Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of October 10, 2011

Readers write in to debate the individual mandate in the new health-care law and share thanks for 'gifted and talented' programs in schools.

Health care isn't a choice

Not often do I feel deep disagreement with The Monitor's View, but this is the case with the Aug. 29 editorial, "Health mandate – or choice?"

Health care is not a commodity. It is a necessity and benefits everyone. People do not choose to have car wrecks, house fires, cancer, heart disease, pregnancy complications, or sick children.

We require everyone who drives a car to purchase accident insurance, and mortgage lenders require insurance on structures. We require families to provide education for their children to a certain age, and we require hospitals to treat anyone and everyone who appears at their doors in need of medical treatment.

There are costs associated with health care, and in order for the United States to meet society's need, everyone is going to have to share in that cost.

Barbara Hood

Retired hospital CEO

Louisville, Ky.

The idea of "choice" works for those who can afford what we have now. But what about those who need and want health care and cannot afford it?

Nick Royal

Santa Cruz, Calif.

Are government mandates really new? Isn't the Social Security Retirement Program already an economic mandate? Doesn't this program force workers to partially pay into it, even though many of the participants will not even realize their retirement benefits because they die before they can receive them? If we were to allow individuals to opt out of health care, shouldn't we have to allow workers to opt out of Social Security?

Congress has mandated economic programs before, and they will continually steer us into other such programs. To disallow such mandates in health care, we would need to put the brakes on other programs as well.

Steven Norris Waller

Park Forest, Ill.

'Gifted and talented' – a gift

The "Breaking through the class ceiling" cover story (Aug. 29) presented fairly both sides of the issue of special classes and schools for gifted students. I speak as one who benefited profoundly, decades ago, from the "special class" side of the equation. By the time I entered fourth grade, my school had established a class for "Intellectually Gifted Children." The children chosen for the class went through three grades together, and those years still emerge as the most significant and formative in my education.

I then entered a specialized public school in junior high (Hunter), then the High School of Music and Art, also a specialized public school. Innovation became the hallmark of my long career in the arts. It goes without saying that I am incredibly grateful to those who believed in special classes and schools for gifted students.

Barbara Cook Spencer

Brookline, Mass.

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