Letters to the editor: July 5, 2017

Lives on the line

Caring for our neighbors and helping the poor should never be a controversial between political parties or religions. Yet our divided government is on the verge of passing a health care bill that would be extremely damaging for Americans in poverty. I am profoundly disappointed that the Senate secretly negotiated legislation that will end Medicaid as we know it and take health care coverage from millions. Senate leaders are planning a vote on their bill without one single hearing.

The House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in May, which would force 23 million people to lose insurance, 14 million of them from Medicaid alone. The AHCA would cap Medicaid funding to states and force them to ration care, shoulder more costs, and deny health coverage to many of those who need it most. Yet, despite overwhelming opposition from the American people, the Senate plans to base 80 percent of its bill on the AHCA.

People’s lives are literally on the line. I urge Senators Blunt and McCaskill to oppose any proposal that cuts or restructures Medicaid or threatens the health care of millions of Americans and invite all who care about our vulnerable neighbors to call and say the same.

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Cynthia Levin, Town and Country

Column needs context

In “Polarization and the Vanishing Middle, Middle” (June 21 commentary) Martin Rochester rightly calls for politicians and the liberal and conservative media  to tone down their rhetoric and stop demonizing the opposition.  

Unfortunately many of his criticisms lack full context.  For example,  his assertion that liberal bias is proven by  more negative stories on Trump than Obama in their first hundred days is simply wrong 

More negative stories about Trump have less to do with ideological bias than Trump’s bigotry, countless lies backed up by leading fact checkers, and his continuing assaults on democratic norms and our basic institutions (intelligence agencies, schools, the media government  agencies, political parties.,)that undermine our citizens’ faith in democracy.

By contrast, Barack Obama is a man of considerable character and integrity and, unlike Trump, serves as a wonderful role model for our children and grandchildren.

Rochester has also overlooked the fact that the most thoughtful criticisms of Trump’s threat to civic health  have come from conservative critics and journalists  like David Frum, David Brooks, Jennifer Rubin, William Kristin (all Jewish, by the way), Peter Wehner and many others.  

It is hard to know what Rochester means by the alt-left in his claim that alt-left and alt-right are equally at fault for polarization

If he means students who deny speech to conservative speakers, I agree with his concern, but he ignores the greater threat to democracy from the alt-right since Steve Bannon sits in the West Wing and our president is known to be a follower of Alex Jones. The alt-right is setting policy, not misguided students and comics whose humor has sometimes been over the top.  

And comparing a propagandist and serial liar like Sean Hannity to Rachel Maddow is also misleading.  Yes, Maddow’s show is a venue for progressives, but, unlike Hannity, she is a serious person who  does not make up facts.  

Rochester’s legitimate call for restraining  our inflated rhetoric is undermined by overlooking essential facts and a more complete context.

Dennis Lubeck, History Education Consultant, St. Louis