December 5, 2013 6 a.m.
Will exclusions be allowed?
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear certain lawsuits that claim, in the name of religious liberty, that employers cannot be required to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives. What if a person, like one of my young relatives, requires the same medication for reasons other than contraception? Will an employer have the right to deny this coverage to her, or to demand a note from the doctor explaining why she needs these medicines?
More troubling is the realization that there are those who have religious objections to vaccines, to blood transfusions, or to other common medical procedures. Can an employer claim the right to opt out of any coverage they choose, all in the name of religious liberty?
The Supreme Court has the power, in this one decision, to destroy the Affordable Care Act and to show the folly of the failure to enact single-payer universal health care, independent of employers and insurance companies alike.
Cuts discharged again
I read in the Nov. 28 story "Military health benefits eyed" how thankful our White House and Congress are for our military and those who have served. The White House has urged Congress this last week (again) to raise Tricare medical insurance fees for military retirees. I sure wish those "re-enlistment contracts" we had to agree to (holding our lives on the line, paid less than civilian counterparts, and separating us from our families) had included the "implied benefits" on the government's side. Never expected my "retired medical benefits" coverage was going to cost me so much.
How about we thank our congressional and presidential branch retirees by passing a law that those standing on the front lines in Washington, D.C., be covered by the same medical benefits as our military who actually sacrificed.
Amendment applicable today
Laurie Sturgeon, in a Dec. 1 letter "'Arms' bear new meaning today," argues that the Second Amendment was not intended for today's modern firearms and that we ought to return to its intent. I believe Sturgeon has missed the original intent entirely. It has nothing to do with methodology and everything to do with the right of our citizens to oppose oppressive forces.
Our forefathers were prescient to pen a document that stays applicable through the inevitable progress and change every society experiences over time. The proponents of unrestricted gun rights simply want law-abiding gun owners to have access to the same weaponry as the criminals who disregard all laws. It's unimaginable that our armies and law enforcement would use flintlocks to battle opposition using the modern weaponry that she so eloquently describes. That applies to our militia (We, the People) as well.
I would ask Sturgeon if she feels that the First Amendment does not apply to people expressing their opinions via cellphones or social media since those methods of communication did not exist until long after the Constitution, and its Bill of Rights, were ratified. I think not for the same reasons I've described.
Douglas B. Neal