Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Accurate information on Obamacare; Kum & Go

Letters Published: August 26, 2013

Time people get accurate information

There has been much effort devoted to touting the benefits of the president's controversial health care reforms. While the president boasts the law will cover 25 million uninsured and guarantee coverage for pre-existing conditions, the plain unattractive truth is the law will increase costs for many who are insured. The law dictates a broad expansion of required benefits, many of which are not in the coverage many people choose today. The law also prohibits higher deductible plans, which have helped families keep premiums in check. When you hear you will have new benefits, dig deeper and you will learn that many of these benefits are unnecessary and drive additional premium costs.

Additionally, the law forces additional taxes on health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the Health Insurance Tax, which is part of the funding mechanism for Obamacare, will exceed $102 billion by 2022. This tax will be passed along to individuals and families in the form of higher premiums. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates this tax alone will add $350 to $400 annually to family premiums in 2016.

It is time people are given accurate information on why there health insurance rates are going up and what is driving what will undoubtedly be sticker shock on the new price tag for many individuals and families in Colorado.

When you add it all up - the new coverage, new benefits, new rules and new taxes - you add substantial new costs to health insurance. As a result, millions of Americans will have coverage that is more costly than they have today.

Rep. Bob Gardner, Colorado Springs

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It is up to the employee

Recently, it was reported that household incomes have dropped 4.4 percent since the end of the recession. It was also reported that first time jobless claims rising again, which means that the true unemployment rate (actively looking, and not actively looking) is in the midteens. For these people it would seem that the recession has not ended. After all, it has been said that an individual doesn't feel they are in a recession unless it affects them. For far too many citizens, that is reality.

A recent opinion piece stated that the reason the welfare system is causing people not to look for work is because employers refuse to pay their workers a livable wage and the fault was greedy employers. How is an employer being greedy when the job pool is ever increasing and the law of supply and demand dictates that the employer can pay a person less than someone else for doing the same job? Once an employee is hired, it is up to them to perform well do on the job or not do well. It is up to the employee, not the employer. The employer will recognize that they have a good employee and reward them rather than risking the loss of a good employee.

It is true that productivity in recent years has increased while wages have stagnated or even dropped when inflation is considered. But that is the fault of policymakers in Washington, D.C., that tie the hands of employers and thus put potential employees in a bind. The "greedy employers" have a lot more to pay for in terms of running a business than just trying to pay an employee so they can make a "livable wage".

Thank goodness most workers are just happy to have a job and do seek any job they can get, part time or full time, rather than sit around and complain about how "greedy" employers are.

Thomas Hill, Colorado Springs

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Beware what you wish for

Beware, west-siders. You may get what you wish for -the killing by City Council of the Kum & Go investment and transformation of the large, useless, Goodwill Property on West Colorado Avenue into productive business use.

I am frankly in full support of Kum &Go's proposed project. My reasons are many, besides Goodwill's right and need to sell its building for its worthy projects.

If the Kum &Go proposal is denied just because a lot of banner-waving protesters don't like the idea of a gas station and convenience store in place of a largely empty building within which big Goodwill trucks come and go, I have yet to hear of a viable alternative use, much less by a large investor. The worst outcome would be Goodwill effectively abandoning it to the elements and its homeless-attracting alley, for years. Many west-siders agree with me.

After Goodwill Industries attempted for years - in good faith - to market that property to developers across Colorado with no success, the only serious applicant which has put their private money where their mouth is has been K&G. By my book, they are a class act as well as a successful business.

Secondly K&G promises and in other projects in Colorado, has listened to 'the community's views' on design changes to make their stores fit better into surrounding neighborhoods. It even made its station fit into Historic Idaho Springs, displaying its mining history.

Some of us have made substantial recommendations on how a west-side K&G can complement, not detract from Historic Colorado Avenue.

I find most all of the objections to it groundless, most of all that it will degrade, somehow, the Old Colorado City Historic District. I remind everyone that when the city got the state to move U.S. 24 from Colorado Avenue to the Midland Expressway in the early 1960s, the decline of all businesses on Colorado Avenue started. Half of the 100 buildings between 24th and 27th Streets were empty or abandoned by 1976. The city was ready to raze them. Had I not led the effort to use Federal HUD funds and SBA loan guarantees to capitalize 35 small businesses starting in 1975, there would be no 'Old Colorado City' today.

The federal government and Colorado Springs are now broke. Only private investment, such as Kum & Gos can transform the block-long Goodwill building into an attractive as well as productive facility now, and help maintain substantial local, as well as sight-seeing, traffic to and through the shops of Old Colorado City.

David Hughes, Colorado Springs

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