When it comes to pre-existing health conditions, there's no such thing as the "good ol' days." We can't afford to go back to those fictional harlequin days of the "Great" America.

Before the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), if you had cancer or diabetes or any kind of ailment not covered, insurance companies labeled them pre-existing conditions. People with pre-existing conditions were told to pay outrageous premiums for health insurance. Since premiums were unaffordable for most, people with pre-existing conditions had no health insurance.

As newlyweds, before the Affordable Care Act, my wife and I found out the hard way about pre-existing conditions. A tick infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever bit her before she could be put on my insurance. Not being wealthy, we couldn't afford insurance for her and consequently went deeply in debt to pay for life-saving treatments.

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), not to be confused with the Affordable Care Act, is the House of Representatives' replacement for Obamacare. No surprise: Insurance companies are put back in charge of our health care. They are getting a couple of hundred billion dollars in new tax breaks and are bringing back those bad ol' days when pre-existing conditions were not covered by regular insurance.

There is little if anything good for you and me in this bill. It is especially punishing for people aged 50-64, who often suffer chronic conditions — pre-existing conditions. Nationally, 40 percent of Americans age 50 to 64 have pre-existing conditions. The Natural State would be hit especially hard. Fifty-two percent of us ages 50 to 64 have pre-existing conditions. More simply put, 280,000 Arkansans could face real financial hardship when health insurance coverage is denied for pre-existing conditions.

The U.S. Senate plans to work on this bad bill in the coming weeks. Treatment of pre-existing conditions as done in Obamacare should not be changed. The costly treatment under the House bill should be one of the first sections deleted by the Senate.

John Zimpel


From the web

In response to last week's cover story, "Loaves and fishes":

As I said over and over again, the city can pass what they want, but if I want to go feed the homeless in a park (somewhere I pay taxes), I'm gonna do it regardless of what anyone says. There isn't a person in this city with the gonads big enough to stop me. Go ahead and try. See how far they get. Because in the words of Aaron Reddin, the feeding will go on.

Travis Lee

Seems to me, Travis, that you do not pay EVERYONE's taxes for the parks. If a majority of people who ALSO pay taxes do not want the homeless fed in the parks, then the majority rules. You got a problem. Go somewhere else.

Investigator of both sides

When the British let all those thousands of Irish people starve to death during the potato famine (because they didn't want them to become dependent), it not only saved the ruling class from higher taxes, it also sent a lot of poor people to heaven, which is a very good thing.

Ivan the Republican

In response to the June 9 Arkansas Blog post, "Ten Commandments Monument under construction at Arkansas":

Maybe they should make it portable?


Maybe some stealthy souls will purchase a life-size model of Han Solo in carbonite and clandestinely affix it to that base. No lawsuit needed, just a cease-and-desist from the intellectual property police. Asa the Hutch would be most impressed.


I would be all for the installation of a monument dedicated to Xian rules for living, as long it was in each of the chambers of the legislature, since thus far, as evidenced by their actions, they have amply demonstrated that they are the most in need of moral guidance.


I think this is the perfect spot in the center of this state to fling your used condoms, old diaphragms, empty bottles of fruit-flavored lube and cast-off sex toys.


All this Ten Commandments stuff is meant to distract us from noticing that Christians of a certain variety are very uncomfortable with the teachings of Jesus regarding the two great commandments, especially the one about loving your neighbor.

Pavel Korchagin

In response to an Arkansas Blog post on Legislative Audit's criticism of Secretary of State Mark Martin's charging to taxpayers a $8,380 trip to Ghana he made with a deputy:

Breathes there a Republican politician anywhere who does not believe himself/herself exempt from all laws?


Ah hell, let the man globe-trot to his heart's content. He's already demonstrated that he's completely incapable of executing the duties of his elected office. He may want to pick his battles with the Legislature. They might just "forget" to appropriate funds for his office during the next session.  At the very least, they have a track record of cutting budgets by the exact amount (coinky-dink, of course) that they have quibbled over with heads of executive agencies. His office is, of course, one provided by the constitution, but they might still be able to inflict pain.


When I think of good things that might benefit Arkansas, the first place I think of is Ghana, the 67th least fragile state in the world, the 5th least fragile state in Africa, the 64th least corrupt and politically corrupt country in the world out of all 174 countries! Ghana is used as a key narcotics industry transshipment point by traffickers. Could this be what drew Mark Martin to Ghana? Does he perhaps have a side business or is he making secure retirement plans? It's known to be an attractive country for the narcotics business. But homosexual acts are outlawed!  Ghana has universal health care, so maybe Mark Martin went there for a hip replacement or a liver transplant? I may be doing that in the future myself. I hope to get my travel plans paid for by the state, so someone please tell me how I can do this?



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