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The Public Pulse, Nov. 1

The Public Pulse, Nov. 1

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A satisfied user of HealthCare.gov

There are plenty of opinions floating around about the Affordable Care Act. It seems the most vocal individuals have corporate- or government-provided health insurance and no real personal understanding or experience with finding and funding their own health insurance.

As a small-business owner, I have purchased health insurance for myself and my family for the past 10 years on the “open market.” It has been increasingly cumbersome, time-consuming, full of fine print and shockingly expensive.

A few months ago, my insurance company informed me it would quit providing coverage in Nebraska and recommended I investigate the new health care act. Last week I selected an appropriate option on HealthCare.gov. The process was easier to understand, and the application time was significantly less than my previous experience finding health care. Much to my pleasant surprise, the result will be about the same as my current coverage with a significantly lower premium. And I do not qualify for government-paid premium discounts.

So count me as a supporter of the new Affordable Care Act and the website.

I emailed these thoughts to Sens. Deb Fischer and Mike Johanns. Both replied by expressing their firm commitment to continue to fight “Obamacare.” Neither acknowledged my positive experience. Clearly, they are not really interested in their constituents’ points of view unless those points parallel their own.

Tracy Bargman, Omaha

If it were my website, I’d get money back

Our government reportedly spent $400 million on a health care website that does not work. Then it hired someone else to fix it.

When I buy something that does not work, I return it and receive my money back. But then, it is my money, not taxpayers’ money.

Is this part of what is wrong with Washington?

Don Whelan, Omaha

Global warming evidence overwhelming

Mark Heavrin (Oct. 28 Pulse) denies that global warming is man-made and labels it a fraud. He is mistaken.

This is one of the most thoroughly researched topics in the history of science. National and international scientific reports have repeatedly concluded that today’s global warming is real, undeniable and man-made.

In 2012, the New York Times reported that the Koch brothers funded well-known physicist and climate-change skeptic Richard Muller to debunk what they perceived as the global warming “myth.” Ironically, Muller’s re-analysis of climate scientists’ voluminous data concluded that global warming was real and “essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.” Muller, who now classifies himself a “converted skeptic,” concluded that climate scientists had been right all along.

UNL climate scientists declined to participate in a state climate study for the legitimate reason that the study excluded human impacts. The UNL scientists are right to decline participation in a deeply flawed study.

Robert C. Fry, Omaha

State climate study a ridiculous idea

Mark Heavrin’s Oct. 28 letter showed how little he knows. He must listen to that first-year college dropout Rush Limbaugh for his “facts.”

The scientific conclusion that burning fossil fuels is changing the world’s climate goes far beyond obtaining U.S. research money. It is the result of a concerted international research effort covering the whole world. The most recent conclusions, contained in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, represent the work of many thousand scientists. Heavrin should read it.

The idea that all this understanding could be undone by a quick $44,000 state search for “climate cycles” is ridiculous. That’s the reason why responsible researchers won’t touch it.

Bonnie Cosentino, Omaha

Recent cooling belies warming theory

So Daryl Harrison and Ken Keith (Oct. 29 Pulse) want a study based on data, not opinion?

The actual data show that there has been no significant global warming since 1998 and that since 2002 there has been global cooling. Historical data show that there are cyclical periods of global cooling (ever hear of ice ages?) and periods of global warming.

If people are stating uninformed opinion based on political agendas or hunches (or on what garners them the most federal research dollars), it may be the scientists supporting the global warming theory.

Mike Cochrane, Blair, Neb.

Marine shows meaning of ‘semper fi’

Regarding the story about the Omaha Marine who defended his gay friends (Oct. 31 World-Herald): Ryan Langenegger is a hero. I want to thank him for serving our country and for standing up for his friends in the Old Market.

As for the three bullies, I have one word: cowards. Ironically, October was “National Stand Against Bullying” month.

Gary L. Coleman, Omaha

Bilingual education supports English

The outcry about having bilingual staff at any of the area’s schools is puzzling.

Some folks think this is an effort to prevent English from becoming the first language for Hispanic students. In fact, having dual-language programs is an attempt to facilitate the learning of English so it can become their first language. It also demonstrates that we respect the contributions that those of different ancestry can bring with them.

In traveling to many different countries on all continents except Antarctica, the main complaint I hear about Americans is that, “They are here visiting this country and they are angry we don’t speak English like they do.” Americans want everyone in the U.S. to speak English, and many want the convenience of finding English spoken everywhere they travel. That’s a selfish attitude of entitlement.

Lighten up. Remember, if there had been good immigration control back in the 17th century on this continent, your ancestors would never have been allowed here.

Dean Pierce, Omaha

Omaha should follow Fremont’s lead

My wish for Omaha is to adopt what citizens of Fremont, Neb., did for their community by passing an ordnance that requires all businesses to use E-Verify, requires rental licenses for landlords and makes it illegal to rent to illegal immigrants.

Omaha taxpayers should avoid the cost of educating children who are here illegally and paying for their health care.

Harold M. Brown, Omaha

No proof engineered crops are safe

Countries around the world are choosing to ban or label genetically modified foods. According to Dr. Don Huber, a professor emeritus at Purdue University who spent 35 years studying plant biology, “The indiscriminate use of (the pesticide) glyphosate and genetically modified crops are precipitating a major chronic health and environmental crisis.”

A World-Herald editorial (Oct. 8) quotes a University of Nebraska plant biologist as saying there is not a scientific basis to claims that genetically modified crops are unsafe to eat.

According to Huber, “Without long-term safety evaluation, statements of the safety of genetically modified crops are apparently wishful thinking. I know of no long-term, peer-reviewed scientific studies that claim safety for GMOs. All the studies that I am aware of document serious health and safety concerns.”

The editorial also states that the use of specially engineered seeds can lower the costs of production and cut the amount of pesticides and herbicides needed.

According to Huber, “The truth is more pesticides than ever are needed ... and the resulting crops have smaller yields and are dangerous to eat.”

Without study by our government agencies, how is this OK? And why are other countries banning GMOs or demanding they be labeled? And why do farmers want to grow things that are being banned by other countries, as this will hurt them economically?

Isabel Cohen, Omaha

Applaud Target for ‘banning the box’

Target Brands Inc. should be commended for giving citizens with prior arrest or conviction records a better shot at employment. The company announced this week that it is planning to stop asking about those records at the initial application stage. In popular language, it is “banning the box.”

Thousands of men and women come out of Nebraska’s jails and prisons every year, and many of them are routinely screened out by employers who don’t even check to see whether they are qualified for open positions or whether their offenses were recent or far in the past. With the “box” eliminated, Target job applicants who have been to jail or prison will have a chance to present their qualifications like other applicants.

City, county and state government should follow Target’s lead and pass legislation to ban the box in their hiring. And if Target can find a way to do it, why not other private companies?

Mel Beckman, Omaha

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