Control Medicare drug costs

As an older voter, I worry about medical costs for myself and fellow Medicare recipients.

One of the most troubling issues is price gouging by pharmaceutical companies. Congress has done little to stop it. According to the AARP, the average annual cost for one specialty medication for a chronic condition was over $52,000 in 2015. That’s three and a half times higher than the average Social Security retirement benefit.

I expect Nebraska’s candidates for the U.S. Senate and House to tell voters what specific actions they will take to control drug costs. Do they support allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, the safe importation of cheaper drugs, increasing price transparency and speeding generic drugs to market?

Let’s use the power of our votes this November, and urge our family members, friends and neighbors to do the same. Our health may depend on it.

Frank Herzog, Omaha

Health insurance questions

Regarding the Roseann Moring articles in the July 8 World-Herald (“Eastman isn’t backing off ‘Medicare for all’ idea” and “Knowns and unknowns about Medicare for all”): Of the 13.1 percent of the local private finance and insurance industry, how much is health insurance as opposed to car, life, homeowners, accident, liability insurance, etc.?

As I recall, Mutual of Omaha and Lloyd’s of London were around long before managed health care. I noticed that “finance and insurance” are used as part of the 13.1 percent; so, some may be led to believe that banking, hedge funds, stock brokerages, savings and loans, check cashing vendors, etc., are part of the 13.1 percent. Given that insurance companies invest money, just how entangled are these entities?

Of the 33,000 Nebraska jobs in the “insurance” industry, is there any idea how many would migrate to a single-payer system?

As for the rich buying better health care than Joe Public, don’t we have that now? If 56 percent of employers are no longer funding or co-funding health insurance, how does this impact their overheads and bottom lines? What happens to all of those benefit management companies that serve as go-betweens for employers and insurance companies and drug companies? Which is worse — priced out of health care and the pursuit of happiness through steep government taxation, or through staggering premiums, copays and deductibles?

Victor Padron, Omaha

Eminent domain shouldn’t be used

Douglas County wants to take Bob Perrin’s building from him to build a new juvenile justice facility. Mr. Perrin has declined to sell the building, and now the county wants to force him to give it up using eminent domain.

Eminent domain should not be used to take from private citizens when there are readily available alternatives. Mr. Perrin’s building is not in the way of a highway that must go through, it’s not sitting in the middle of a nature preserve, the only man-made object for as far as the eye can see. It’s sitting on a city block across from the courthouse, he doesn’t want to sell it, and there is no legitimate purpose to force him to sell it.

Instead of robbing a man of his land (for the second time!), why doesn’t the county use land that is available? Why not use the Civic Auditorium site, only three blocks north of the courthouse? It’s only one block farther away than the adult jail on Leavenworth. Or perhaps one of the many downtown parking lots could be gotten for a good price? Or why not expand the project and build an entirely new and modern courthouse with the youth detention center included?

Simply put, forcing Mr. Perrin to sell his building is wrong. The county has plenty of alternatives that wouldn’t necessitate a fight in court and that would be more beneficial to the city and the county.

Don’t use eminent domain to build the new juvenile justice center.

Nathan Rice, Lincoln

Make civility an enduring priority

I was inspired by the July Fourth World-Herald editorial “Best meaning of civility: Political debate the right way.”

Yes, I agree we are in the middle of a conversation about what civility should mean. And it seems we Americans have struggled with communicating effectively about this with each other since the beginning of our union, leading unfortunately to episodes of suffering and bloodletting. And I fear that more is on the horizon if we don’t get a grip on ourselves. But I fear that The World-Herald editorial only rouses the better angels of our nature for too brief a time and touches too few people and then we are back to business as usual. A whole nation — no, a whole world — needs to have its consciousness raised on a more ongoing basis regarding the need for civil discourse.

Therefore, I would encourage The World-Herald and other Omaha community leaders of conscience to champion a more enduring, concrete effort to promote and define civil discourse. One that will stare us in the face forever.

I would like to suggest a community effort to erect a national “Monument of Civility” of the magnitude of the Statue of Liberty and other national monuments on our riverfront. An enduring reminder that we stand for this.

Jim Lane, Omaha

People have spoken on immigration

The latest amnesty attempt in Washington was shot down because the people have spoken. Washington has handed out seven amnesties since and including the 1986 amnesty that was to fix the problem, and not one of them did one thing to solve the problem of illegal immigration.

This proves that Washington cannot solve this problem with rewards for those who have broken our laws.

D. Mark O’Neill, Omaha

Growing excitement for lacrosse

Thank you for the article on NorthStar’s lacrosse team (“Opening doors by casting a wider net,” July 1 World-Herald). Lacrosse is an exciting sport that is growing quickly in our area and offers the opportunity to see the field for their school if they are not getting enough playing time in the traditional sports.

Hopefully, these young men will continue playing in college, as there are many opportunities to play after high school, including in Lincoln with our Cornhuskers. Go Big Red Lacrosse!

Bill Holloran, South Bend, Neb.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

(2) comments

JIM BECHTEL

I absolutely agree with Jim Lane. To restore civil discourse it would be nice to have the man at the top set the example, but those who keep track of such things recorded Trump as having issued 472 insults as of June 12. And check out what happens at his rallies!

Civil discourse is targeted by the Gerasimov doctrine which aims to encourage Americans to tear each other apart through a disinformation campaign in social media, spread by what the Russians call полезные идиоты, "useful idiots." Its success must have Putin smiling.

MARK SPRAY

For Mr. Herzog: Your questions concerning Medicare drug costs are pointless as long as Republicans control congress. You see, the GOP will use the increase in our national debt (1.5 trillion dollars over the next ten years) as an excuse to make major cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. By the way, the coming increase in the national debt is due to the most recent tax cuts. Tax cuts that benefit the rich and corporate America and do little or nothing for the average Joe, so to speak. You can thank Trump and the GOP for increasing poverty and adding to the wealth of the already wealthy.

Welcome to the discussion.

Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. And share with us - we love to hear eyewitness accounts.

You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.