Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) speaks on Capitol Hill on Sept. 19. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Regarding the Sept. 19 front-page article “ACA repeal effort is revived”:

Only in the land of the free and home of the brave could we create a health-care system that spends 85 percent of its funding to treat chronic lifestyle diseases rather than addressing their underlying causes.

By definition, we have a “sick-care maintenance system” that administers to an unhealthy lifestyle: over- and unhealthy eating, smoking, excessive drinking and lack of exercise.  

The Sept. 18 front-page article “In Vermont, an experiment in simplicity” described “accountable care,” which incentivizes doctors and hospitals to keep their patients healthy by getting to the cause and curing chronic illnesses, thereby reducing costs.

This should be the definition and goal of health care.

And now we have Congress trying again to repeal the Affordable Care Act with an effort that does nothing to reduce care costs. It would just reduce sick-care payments to states and allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums to those with preexisting conditions. That would force these folks to go without insurance and to then end up in very expensive hospital emergency rooms. And because no one can be turned away from an emergency room, it’s taxpayers and the insured who pay.

In a way, we already have universal health care that’s extremely inefficient and not very fair.  

If we require accountable care for all states and include the fairness provision that everyone pays, we could provide universal health care and reduce health-care costs, satisfying left and right.

Bill McCarty, Bristow, Va.

Despite the scheduled Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Cassidy-Graham health-care bill, the process is a disgrace. In more than three decades working on Medicaid policy, I’ve never witnessed such duplicity in our legislative process. The needs of people reliant on Medicaid — including millions with disabilities — are being ignored by the authors and Senate leadership.

Given the rush to passage, little is known about the bill’s impact on people who need health-care coverage or Medicaid’s long-term supports. There was not enough time allowed for the Congressional Budget Office to produce a full report on the fiscal impact of this bill as well as the impact on coverage, premiums and Medicaid changes. Little mention was made by the bill’s proponents of the deep cuts and fundamental restructuring of the Medicaid program and its impact on states and people who receive health care and long-term supports because of low income, disability or aging.

Millions rely on the Affordable Care Act and the federal/state Medicaid partnership for comprehensive health-care coverage and long-term services and supports that enable them to live full lives in our communities. A mass deception must not succeed.

Marty Ford, Washington

The writer is senior executive officer
of the public policy office for the Arc.

The PBS miniseries “The Vietnam War” is driving home the tragedy that results when leaders overrule their personal doubts and conscience in order to maintain an unchanging political course.

Is the insistence by Republicans in Congress on repealing the Affordable Care Act today’s tragic example of political stubbornness?

Jim Reierson, Arlington