State shouldn’t wait to get kids enrolledin insurance programs

April 9th, 2010 admin Posted in obama national health care Comments Off

State shouldn’t wait

to get kids enrolled

in insurance programs

The story “Nixon pledge to insure every child loses punch” (Nov. 24) was about the Missouri Department of Social Services’ failure to adopt new measures to enroll eligible uninsured children in the Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for Gov. Jay Nixon, said that the governor’s office “wants to see what Congress does with the health care issue” before adopting new measures to help the state cover eligible uninsured children.

Missouri’s most vulnerable children should not be in limbo until comprehensive health care reform legislation is passed. Indeed, they do not have to wait. Congress gave Missouri new tools and additional funding to increase children’s enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP when it passed the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act this year. That legislation has refueled efforts to enroll eligible low-income uninsured children. Many states are taking advantage of new opportunities to streamline their programs to help kids enroll and stay enrolled without wasteful bureaucracy. Missouri should do the same.

Moreover, while the article focuses on a new strategy called “express lane eligibility,” there are other simple and effective measures that would help Missouri cover eligible low-income children. The state should adopt measures that protect its investment in the children already enrolled to ensure that they do not fall off the program because of unnecessary red tape. Such measures would help ensure that kids being treated for medical problems do not experience a gap in care, reduce serious illnesses among children and save the state money in the long term. CHIPRA can help the governor make good on his promise to the state’s children and families.

In grim economic times, families face serious financial struggles and need the help more than ever.Joel Ferber — St. Louis

Director of Advocacy, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri

Change needed at Metro

The editorial “Unity: In transit” (Nov. 27), favoring another tax hike for the Metro transit agency, misrepresented the situation. Metro doesn’t have a revenue problem as much as a management problem. It also has a problem with local officials — notably St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

Mr. Dooley and the St. Louis County Council cut $8.5 million from the Metro budget last year to scare voters into approving a tax hike. This is to be followed by $10 million in annual cuts, part of a campaign to get voters to approve a tax hike. The county has the money but diverts it.

Metro provides multi-million dollar transit subsidies to Washington University. This includes a shuttle service that had been operated by a private contractor. Washington University is one of the wealthiest universities in the nation, and charges nearly $50,000 a year for tuition and board.

Metro provides free parking at its nearly 12,000 parking spots. Even a modest charge would bring in millions of dollars annually. Installing turnstiles at MetroLink stations could increase revenue by a considerable amount. Studies in other cities have found that 5 percent of riders don’t pay with an open system.

If St. Louis County would restore the funding that rightfully should go to Metro, and the transit agency would initiate some needed changes in how it operates, there would be no need for a third transportation sales tax.

Tom Sullivan — Clayton

Public Transit Accountability Project

Strong beer, irony

“Brew packs wallop: 27 pct. alcohol” (Dec. 1), a story about Utopias beer, brewed by Samuel Adams, prompts two observations.

First, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery is mistaken. Boston Beer Co. does not have “the clear title of having the strongest beer.” That distinction belongs to the Scottish brewery BrewDog, whose Tactical Nuclear Penguin brew has an alcohol content of 32 percent, which is significantly greater than the 27 percent level of Utopias.

Second, Utopias gets its name from the fictional land of Utopia (“no place”) made famous by Sir Thomas More and François Rabelais. In Rabelais’s account, Utopia’s existence was threatened by an invasion of the Dipsodes (“thirsty ones”). There’s an irony in naming a strong beer after a mythical land whose inhabitants were mortal enemies of drinkers.

Tom Schlafly — St. Louis

President, The Saint Louis Brewery Inc.

Burdens of war

Republicans are howling opposition to a proposed “war tax” to support the apparently endless conflict in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Evidently they would rather continue to increase the deficit begun by the last administration to finance the war, though they howl equally against the possibility of a deficit increase that might possibly be occasioned by instituting health care reforms. How do they imagine the bills for war, health care or any other national program are to be paid? By our children and their children?

When George W. Bush began this ill-advised war with his cowboy diplomacy, his advice to Americans was to “go shopping.” Indeed they did, and the early 2000s saw financial profligacy not witnessed for decades before, in places high and low. Perhaps it is time for us to grow up and take responsibility for our country’s actions, whether we agree with them or not.

If we are to continue this war, however unjustified, we need to accept its burdens.

George and Virginia Benson — St. Louis

Rules of engagement

Three and a half months of mindless dithering ends with the most inane plan in the history of our military and geopolitics: President Barack Obama actually telling the enemy how many troops he’s sending to Afghanistan, when they’re coming and, incredibly, when they’re leaving. He expects our military to miraculously have Afghans trained and able to protect and safeguard their own country in just a year, despite the fact that only 14 percent of the Afghan population can even read.

Add in the relatively new rules of engagement for our troops — remain passive, do not call in air support for fear of collateral damage — our military, not Mr. Obama, is being set up for failure.

This foolish “plan” tells the Taliban to wait until the Americans leave. The Afghans have to side with the Taliban because the Taliban will be there after we leave. Our friends will not support us knowing that we don’t have the resolve to win.

Our troops are being used for political purposes.

Al Dorn — O’Fallon, Ill.

Metastasizing madness

Afghanistan is a land of metastasizing madness. Three things are produced here: heroin, berserkers and hatred. Ask Alexander the Great, the British in the 19th century, the Russians in the late 20th century and, now, our most brave soldiers in those unforgiving, God-forsaken mountains.

The real objective of the Islamic fundamentalists from Afghanistan is to push into Pakistan and become privy to the nuclear weapons that nation contains in its armory. We are trying to help Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan. I support this with gusto, for if these fundamentalists succeed in radicalizing Pakistan, then India, with its 2 billion people, armed with its own nuclear weapons and a history of border engagements with Pakistan, could be the Taliban’s “Jewel in the Crown.” We dare not let the world’s largest democracy go down. There will be no Ghandi to stop the madness this time.

Rudyard Kipling, in the 19th century, said it best about Afghanistan in this refrain: “When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains, An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.”

Again, our grand plan should be to help Pakistan remain a sane nation that eschews Jihad. God bless our troops in that region for they face madness every day.

john willow

AddThis Social Bookmark Button