Legislating healthcare reform; comparing Reagan and Stalin; saving chihuahuas

Healthcare legislation

Re “How Harry Reid threaded a needle,” Dec. 24

As the Democrats and most people in the nation applaud the passage of the Healthcare Reform Act in the Senate, the man who deserves the lion’s share of the credit is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who kept hope alive when almost everyone else gave up.

First it was Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) refusing to support the expansion of Medicare, which he had previously advocated, and then it was Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) trying to push a pro-life provision into the bill, which most Democrats considered untenable. But Reid hung in there and kept talking and cutting deals until he had 60 votes.

It is called diplomacy in foreign policy but considered unseemly in domestic matters. President Obama should be very pleased he had Reid on his side.

Ralph S. Brax

This article reminds me of what a friend recently referred to as “Bridge on the River Kwai” syndrome: The British officer was so focused on building a bridge that he lost sight of the fact that the real objective was to win the war.

It seems as if Reid is afflicted with the same malady. He has lost sight of the fact that the healthcare system needs improvement; he is focused only on getting a bill -- any bill -- through Congress.

What we have so far is the biggest piece of unpalatable sausage ever to come out of Congress. I can only hope that all the special deals and favors to special interests are somehow removed -- if not before passage, with later amendments when some degree of sanity returns to our representatives and senators.

Armond Briggs
Huntington Beach

Re “Health bill debate heads to final stage,” Dec. 25

Last week’s Senate vote on healthcare boggles the mind.

There’s no way that not one single Republican senator could not find enough merit in this bill to vote “aye” and not one Democratic senator could vote against this complex legislation.

These politicians succumb to peer pressure more than teenagers.

Jordan Austin
Port Hueneme

As a Medicare beneficiary, I rejoice at the passage of this historic bill. It will make Medicare more secure for the long term. It will make America stronger. Certainly, it will make America more just.

Len Gardner
Laguna Woods

The CEOs of the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries must be booking ballrooms around the country right now in anticipation of the parties they’ll be throwing to celebrate their victory over the American people.

With no “public option,” no Medicare buy-in, no effort to stem monopolies and no price caps on policies, the Senate’s so-called healthcare reform bill will offer little relief for the majority of Americans who won’t qualify for subsidies, yet will undoubtedly provide a multibillion-dollar financial bonanza for the greedy scumbags who got us into this situation in the first place.

Once again, corporate America wins out.

Stephen Bulka
West Los Angeles

President Obama recently said, in reference to “Cadillac” health plans, that they “don’t make people healthier but just take more money out of their pockets because they’re paying more for insurance than they need to.”

This quote sums up the arrogance and attitude of our president and the Democratic Party. Obama and his cronies think they can manage each individual’s healthcare on a collective basis in a manner that is cheaper and better versus allowing people to make decisions for themselves.

This foolishness of allowing the government to manage our healthcare will be the Waterloo for this arrogant group, whose only interest is to put more power in the hands of government to the detriment of our individual rights.

Don Black
Rancho Palos Verdes

Reagan as Stalin? Not so much

Re “Russia’s soft spot for Stalin,” Editorial, Dec. 24

What is “hard to fathom” is your reasoning in mentioning Ronald Reagan alongside the Soviet genocidal maniac Josef Stalin.

Whether Democrat or Republican, many Americans believe that Reagan stood up to the evils of communism abroad and set the stage for the recovery of the American economy -- and the American spirit -- at home.

To somehow draw an analogy between remembering Reagan and remembering Stalin defies belief and calls into question any sense of reality and balance in your editorial policy. What a disgrace.

Walt Rose

It is disgraceful of you to compare the popularity of Reagan to that of a Russian mass murderer. You have no sense of proportion. Your position just reconfirms how out of touch with American values your newspaper is.

Karl Simon
Manhattan Beach

Because, incredibly, the ideologically jaundiced Times actually sees editorial honor in equating respect for Reagan with that for Stalin, surely we need to expand the equation: aptly viewing the propaganda-spewing Times as nothing more than another Pravda.

Joseph Hacker
Los Angeles

Many thanks for your comment about the evils of Stalin. I also was especially pleased with your criticism of the anti-working-men and -women president, Ronald Reagan.

Let us not forget we owe him for the large number of homeless people populating our California streets because of his shutting down of mental institutions when he was governor.

Joseph M. Ellis
Woodland Hills

What jobs?

Re “Paychecks keep growing, but spending is restrained,” Dec. 24

The Times reports that paychecks have grown, and this shows that the U.S. economy has turned the corner. If so, where are the jobs?

It seems more likely to me that the figures are skewed by high salaries received by the top people in charge of the large corporations, who receive bonuses and salaries of up to hundreds of millions of dollars.

I look at my neighbors. Many are unemployed or working for much less than they received in the past.

I ask you, Mr. President, where are the jobs? I also ask the Republicans, the party of no: Isn’t it time that you start working for the good of the country and not just yourselves?

Carl Thompson
Wildomar, Calif.

Spay and neuter

Re “Little beasts of burden,” Dec. 10

Thank you for writing about our efforts to save chihuahuas from Los Angeles’ horrific shelter system. There is much to be done, and there is much that we will continue to do.

In 2009 so far, more than 4,700 chihuahuas have entered our city’s shelter system -- over 1,000 more than entered in 2008. Many of these chihuahuas will never be adopted. They will be euthanized instead. Or, to do away with the euphemism: simply killed, with little if any compassion.

Every chihuahua that enters our shelter system costs taxpayers over $300. In the meantime, it costs just $100 to spay or neuter a chihuahua. Because this dog population grows exponentially, any spay-neuter potentially saves thousands of abandoned chihuahuas from entering our shelter system in just a few short years.

Why can’t our community become better caretakers? Why can’t we invest the necessary resources to save both taxpayer dollars and euthanized chihuahuas via spay-neuter programs? Why can’t we assume true responsibility for our animals, who offer nothing but unconditional love?

Why can’t we prevent the madness that is this sadness?

Katherine Heigl
Los Angeles
The writer is the co-founder of the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, an animal rescue organization.