An open letter to Congressman David Young

Tom Witosky follows up on recent correspondence with his U.S. House representative. -promoted by desmoinesdem

March 13, 2017
Dear Congressman Young,

I am writing this open letter to you because the time is fast approaching when your words will be put to the test with your vote on the proposed American Health Care Act.

Make no mistake, the Republican majorities’ decision to amend key portions of the Affordable Care Act will change coverage for millions of us who have obtained insurance through federal or state exchanges.

In your Feb. 21 letter to me, you outlined your concerns about the current law and what you believed needed to be corrected with new legislation. Those concerns included:

“We need a healthcare law that works for all Iowans, the facts are that the current healthcare law works for some but it does not work for others.”

Analysis of this proposal by a variety of experts and expert groups – conservative and liberal — indicates strongly that the House proposal does nothing to provide a law “that works for all Iowans.”

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David Young on the Affordable Care Act: Raising more questions than answers

Former Des Moines Register investigative reporter Tom Witosky dissects a letter he received from the Republican who represents Iowa’s third Congressional district. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Congressman David Young has scheduled a town hall meeting for today at Living History Farms. Clearly, one of the topics to be discussed will be the Affordable Health Care Act and what the Republican majority intends to do to it.

As fate would have it, I received a lengthy response from Congressman Young about my concerns about the Republican plans on Tuesday.

First some background. Up until I became eligible for Medicare almost a year ago, my wife and I purchased our health insurance on the federal exchange.

Our experience was good. We kept our doctors, the level of deduction was acceptable (stay healthy and you don’t need to worry about it) and the premium cost was acceptable. We received no subsidy. Especially important is the ACA requiring coverage of all purchasers with a pre-existing condition. My wife, who is still purchasing her health insurance on the exchange, has one that insurance companies commonly declined to cover or placed limits on.

I provide this background because Young’s letter to me outlines a position that attempted to persuade me major problems exist within the ACA that apparently deserve radical change.

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Throwback Thursday: Down memory lane with politicians who don't pay income taxes

By Tom Witosky

Donald Trump’s reported avoidance of paying federal income taxes – possibily for almost two decades – raises a simple, but interesting question for Iowa voters.
Does it matter? And, if it doesn’t matter to voters in 2016, then why did it matter when Gov. Terry Branstad and his supporters made such a big deal of it in his campaigns against Democrat candidate Roxanne Conlin in 1982 and Jack Hatch in 2014?

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Title IX and the Rio Olympics

Tom Witosky covered sports, politics and business for many years as an investigative reporter at the Des Moines Register. -promoted by desmoinesdem


Back when newspaper reporters typed their stories onto paper, the notation -30- at the bottom of the final page indicated the end of a story.

When the U.S. Men’s Olympic basketball team on Sunday defeated Serbia, 96-66, the 30-point drubbing fittingly symbolized the end of one of the best Olympic efforts ever by U.S. male and female athletes. Medal totals told the story: U.S. teams earned 121 medals (45 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze) outpacing China’s second place finish with 70 medals.

But what’s more interesting is how the dominance of U.S. female athletes, likely the most superior women’s team ever fielded by the United States Olympic Committee, played such a huge role in that success.

In many ways, the U.S. success provides another metaphor for the progress that has been made in this country’s striving for a better union. Like the breaking of the racial barrier in Major League Baseball by Jackie Robinson, and the breaking of the sexual-orientation barrier by a variety of athletes, the success of the U.S. women illustrates vividly that commitment to equality and diversity does pay despite long-term, deep-seated resistance from those who disagree.

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A journalist's duty: Getting to the truth through verification not bias

Longtime investigative reporter Tom Witosky reflects on “the essence of good journalism” and the “crisis of conscience” recent trends have caused in the media sector. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Two Iowa State students approached me after a campus news conference in 2003 during which Gregory Geoffrey, then the school’s president, explained why he fired Larry Eustachy, who was the school’s men’s basketball coach.

“You’re a Hawkeye aren’t you?” one of them asked as if to be let in on a big secret.

After all, the students suggested, that would be the only reason why someone would write a story and publish pictures of Eustachy drinking and partying with college students into the early morning hours while on road trips.

It wasn’t the first time that question or its corollary – “You’re a Cyclone aren’t you?”- had been asked. During my 25 years of investigative sports reporting for the Des Moines Register, many stories incurred the wrath of Iowa and Iowa State fans. This time my reporting on Eustachy’s on-the-road shenanigans had cost him his job.

The memory of that conversation 13 years ago remains a vivid one. It remains high in my recollections because it’s the same accusation that’s heard daily about media bias or lack of objectivity in covering the 2016 presidential campaign.

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In the aftermath of a massacre: Grief, pride and hope for a new day

Tom Witosky retired from the Des Moines Register in 2012 after 33 years of award-winning reporting on politics, sports and business. He is the co-author of Equal Before the Law: How Iowa Led Americans to Marriage Equality published by University of Iowa Press. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Jacob McNatt wept Sunday morning.

“I don’t understand for the life of me why someone would go to a place where people are getting together to have a good time and be happy and enjoy life would bring terror with them,” the bartender said as made a gin and tonic at the Blazing Saddle booth early Sunday afternoon at Capitol City Pride. “I don’t understand. It is just contrary to what I believe about humanity. It’s just awful.”

McNatt was just one of thousands at the annual gay pride event in Des Moines’ East Village who grieved while trying desperately to make sense of the murder of 49 men and women and 50 wounded at a gay bar in Orlando by a lone gunman killed by police in a gun fight.

Sunday’s steaming weather appeared to keep attendance down for the eight-block parade that has become a staple event for the Des Moines gay pride weekend, but one couldn’t help but think that events in Orlando made trying to celebrate pride too difficult for many of them.

As politicians pointed fingers at each other over whether the issue of the Orlando massacre was about religiously motivated terrorism or the refusal of this country to control the sale of assault weapons, those who still live with discrimination daily wondered out loud why no one was talking about them.

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