In support of religious freedom

A recent letter to the editor was an example of incredible intolerance and in my opinion only perpetuates hate and ignorance. The American Psychological Association in 1998 came out against “conversion therapy” and its use to change gay people into straight thinking. They went further that homosexuality is not a psychological disorder.

The Eau Claire City Council had scientific grounds to denounce such bogus and harmful practices. This letter-writer went on to claim that Islam (Muslims) is not a religion despite the fact that it is the second-largest religion on the planet. He went on to exclude Muslims from running and/or holding elected offices.

As a resident of Barron, I find it very positive that members of Somali heritage are interested in serving on our City Council. They have become U.S. citizens and have the right to serve. The U.S. Constitution clearly states that there shall be no religious test to hold public office. Also, in the Bill of Rights, we are guaranteed freedom of religion.

Despite many thinking that the U.S. is a Christian nation, the founders made certain that there was separation of church and state and no state-sponsored religion. Rather than espousing hate and fear of others we need to respect our differences and realize that judging others as not worthy is just plain wrong. God is not on your side.

Nancy Ausman Dhatt

Barron

Change possible in health care

It’s a popular myth that private health care insurance can be affordable for individuals seeking coverage outside a group plan.

Insurance is a risky business. More specifically, it’s the transfer of risk, or the possibility of loss, from an individual to an insurance company. But insurance companies are business ventures that rely on turning a profit — not risking a loss.

To be a profitable business, health care insurance relies on the law of numbers — a large resource pool of premium inputs covering the expense of individual claim payouts. Insurers manage the risk of loss through a transfer that spreads that risk among many insureds. They depend on the probability that not everyone will experience an accident or health crisis while owning an insurance policy. In this way, the large number of insureds who don’t have an accident or crisis will be paying for the losses of the few who do — and insurers profit.

What Obamacare attempts to establish in creating health care exchanges and mandating coverage is a group basis for insuring those outside a group plan — a step in the right direction. More individuals are in this category as we move to an economy of increased work outsourcing, more small businesses and greater numbers of self-employed and contract workers. Health care exchanges are the equivalent of employer-provided group health care for many.

More affordable health care in our free market economy will depend on transitioning from multiple corporate-financed group plans to a single government subsidized group plan — but not necessarily a single-payer system. With more regulation and greater tax contributions — from corporations as well as individuals — a plan can be created similar to those in European nations that have systems of competing private health insurance companies within government subsidized and regulated plans.

Tim Montgomery

River Falls