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Your Views: Insurance industry is blocking solution to health care issue
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In a Sept. 2 letter on health care reform, Michael Riemann said "The juiciest of all takeover plumbs would be federal control of the insurance industry and its vast cash flow. If the federal apparatus (which is operated by men of enormous ambition) will not relinquish hold on the banking and automotives, we will metamorphose into the 1936 German model."

I should remind him that’s a very big "if." If these people turn out to be Nazis, then we’re in trouble. It’s a typical fear tactic used by conservatives. If he believes "the federal apparatus is operated by men of enormous ambition," then why are these people in public service when they can make much more money in the private sector?

For instance, the heads of those big banks and insurance companies the government had to bail out last fall make 30 to 40 times the salary of the president of the United States. Senators and representatives make $174,000, and the president earns $400,000 a year. By comparison, the new CEO of AIG will receive a salary of $7 million. In 2000, the average compensation for executives of the top 10 for-profit health plans was $11.7 million a year. In addition, the CEO of UnitedHealthcare Group was paid compensation of $124.8 million in 2005.

Did these millionaire CEOs make their career choices because they wanted to serve the public? I don’t think so. By the same measure, I believe he people we elect to government office chose their career paths primarily because they desire to serve the public more than themselves.

UnitedHealthcare and industry lobby groups like Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks are funding well-organized campaigns against health care reforms that conservatives have labeled "Obamacare." These campaigns frequently distort the truth and intentionally misinform the public.

They did the same thing a decade ago when they called the reforms "Hillarycare." After that, Republicans took control of Congress, the Senate and White House. George W. Bush only left office this past January. During all that time, nothing substantial was done to lower costs and improve availability of health care for working Americans.

SEC filings show that between 2000 and 2007, profits of the country’s 10 largest health insurance companies rose 428 percent. In 2000, they had $2.4 billion in profit. By 2007, it was $12.9 billion. While they quadrupled their profits between 2000 and 2007, the number of Americans without health insurance grew by 19 percent.

Conservatives can’t say they didn’t have their chance. Now, after slow-walking this issue through hundreds of town hall meetings full of screaming people bused in by the insurance lobby, Obama seems to be second-guessing his campaign promise to reform health care. Those who sent him to office are being told to just put our heads down and take it. I refuse to do that.

I call on our elected officials to do what a clear majority of voters sent them to do. Honor their campaign promises. We’ve earned it.

Bruce Vandiver

Respect must be earned, even by our president
I had to comment on the president’s speech to the nation’s schoolchildren Tuesday. I agree with many that the actual speech that was delivered seemed harmless enough. We do know, however, that the original speech and the discussion questions that were to follow were changed.

Makes you wonder just what was in the speech? This change was no doubt the result of the outcry from concerned parents. Liberals might not like it but the concerns are valid.

They come not because of race. These concerns are not because the color of the president’s skin. They are out of concern for the content of character, or lack thereof.

President Obama, in his associations with an unrepentant terrorist and his socialist ideals, cause freedom-loving people of America grave concern. His lack of respect for the value of human life should give us all pause for concern.

I have and always will respect the office of president, but just as with Bill Clinton, I do not respect President Obama.

Respect is not given; it is earned. We need to teach our children that character matters. If we as Christian moms and dads allow a man that shows lack of character to address our children, we have done them a grave injustice.

There is war for the soul of this nation raging around us. History shows us that children can be used if influenced at an early age to move forward the cause of evil.

Remember the words of a dictator from the past: "He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future," said Adolf Hitler

The president’s speech may have seemed harmless, and maybe it was. We must ask ourselves, however, if we want to leave children’s easily influenced minds to be subject to socialist dribble that is coming out of the White House. As Christians, we have a God-given responsibility to train our children in the fear of an admonition of the Lord.

I applaud Christian parents for standing against the Department of Education and their hidden agenda. We must protect our nation from those who would take our nation down a path of socialism if left unchecked.

I pray daily for God to bless America. I know also that to whom much is given much shall be required. We have been given the abundance of God’s blessings. What are we giving to him?

The Rev. John Spinks