Letters for Monday, March 20, 2017

• Health care tax credit may be worthless • Keiki need after-school programs to continue

Health care tax credit may be worthless

The Congressional Budget Office has finally been allowed to score the “American Health Care Act” or AHCA (TrumpDon’tCare) which is the Republican proposal to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

If you get your health care from your employer, you may be one of 7 million people who will lose it. If you are on Medicaid, you could be one of the 14 million who will lose your health care. An estimated 24 million people are going to lose health care under the Republican bill. Uninsured Americans are to nearly double under the AHCA to almost 20 percent.

The Republicans are promising you a tax credit to help you pay for your insurance. Do you know what a “tax credit” is? I received a “tax credit” for putting solar panels on my house. It has been three years and I still haven’t used up my tax credit. If you don’t pay income taxes (please note “income taxes,” not sales tax, not property tax, not GET), tax credits are like getting a $100 off coupon for an airline trip to the Mainland that will still cost you over $500. If you cannot afford to go, the coupon is worthless. Likewise, if you don’t pay income tax, the tax credit is worthless. Worthless like all Republican promises.

Trump did promise that he would not cut Medicare or Social Security and he did promise that he would provide health care for everyone … wait, no, he promised “access” to healthcare. Well, all Americans have “access” to health care — but a lot of us cannot afford it.

John Zwiebel, Kalaheo

Keiki need after-school programs to continue

I was shocked to learn the president is proposing to eliminate federal support for after-school and summer learning programs. That funding is critical to children, families and communities, making it possible for about 1.6 million children in Hawaii and across the country to participate in after-school programs that keep them safe, inspire them to learn, and help their working parents keep their jobs.

If the president succeeds in killing the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, many of those children will have no safe, supervised place to go after the school day ends. They’ll be latchkey kids, on their own, on the streets, some getting involved in risky behaviors, and all losing the opportunity to be constructively engaged and learning under the watchful eye of caring adults.

Cutting funds for after-school would cause real harm to children, families and communities. It’s up to Congress to make sure the president doesn’t succeed in killing federal after-school funding — and up to all of us to make sure our members of Congress know how much we all value after-school programs.

Paula Adams, Hawaii Afterschool Alliance, Honolulu

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