Views on health insurance, guns in schools

Readers respond to recent roundtable topics

Letters to the editor

Why so much negotiating on bills?

Re “‘Looking for answers, and there are none’,” March 10: I read the health insurance roundtable with interest.

My husband and I have bought our own insurance for years. Currently, we are paying $400 a month for the two of us. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but it is, when you realize it’s basically throwing money down a hole. You see, the only way we can afford insurance is to have a high deductible — $10,000 per person. So we only see a doctor when it’s absolutely necessary. No annual check-ups for us.

One of the things I don’t understand is the negotiating between the hospital/doctor and the insurance company. A recent visit to the ER following a car accident was billed at over $6,400, but then the insurance company negotiated it down to just a little over $2,700. If the hospital agrees to take so much less, why didn’t it just bill for that amount to begin with and forget all this negotiating? Makes no sense to me.

The other thing that bothers me is when the insurance companies think they know more than the doctors. Doctors go to school for years to learn their stuff, so why do the insurance companies think they have the right to decide if a person gets the treatment or medicine that the doctor orders? A number of years ago I had to go without my prescribed treatment for several days because the insurance company refused to allow the pharmacy to fill the prescription on the doctor’s timetable.

I feel so sorry for people who have chronic problems and have to deal with this on a daily basis. I don’t know what the answer is, but I wish there was one. BECKY HAWKER, JAMESTOWN

Law enforcement best for schools

The decision to permit teachers to carry or have immediate access to loaded weapons in the classroom, just feet and inches away from our children, should be done with a great deal of caution. If such a policy comes to pass, only one group should be designated to handle this tremendous responsibility and that is law enforcement.

Sworn law enforcement officers have the training and familiarity to handle these deadly weapons and critical incidents. They must demonstrate their proficiency several times a year in the use of these weapons. This ongoing weapons training includes continuous education that encompasses new and ever changing laws, along with review of critical incidents that involve police officers and the public.

The decision to use a deadly weapon in a critical school incident, like those incidents occurring at Sandy Hook Elementary and Columbine High School, requires a split-second decision. The person who decides to use a weapon should be carrying that weapon on his person, not having to go to a far site in the class room, or some other site in the building, to bring the weapon into service.

Finally, consideration must be given to the event of an accidental weapon discharge. Do they happen? Yes! Given all the training and education law enforcement receives in the use and handling of weapons, these unfortunate incidents do take place on an infrequent basis. If these incidents happen with professionally trained law enforcement officers, would such incidents occur with our teachers?

Teachers have a full plate now just trying to educate our kids. Do we really want to impose another responsibility on them? What about their personal liabilities for taking on these responsibilities? What about the liability for the schools and school boards?

Many individuals responsible for coming up with safety plans for critical incidents think they have all the bases covered relating to such events, but, believe me, and a lot of other law enforcement officers, things don’t always go as planned.

Hopefully, my 40-plus years in law enforcement and the criminal justice system will give people something to think about. STAN ERTER, SPRINGFIELD

Speak Up

Feelings of empathy (while reading the roundtable discussion on the uninsured) turned to anger as each person went on to place blame on various people for their lack of health care and lack of insurance. I’ve been paying a premium price for my insurance for years, by choice. I do this because I’m self-employed and have made plans like getting an education, working hard, not spending more than I take in, and making good decisions. If I choose to live “high on the hog,” that is my business. I’m not working as hard as I am to buy your health insurance. I’m working that hard to buy my family’s health insurance.

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