Replace ‘ObamaCare’ with more sensible plan for all

“ObamaCare” needs to be replaced immediately with another package for the uninsured and the working poor. As a great country, we cannot stand idly by and ignore this problem as we did over the last 15 years. The plan has to be simple, efficient, market-friendly and reasonable.

For the patients, our new plan should be universal, affordable and portable. Each individual should have the option of purchasing a basic policy, with an out-of-pocket cap of $5,000 or $10,000. His/her monthly premium should be $125, without exclusions. Our government would subsidize the premiums, but members would have to qualify financially for this program. In order to cover the deductible, we could give them the option to participate in a medical savings plan. Their contributions to this savings plan would be 100 percent tax-deductible. Patients could pay for their medications, dental appointments, glasses and tests through this savings plan, but it would be up to them to contribute.

The advantages of this basic plan are obvious. Patients would be covered, and at a lower cost. All could be covered if they chose to participate. Patients would be using some of their money, so they would be more selective about how often and how much they spend on healthcare. This would keep costs down for all of us and make universal healthcare available for all, but not to the detriment of the national budget. 

There is no coercion with this solution to our healthcare crisis. If a person chooses to go without insurance and be financially bankrupted by a $250,000 heart bypass, then so be it. Or he/she could enroll in this plan and have a maximum out-of-pocket expense of $10,000. His/her choice.

This might not be the final product, but I hope it could provide a framework. It gives us the opportunity to provide a humane solution to a problem that is bankrupting our citizens and our country. Let’s keep it simple and remember we are dealing with our fellow countrymen — and perhaps setting up a system that will provide care for ourselves if someday we fall on hard times.

From James Buckmaster, Henderson, Ky.

US should get rid of its nuclear weapons arsenal

Aug. 6 and 9 marked the 66-year commemoration of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. Given the severe threat posed by production, waste storage and potential use or accidental release of nuclear weapons, it is time to retire our nuclear weapons arsenal. Keeping thousands of advanced weapons on high alert poses unacceptable risks and places a great burden on our faltering economy. At this time of budget crisis, it is unthinkable that Congress continues to fund these unneeded weapons while cutting essential programs that support our national economy and infrastructure.

From Joan W. Drake, Washington