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home : opinions :   April 30, 2016

11/19/2013 10:41:00 AM
Column: Wading into more controversies

Craig Sterrett
NT News Editor

It’s not just the conservative radio hosts who have a conspiracy theory about initial failures in the rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

I bumped into physician Dr. Richard Twanow while at an Illinois Valley fundraiser this month and asked him a baiting question: “So, are you excited about the start of Obamacare?”

He said he’s “excited,” not in a good way, but in an agitated, frustrated way.

I knew Twanow was from Canada. But he quickly reminded me, just in case I forgot, and then rattled off a list of concerns.

That was just two weeks ago, and he correctly predicted some of the problems that quickly arose nationwide. (I must admit, my own view of Obamacare became dim when a loved one learned she could not keep her insurance plan — contrary to what the president, for years, had told the world — and that the alternate plan through her insurer would cost as month each month as her current plan cost for two months. Further, she was told her best insurance alternative would be in the ACA exchange. Now Obama says some states will allow people to keep their plans for the next year, but it’s hard to trust that statement this late in the game after the insurance companies spent years getting ready for the big health care system change.)

Anyway, in our quick conversation, Twanow said the Democrats and Obama administration will try to “fix” the problems in the system, but he thinks ultimately the goal is to herd more and more Americans into the insurance exchanges. Ultimately, he said, what the Obamacare backers are likely to come up with as the solution will be a single-payer system just like Canada’s.

He said he left Canada to get away from that system.

For some residents of Canada, he said, when he left there, the effective total tax rate was between 60 percent and 70 percent. Further, he said, if a single-payer system is put into place, the government-approved management will ration health care, because, he said, that’s the only way to regulate costs.

So, yes, he said, he’s “excited.”

I hope he’s wrong and I wish I didn’t think our president speaks with a forked tongue.

No matter what, Obama has delivered pain and stress.

Tax relief — a little or a lot? Cherry and Dimmick school districts are trying to merge, and frankly I think it would be good for the economy of eastern Bureau County if the regional board of trustees and neighboring school districts would allow it to happen.

Think of it this way: If Cherry elementary school students went to Ladd, Cherry taxpayers would see some property tax relief.

But if Cherry students were allowed to attend Dimmick and, of course required to attend Hall High School, the tax relief would be greater for Cherry residents.

If Cherry residents could spend less to send children to grade school, wouldn’t they in turn have more money to spend on goods and services in eastern Bureau County?

Odd way to spend money: Here’s a wasteful scenario:

Early this month, Illinois Association of School Boards mailed seven oddly-sized envelopes to the NewsTribune — not just to one or two editors, but rather to seven different people on staff in the La Salle office. Each envelope included a cover sheet, a one-page opinion piece and a two-page press release with the headline, “Illinois Association of School Boards and local school boards celebrate 100 years of service.”

What a waste of postage money. A piece of mail to one editor would have been enough. It’s not exactly government waste, since IASB is a voluntary organization of local school boards.

Protesteth too much? It sounded like an old KGB trick, stirring up anti-American sentiment, when protests started popping up in U.S. cities and worldwide when, gasp, it was revealed the National Security Agency had snooped on leaders of governments such as Spain. Isn’t that what spies do? And aren’t there terrorist cells in Spain? Remember the Madrid train bombings?

Craig Sterrett can be reached at (815) 220-6935 or

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