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In response to Natasha Cantrell's letter Friday, I'm truly sorry she's having a hard time and I hope things lighten up on her soon. But she should be aware that her complaining about "financial penalties for people who are struggling" is merely an easy, but unproductive, exercise known as "crying in one's beer."
These penalties are not a "growing trend." They've been in place for a long, long time. The "penalties" are not for people who are struggling, per se; they are for people who don't have their priorities straight.
Automobile insurance is a cost of owning a car, as are costs of gasoline and oil. If her car runs out of gas, she doesn't expect the gasoline station to provide gas for free. Similarly, she should understand, regardless of her needs, she does not have the right to drive an uninsured automobile. Simply put, it's against the law. That's what the penalty is for.
Unfortunately, there are people who drive while uninsured. To protect us from them, the rest pay extra in the form of "uninsured driver auto insurance" premiums. That is a penalty legal insured drivers must pay for others' wrongdoing. The Georgia legislature has enacted laws that prohibit driving uninsured automobiles. So if you can't pay your auto insurance, park it and either walk or catch a ride. I know that may sound harsh and uncaring, but it's nothing but the truth.
Another truth is the utility companies not only expect but insist that their customers pay their bills when due, not at her convenience or when she manages to get the money. Money costs money, and when she owes, the person or company she owes to has to pay for products or services delivered to her until (when or if) she does pay. That costs them money.
And guess where that money comes from? It comes from me and other customers in the form of higher costs passed on to us. Now that's not fair, but that's the way it is.
She should not expect her needs to be met for free. Most certainly, it's not the government's duty to do so. It can't give her anything that it hasn't first taken from somebody else. Those who receive something they haven't worked for means others have worked for something they didn't receive.
My daddy told me, "Son, the world owes you a living, but you're going to have to get out there and collect it!"
Columnist's health care solution is none at all
John Stossel's "Competition would cut health costs (Monday's Opinion)" misses the point. I resent being called a "statist" because I am in favor of some type of control over the runaway health insurance industry.
Here is the definition of "statist" (I had to look it up): A political viewpoint "that sovereignty is vested not in the people but in the national state and that all individuals and associations exist only to enhance the power, the prestige, and the well-being of the state. The fascist concept of statism repudiates individualism and exalts the nation as an organic body headed by the Supreme Leader and nurtured by unity, force, and discipline."
John seems to have missed the point. The problem is not medicine; it is the health care insurance providers. Because of the high cost of insurance, too many cannot afford it, so medical providers raise their prices to try and recover costs. Then insurance providers raise their rates to maintain profits. Or they increase deductibles and add to the "pre-existing conditions" so they do not cover much and pay out less. It is a never-ending circle.
At the end of his article, he writes, "deregulation of medicine will stimulate competition." What regulation? Health care insurance providers or medical providers do not have any regulation now, and the only competition seems to be for higher prices and profits. The downturn in the economy has not hurt them.
He takes the standard Republican stand: Complain but make no real suggestions for a better plan. I suggest he ask his employer (who most likely provides his insurance) how much its insurance costs are going up daily.
If medical insurance did not exist and we had to pay all our own heath care costs, we would "shop" for the best price. If insurance was not provided by employers, more people would have to "shop" for a better rate. That's two ways to "stimulate competition," but maybe not the best choices.
Here's a novel idea: An optional government plan with lower rates that starts real competition and threatens insurance company profits.