Virtue should drive health care reform
People will argue differently, but I believe that the main issue in health care reform is whether we want 50 million uninsured Americans covered by health insurance.
The argument that it will cost us dearly is wrong, because we already pay dearly for the health care of the uninsured, although indirectly. Remember, hospitals can't turn people away because they can't pay. So those costs are passed on in other ways. The care to the uninsured is inadequate and inefficient. It is morally distasteful that we would not want to provide reasonable health insurance to all.
The argument that health care reform gets the government into health care is wrong because the government is already in health care. Our government already regulates the health insurance industry, although poorly. It allows the industry great advantages, such as antitrust exemptions and the ability to cherry pick enrollees. The government provides services through Medicare and Medicaid. Those services are provided more fairly and more efficiently than those provided by the health insurance industry. Reform would allow fairer regulation and further services and efficiency.
Where is the Christian ideal of charity in this debate? Is it stuck in the closet with people's "Sunday dress," only to be the topic of a Sunday sermon?
PETER H. SWANSON
S.C. is right place for Gitmo detainees
I am dismayed by the bold-face hypocrisy of Sens. Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham regarding the proposal to house Guantanamo Bay detainees at the Navy brig in Charleston, and trying them in U.S. civilian courts. When Jose Padilla was denied his Constitutional rights and held without charge or trial for three years in Charleston's Naval brig, neither senator protested the clear violations against the U.S. Constitution. Instead Graham helped to create a web of tortured logic to create extrajudicial procedures and processes to fix the mess that the Bush Administration created in Gitmo, and DeMint just kind of stood around cheering.
Now, instead of leading the way, DeMint and Graham are screaming not-in-my-backyard.
The argument that these men are hardened terrorists is still up for debate. Recall that the U.S. government and military courts have not been able to successfully prosecute even a fraction of the detainees in Gitmo. A civilian court will provide a transparent process that will show the world that we are man enough to correct our mistakes, and that we understand two wrongs don't make a right.
Only confederates and cowards would claim to be proud of our Constitution and then hesitate to employ it on our own soil. It is time that South Carolina citizens make a small sacrifice for freedom at home, and make our military men and women proud of us for the real sacrifices they make every day overseas.
Graham deserves our support on energy
I welcomed state Sen. John Courson's column Tuesday endorsing Sen. Lindsey Graham's actions in support of clean energy legislation. Both men show far-sighted vision in their sound thinking.
For the safety and security of this country, it is vital that we become free from our dependence on foreign oil. Billions of dollars from our purchases go to funding the Taliban and al-Qaida, which in turn costs us dearly in terms of soldiers' lives and fighting wars against them.
The other side of the coin is that as we develop alternate forms of clean energy, we are also creating thousands more jobs for economic prosperity and fighting the severe global warming threat.
It is clearly a win-win policy that needs everyone's endorsement if this country is to survive.
MARY H. TAYLOR
Three state leaders set bad example
I was born in Columbia in 1930 and moved away in 1940. I was happy to move back in 1989 and will eventually contribute my body to the USC School of Medicine. I love South Carolina, and I especially love Columbia.
However, within the last few years, men in three of the most responsible political positions of leadership in our state have committed three of the most childish acts I can imagine. One called the president a liar while the president was addressing Congress. Another had an extramarital affair with a woman thousands of miles away, which made it terribly impractical to begin with. And another has been stopped for speeding, once clocked at more than 100 miles an hour.
I would hope that in my years that are left we will see some mature statesmen of character give South Carolina the leadership it deserves.
ROBERT B. LINEBERGER