Letters To The Editor 5/16/2019

May 16, 2019 GMT

Protect health care

Editor: If you ask mothers across Pennsylvania to name their biggest priorities, you can bet they’ll bring up how important it is to keep their families healthy.

Just ask Marlee Stefanelli, a Clarks Summit mom whose son, Matthew, has Type 1 diabetes and whose husband, Matt, suffers from asthma. As a working mom, she splits her time between her private counseling practice in Blakely and giving classes at the University of Scranton. She is one of millions of Pennsylvanians who benefit from the Affordable Care Act, the decade-old legislation that protects her husband and son from losing coverage simply because they have pre-existing conditions.


During the 116th Congress, the Democratic majority has fought to expand affordable health care and lower health care costs. Today, we plan to pass the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act. It’s a package of seven bills that address health care and prescription drug costs, including banning junk health insurance plans, contacting Americans to sign up for coverage and bringing generic prescription drugs to market more quickly.

We hope the White House and Republicans in Congress will end their dangerous attacks on our nation’s health care. The administration has been fighting in court to invalidate the entire health care law. If this litigation succeeds, more than 5 million Pennsylvanians with pre-existing conditions could lose protections. We’d also lose the Medicaid expansion that has helped more than 750,000 folks in Pennsylvania, and provisions allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.

If the administration gets its way, insurance companies could limit the amount of coverage someone can get in their lifetime and sell junk plans that offer no real coverage. I urge the administration to stand down and invite Republicans to join the Democrats’ attempt to improve our health care system.




Affront unjustified

Editor: I take offense to Franklin Graham recently going after Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is openly gay and running for the Democratic nomination for president.

Graham went after Buttigieg, telling him that he must repent for being gay. Who is Graham to judge? Jesus is about love and he loves all of us, including gays, the poor and immigrants.

Yet, Graham supports President Donald Trump, who is a serial liar, has admitted to sexual assaults against women and is a self-centered bully. Graham calls him a Christian and backs Trump.


What is he getting from Trump, power and money? He must be getting something good. Judas sold out Jesus for a lot less.




Cartoon offensive

Editor: The Times-Tribune editorial page cartoon of May 7 denigrates the Rev. Franklin Graham for denouncing Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a gay Democratic presidential candidate who is married to another man.

The cartoon depicts Graham holding up a fake news Bible. I’m sure this must have been offensive to readers since many are Christians who believe that the Bible is true. It is God’s holy and inerrant word.

The Bible even foretells that a time would come when Christians would be persecuted and it certainly is being manifested in various ways the world over.

I pray that the editors would be more sensitive to the newspaper’s readers who are believers and be more discreet in choosing content that is not offensive.




Answers for blight

Editor: At a recent Scranton City Council debate, the word blight resurfaced.

There is indeed blight, not only in Scranton but in other local towns. I propose a sensible, simple way to deal with it.

First, all such properties should be taken over by the municipality under eminent domain. The properties should then be listed on a single, countywide website — with photographs, room counts and tax figures — and then offered to people who yearn for their own houses but can’t scrape up the downpayment demanded by mortgage lenders.

This could be done either through a lottery system — such as $100 per ticket — or by selling the properties directly at very low prices, such as $1,000 or so. Any person obtaining such a property would be required to agree in writing to bring it back to code within five years and to live in it thereafter for a minimum of 10 years. In cases of emergency, such as a work transfer, the homeowner would have the option of selling it to someone else who would also agree to a 10-year residency. If the property would be multi-unit, the owner would be required to live in one of the units for the same 10-year minimum.

Many blighted properties are multi-unit rentals owned — and often abandoned — by out-of-state landlords. Cities and counties can’t go after these scofflaws across state boundaries; they haven’t committed a felony, and the effort isn’t worth the cost. To address these issues, the General Assembly should be urged to pass a law requiring that owners of residential rentals in Pennsylvania should live in Pennsylvania — ideally in the county where properties they own are located.