Iowans are familiar with the challenges brought on by the Affordable Care Act, but one area that has lived under the radar is the Health Insurance Tax, or HIT. If you’re not familiar, it’s a multi-billion dollar tax on health care premiums that “hits” small businesses and consumers.
Health care costs are already too high. If we’re going to begin reversing this trend, we need to prevent the HIT from going into effect. Congress has that opportunity by passing HR 1398, or the Health Insurance Relief Act. HR 1398 would delay the HIT until 2021, buying time for Iowans and giving Congress time to sort out new proposals that begin to lower the costs of health care.
The overall impact from HIT is not yet realized, but it should not be taken lightly. What we do know is that over the next decade, HIT is estimated to create $130 billion in new taxes on businesses and employees.
Rep. Axne has made it a point to say she wants to address health care costs quickly in Congress, and just signed onto a bill to eliminate HIT permanently. While this is encouraging news, we need to first make sure the HIT doesn’t go into effect next year before the imminent health care premiums are set. I encourage Rep. Axne to join the more than 75 cosponsors on HR 1398 and act quickly to delay these new taxes on Iowans.
Naomi Corrie, Council Bluffs
This Fourth of July, be respectful when it comes to fireworks
As we approach the Fourth of July holiday, you need to be prepared to give up your peaceful neighborhoods.
Although the only legal days for setting off fireworks in Council Bluffs are July 4, 5, and 6, anyone with common sense knows the noise will begin as soon as the sale of fireworks begins.
A lot of us, especially with pets, do not enjoy listening to this disturbance for weeks. I don’t mind the visual displays but those huge blasts are really explosives and should be banned.
Let’s hope that good citizens and good neighbors will respect the law and the folks who share their neighborhoods. I really don’t see disturbing the peace as a way to celebrate patriotism and I believe there are much more appropriate ways to raise funds.
Please, I hope people are more considerate this year and we can move to a more respectful ordinance in the future.
Tom Judkins, Council Bluffs
Farmers back on government welfare with Trump
Back in the 1980’s, following the crash of the farm economy, many full-time farmers were “saved” by government direct payments from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of USDA. This was direct government welfare from the taxpayers (mostly urban people) to keep farms from bankruptcy. To resolve that, world markets were encouraged and foreign trade greatly increased. China became our main buyer of food products along with many other overpopulated countries.
Then along came Donald Trump and his “patriotic” tariff wars to friends and foes alike. His “short” and “easy” trade wars have caused our country to lose our major commodity customers. Our markets have crashed for farm products. Farmers are going broke, again.
Since Trump alone caused this problem, he alone came up with a socialist solution. That is to put our farmers back on public welfare with direct FSA payments. Without congressional consent, he allocated $12,000,000,000 dollars in 2018. However, the situation got worse, so he has now allocated an additional $16,000,000,000 to prop up this disaster on rural America.
Everybody likes “free money,” especially when they are going broke. However, that money is not free. It is taxes collected from all of us, including farmers and rural Americans to pay for Trump’s mistake.
As a rural Iowan, Trump’s assault on free trade and open markets has caused agriculture to falter here. Fifteen percent ethanol blended gasoline is a Band-Aid on a gushing wound to farmers. It is time for rural Iowans to admit we elected a bad president last time. He is just not wise enough for this job.
John Klein, Treynor