November 6, 2013

Kathleen Parker’s assertion [“Obama’s sin of omission,” op-ed, Nov. 6] that “the American people were duped” by President Obama confused me.

Does Ms. Parker believe that the president should have ensured that those with lousy insurance plans keep them? Those policies were like stale bread and brown bananas. They were not sought after; rather, they were offered to those with little means or choice.

Now that the new policies are going into effect, more people will get better health care. When people get better care, they help to create a healthier group of insurance policy holders, reducing the risks and costs for everyone.

Jim O’Brien, Chevy Chase

In the Nov. 3 Outlook article “5 Myths about the Affordable Care Act,” Sarah Kliff stated that the individual mandate, despite its name, is supposed to “encourage” people to purchase coverage by giving them two options: Buy insurance or pay a fine. I suggest that Ms. Kliff consult a good dictionary and explore the difference between encouragement and coercion.

Tom Bolavage, Derwood

While Sarah Kliff was correct in writing that the “fine” for not having health insurance is $95 or 1 percent of an individual’s income in 2014, she did not identify the law’s full impact: Within three years, those amounts grow to $695 or 2.5 percent of taxable income.

This is not encouragement. This is a gun held to one’s head, a classic Hobson’s choice. Poor and middle-class Americans have no room in their household budgets for such a punitive tax.

Doug Mainwaring, Gaithersburg

The writer is a co-founder of National Capital Tea Party Patriots.