking to anyone but his fellow Democrats. That works in the Windy City and during Obama’s first term, but now not so much.

As a leader, he needs to be talking to the opposition in hopes of finding common ground. This isn’t an impossible dream; the late House Speaker Tip O’Neil and President Ronald Reagan had an understanding, as did former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton.

Our system can work if the people running it are willing to do so, the presi-

dent first among them. That can happen a lot sooner than Congress can be redistricted.

Dave Folan