Readers Write: My Obamacare story; The case for paper books over e-books

Letters to the Editor for the January 20, 2014 weekly magazine edition of the Monitor:

As retirees over 60, the closest Affordable Care Act policy to our old one costs 24 percent more and includes coverage we don't need. But the cost of our old policy has increased by 34 percent.

The ever-identical screens of my Kindle become mind-numbing, whereas the imperfections of my paper books serve as guideposts for locating key passages of text.

Finally, some research to explain why I never finish my e-books, but breeze through paper copies.

Another 'Obamacare' story

While I enjoyed reading the Dec. 9 Focus, "Four stories of 'Obamacare,' " I think the article could have been even better if it had included one or more stories from people over 60, like my wife and me.

We recently retired but don't yet qualify for Medicare, and are both relatively healthy. When we retired, we purchased individual coverage. The closest 2014 Affordable Care Act (ACA) policy costs 24 percent more than our 2013 policy and includes coverage we don't need (maternity, pediatric coverage).

After President Obama's decision to allow individuals to keep their current plans, our old plan was offered to us with a 34 percent increase in price. I'm guessing that this significant increase was due to the insurance company's expectation that the 2014 pool of individuals will be smaller than the 2013 pool.

Bottom line: We're going with the ACA plan and paying the 24 percent more (better than 34 percent).

Harry G. Boylston III

Whitsett, N.C.

Paper books or e-books?

I was particularly pleased at Ruth Walker's presentation of arguments in favor of paper over digital books in her Dec. 16 Verbal Energy column, "Finding our way in the landscape of books." Don't get me wrong. I own a Kindle, and while doing research I'm amazed at how often I can get from my device just the book I need – and cheaply or even for free.

But the ever-identical screens become mind-numbing, whereas even the sophomoric comments some student left in the margins of my paperback copy of "Paradise Lost" are a key to finding my place in the text (to say nothing of tears, creases, and flyspecks).

M. Orend

Woodland Hills, Calif.

I'm an avid reader and am not a technophobe; I have a Kindle, tablet, laptop, and smart phone. Yet I have long wondered why I have such a hard time finishing e-books (I have at least nine languishing in various stages on my Kindle), whereas I pick up a "real" book and finish it quickly. The research described in Ms. Walker's column helped me understand the whys of my preference for paper books.

Cindy Yoshimura

Hood River, Ore.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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