President promotes affordable care
President Bush strongly supports the State Children's Health Insurance Program as a way to help children whose families cannot afford private health insurance but do not qualify for Medicaid ("Call his bluff," editorial, Sept. 25). In fact, since February, he has been calling for a 20 percent increase in funding for the program.
Unfortunately, some in Congress want to expand this important safety net far beyond its purpose.
Their plan would encourage middle-class families - some earning more than $80,000 per year - to move their children from private health insurance to this public assistance program.
They would finance this expansion of government-run health care by imposing new taxes on those who can least afford them.
We have a better idea.
First, let's find and enroll the 900,000 kids who are eligible for SCHIP but haven't signed up. Then let's make health insurance more affordable for all Americans
For starters, President Bush wants to give every American family a $15,000 tax break for purchasing health insurance.
The administration is committed to working with Congress to renew SCHIP for the truly needy and make health coverage more affordable and available to all Americans.
Tevi D. Troy
The writer is deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
SCHIP expansion is worth fighting for
Thank you for The Sun's call on members of Congress to stay their course and renew and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program ("Call his bluff," editorial, Sept. 25).
The $35 billion expansion of the program over five years is a small price to pay for the many benefits that it will bring children.
The votes to approve the bill (265-159 in the House and 67-29 in the Senate) show strong and bipartisan support for the package.
However, as The Sun's editorial pointed out, President Bush has threatened to veto the SCHIP renewal bill.
But if Mr. Bush is basing his decision on wrong information, as The Sun's editorial suggests, is it not possible to inform him of the truth and ask that he reconsider his veto plan?
I agree with The Sun that expanding SCHIP is part of an incremental process designed to lead to affordable access to health care for all Americans.
And, in my opinion, that is a fine goal.
Working families need health help
The article Saturday about my son Graeme Frost's radio address about the renewal and expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program states that "Senate staffers wrote the script for Graeme" ("Boy to give radio address," Sept. 29).
I need to clarify, that, yes, Senate staffers wrote his script. But they did so using only my son's words about his experience, which came from him in an earlier interview.
In no way did this script offer anyone's words other than my son's.
And I would like to emphasize that the Democrats are not taking some random 12-year-old boy and putting words in his mouth.
Rather, they have found a boy who was affected greatly by a car accident, and who knows and cares a lot about the subject.
The experience our family has had shows the importance of affordable health care, not only for our family but for millions of others in this country.
Let this message be loud and clear: Hard-working and lower-income American families, and especially their children, need affordable health insurance coverage.
F. Halsey Frost
Special session just a strong-arm tactic
Russian-style politics has comes to Maryland. Who needs a normal four-month Assembly session when you can ram home unprecedented tax increases in a few days at a special session ("Retailers asking: Why stop at slots?" Sept. 27)?
Who needs noisy and unruly citizen hearings? Why should delegates and senators have to listen to their constituents and possibly get confused about their marching orders?
Once upon a time, Gov. Martin O'Malley was the darling of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Today, he looks like an old-fashioned, strong-arming political boss.
And as the current version of a pro-gambling governor, Mr. O'Malley becomes more and more indistinguishable from his predecessor.
Act at state level to limit emissions
Since our nation has refused to join much of the world in setting mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, it is more urgent than ever to take action at the state level.
Maryland, with its many miles of coastline, has much to lose from the effects of global warming. And our state is in a unique position, with a progressive governor, to become a national leader in efforts to reduce our carbon output.
So it was heartening to read in "U.S. action on bay sought" (Sept. 27) that the governors of Maryland and Virginia have urged the Senate to develop programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a variety of sources.
Citizens of Maryland can come together over this issue if we recognize that global warming is here, and that our actions can exacerbate or reduce its growing effects.
We need to commit to finding ways to use more renewable energy, decrease our dependence on oil, demand that public buildings be "green" and purchase appliances and machinery that are energy-saving.
The worst effects of climate change can be averted if we support our elected officials in their actions to address the problem immediately.
Let's also address 'human warming'
Global warming is a current focus ("U.N. chief seeks quick action on warming," Sept. 25). But I believe an even bigger focus should be on human warming, or civility - something truly lacking in our society.
At the rate we're going, the human race will annihilate itself.
Perhaps we could begin to resolve the problem in the school system by introducing civility courses into the curriculum, beginning in first grade.
That way, maybe we could recapture a bit of that kinder and gentler world we once knew.
Mary Earle Gugerty
Authors of our laws inspired by God
I would remind the writer of the letter "Human hands wrote Bible, marriage laws" (Sept 27) first, that while he is correct that human hands did write the Bible, these authors were not mere men but men inspired by God, and second, that the fact that these laws were written by men does not imply that they shouldn't be obeyed.
Our entire judicial system is based on laws written by men (based on the Judeo-Christian ethic of the Bible).
We can obey them and live in peace or disobey them and be brought before our courts for trial and punishment.
James R. Cook