Letters to the editor: Sept. 2, 2018

Republicans in Congress failed repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act because, surprisingly, people like having health care. On Sept. 5, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will try to end it for good.

Rather than defend protections for Texans who have pre-existing conditions, Paxton and 19 other states have filed a lawsuit that could hammer nails into our coffins.

Twenty-seven percent under the age of 65 of Texans have a pre-existing condition. Mine is genetic and can’t be changed by diet, exercise or prayer. Before the ACA, if I got the tests recommended for someone with my family history, the results would have caused my insurance company to charge me more or even drop me. The ACA’s protections mean that I, and millions like me, can get the screening and treatment I need.

Once again, the health care of millions is on the chopping block. This time we have the Texas attorney general to thank.


Like more than a quarter of Texans, I have a pre-existing condition. Like many Texans, I am retired. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act I now have insurance coverage and can’t be denied insurance or dropped from my plan because of my previous illness. If Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit succeeds, millions of people like me will go back to a time when we lived without health insurance and in fear of going to the doctor.

Without the protection of health insurance, if I have a recurrence, I might not be able to afford the very expensive treatment. There are millions of Texas like me, who might be in worse condition financially, and couldn’t even afford the screenings to catch diseases early so that the treatment is less costly and more effective.

Protections for pre-existing conditions must not be taken away.


It is a sad day. Editor Debbie Hiott and Publisher Susie Biehle are leaving the Statesman, after only five months after the purchase of the Statesman by GateHouse Media.

What a shame that the two top employees, who have made the Statesman a stellar newspaper, will not be there. Biehle’s wide experience in the news business brought her to the Statesman in 2012, where she became the publisher. Hiott has spent her career at the Statesman, and as editor, turned the emphasis to investigative journalism.

In my opinion, that is the definition of a good newspaper, because it educates the public on issues we can find nowhere else, which leads to change. She was also responsible for statewide awards, and under her guidance the League of Women Voters’ Voters Guide was published before every election until recent years.


Re: Aug. 29 article, “O’Rourke accepts ‘Ellen’ invite as kneeling takes center stage in race.”

Though I think I can speak for all Americans and say we are truly sorry for the tragic loss of Tim Lee’s legs in combat, it’s hard to see how this man’s cause is helped by requiring other men to assume a pious posture and pretend to emotions they don’t feel, before being allowed to do their job.

Americans who face the risk of loss of life and limb in combat situations are likely to have also faced the challenges of unaffordable health care, education, child care and housing. Maybe the discussion in a more “woke” democracy should be about how to shape our policies in ways that reduce the need for Americans to put themselves in harm’s way in military service. Maybe this would be more useful than conflating football rituals with patriotism.


Cody Wilson, Austin’s self-styled “crypto-anarchist” selling 3D-printable guns online after a court order prevented him from giving them away, donates to just one politician: Ted Cruz. National Rifle Association favorite Cruz takes a wholly uncritical approach to working out how our “well-regulated militia” should evolve in the modern technological era. Cruz hasn’t yet taken a position on 3D-printable guns. This is unacceptable.

Contrast this with the approach of his opponent Beto O’Rourke. Taught to shoot by his uncle, a sheriff’s deputy, he understands that with rights come responsibilities, and will act to keep Texans safe from gun violence. Since he doesn’t take PAC money, his allegiance is to Texans, not the bottom lines of gun manufacturers. As the challenges that face our society evolve, we need leaders who understand nuance and lead without fealty to special interest groups like the NRA.


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