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Letter to the Editor: The Negative Effects of Administrative Chaos

As our current President creates chaos by tweeting obnoxious, self-serving messages, denigrating and barring the press when it doesn’t say what he wants to hear, refusing to allow voters to see his own tax returns while he requires each state to compile a master list of private information about all voters, and countless other violations of good governance, we are the losers.

Here are just a few of the things we stand to lose if these actions are allowed to continue: human dignity, to the extent that our culture remains preoccupied with barely intelligible messages; the ability of the press to speak truth to power without retribution; and the FREEDOM to vote as we choose without surveillance.

There are other less obvious costs we have not yet begun to count. While the President has been distracting us with his outrageous behavior, legislatures all over the country have been busy crafting budgets to support policies that most Americans do not favor.

We have become somewhat familiar with the details of the House and Senate bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the secrecy of the Senate version has made it difficult to see its hidden taxes. The Senate bill allows insurance companies NOT to cover “essential health benefits” such as prescription drugs, colon cancer screening, pregnancy and childbirth, among others. And the fate of those with “pre-existing conditions” is once again precarious, dependent on never missing a payment or losing an insurance policy by changing jobs, etc. We will all pay more for these policies.

The bill also allows a hidden “age tax,” since insurance companies may charge higher premiums to those more than 45. In place of Medicaid, states will be given limited amounts to provide “targeted” health care, with latitude to decide which targets to hit or miss, since there will not be sufficient funds to cover all of the seniors, children, births and people with disabilities who are currently covered. But someone will have to pay instead of Medicaid, or our hospitals, clinics and nursing homes will go out of business. It makes sense, then, to think of these costs as another hidden tax on ordinary citizens.

In the midst of governmental chaos (and secrecy), you may have missed legislative details that could cost you a lot of money and/or health care. And you might also have missed that a tax on tanning businesses (p. 29) was scheduled for repeal (so more people can have orange skin?).

In Wisconsin, we have missed the fact that Republican legislators are meeting in secret to discuss the budget for education, health care, transportation and many other areas of serious concern.

We cannot afford to take our eyes off the prize of good governance. The results of government by distraction and/or secrecy will not be pretty.

 

Estella Lauter

Fish Creek, Wis.

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