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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words

March 23, 2010 at 3:28 PM

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AG McKenna vs. health-care reform

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An ill-conceived lawsuit

Editor, The Times:

I am dismayed that an elected official in the state of Washington would attempt to sabotage national efforts to improve access to health care [“Washington joins lawsuit over mandate,” Times, page one, March 23].

Washington already elects a Legislature that understands the importance of access to health care for our residents, and especially those most vulnerable. Washington state is especially generous to children, prioritizing state-supported children’s programs during a difficult budget year.

Despite this clear mandate from the state’s voters, Attorney General Rob McKenna chooses legal maneuvers whose only purpose is to delay or disrupt health-care reform. Does McKenna want to prolong the devastating health and financial consequences of many Washingtonians when insurance coverage is unaffordable? Does he really want to watch as Washington’s children go un-immunized and lack access to preventive health care because parents cannot afford the ever-increasing premiums needed to fund the profits of health insurers?

I want nothing to do with this ill-conceived lawsuit. If McKenna feels strongly that health-care reform must be stopped, then I ask that he resign and use his own funds for attempts to reverse this historic legislation.

— Kathleen Lange, Seattle

He represents me

I read that Gov. Chris Gregoire claims Attorney General Rob McKenna doesn’t represent her. He does represent me and, madam, there are plenty more people like me.

We pay our taxes (through the nose, I might add) and I am delighted to have an AG who not only knows the Constitution but recognizes and acts when it has been blatantly violated.

This is the closest I have been to feeling ashamed to be an American under such flawed leadership that is seemingly ignorant of the rights contained in the U.S Constitution.

— Elaine Solberg, Shoreline

The good of the people

State Attorney General Rob McKenna, who has shown admirable commitment to consumer issues and who for years has been able to win support as a Republican in liberal King County, is not serving Washingtonians well in his promise to sue the federal government over its newly passed health-care bill.

As McKenna targets arguably the most controversial element of the bill (the individual mandate to purchase insurance), I fear McKenna isn’t being brave enough.

He should go after such horrid “socialist” institutions like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Veterans Affairs. He should stop all funding of our public schools, and he should work to privatize our fire departments. Ditto to the Department of Transportation.

Most of all, he should remind himself that his own party introduced an individual mandate when “HillaryCare” was being debated in the 1990s. Where was his passion for the good of the people then?

If McKenna believes his promised actions are truly championing the people, then this smart, well-spoken, effective public servant is every bit as delusional as the rest of the GOP.

— Paul West, Seattle

Looking for doers, not delayers

This is no time for the legal profession to look for unnecessary work. Any challenges should first be discussed by the appropriate parties. If agreement cannot be reached, then legal suit is of course an option.

This new [health-care] law did not just happen; it has been a work in progress for a considerable time. It confronts a problem that without action will become out of control if, in fact, that is not already the case. Walking away or unnecessary delay are no longer options that are worth considering.

The law is just a step in the process. Now comes the important part: We must actually implement it and refine it until it does the job that has been unattended to for centuries.

We the people will have our say in 2010, and we are not looking for delayers, we are looking for doers. May the healthy dialogue continue. May that be followed by actual progress.

I love it when politicians actually try to do something. It happens so rarely.

— Hugh Coleman, Kelso

McKenna’s constituents

To former state Attorney General Chris Gregoire: Have you been out of that office so long that you have lost your perspective?

The good people of this state once elected you to that office. When you held it, you recognized the need to protect Washington citizens’ legal and constitutional rights from any, and all violators, including the federal government.

Without arguing the unbelievably cruel and burdensome nature of the health-care bill as passed, will you really try to tell the voters that it is not the job of the attorney general of this state to protect us from all attacks? Do we need to include you in that list? How arrogant!

“He has, in my opinion, a duty to consult with me,” said Gregoire. His constituents are the only ones he has to answer to!

— Ron Highfill, Lacey

Where’s McKenna’s mandate?

It is outrageous that Washington’s attorney general is using our tax dollars to try to reverse the landmark health-care legislation Congress just passed.

Rob McKenna does not have a public mandate to do this. He is using his office to express a partisan, ideological viewpoint that is shared by all the Republicans in Congress who tried to obstruct the passage of health-care reform.

He should be enforcing the laws of Washington state and trying to protect its citizens, not undermining the prospect of coverage for the many thousands of people who are unable to get health insurance.

— Carole Glickfeld, Seattle

Proud of the AG

I just watched the evening TV report with Gov. Chris Gregoire undercutting Attorney General Rob McKenna for his plans to challenge the constitutionality of our latest federal handiwork, the health-care bill. The governor asked who McKenna represented? She asserted he didn’t represent her.

Well, I believe they both take an oath to stand up for our state constitution, which also stands in support of the federal Constitution. Our AG is also elected in his own right. I strongly denounce our governor for her acquiescence in simply accepting the federal health-care mandate.

Our Constitution separates us as a nation under the rule of law, rather than a people subservient to the whim of an emperor, or king, or governor. If there is a constitutional issue to be examined, I for one am proud of my attorney general for seeking to test this remarkable overreach of the federal government.

Long live the American Constitution and those who champion it. Let’s all seek to shorten the career of Gov. Gregoire and every political opportunist who fails to uphold our nation.

— Mark Sussman, Bellevue

Lone-wolf decision

Up until now, Rob McKenna was a Republican I would have possibly voted for in the next election, but no more. His lone-wolf decision to spend taxpayer money fighting the health-care bill has taken him out of consideration for whatever office he asks for.

If he doesn’t like the bill, fine. He can fight it on his own time and with his own political war chest. Is it possible to enjoin him from using taxpayer money?

— Denise R. Ottoson, Seattle

Shame on you, governor

In connection with the lawsuits questioning the constitutionality of the health-care bill, Gov. Chris Gregoire, referring to Attorney General Rob McKenna, is quoted as saying, “I don’t think he represents a million and a half Washingtonians who will be helped by this.”

In other words, never mind the Constitution, the end justifies the means!

Shame on you, governor. You don’t represent me.

— Henry Kroeger, Redmond

Directed by the machine

It is unfortunate and very troubling when our attorney general, Rob McKenna, takes his direction not from the people he is supposed to represent but, instead, from the national Republican machine. It is obvious that this is just another delaying tactic by the Republican Party to try and prevent the Obama administration from achieving this victory, whether it is good for U.S. citizens or not.

First they spread lies of death panels, then they try to convince veterans they will be forced to give up their health care and finally, after many more lies, they resort to this.

By going along with this vile tactic, McKenna has shown his true colors. It should be obvious to all that McKenna cares only for his political career — both here in the state of Washington as well as the other Washington in the future — and not a wit for the citizens of this state.

McKenna will never receive another vote from this Democrat.

— Robert Oberlander, Issaquah

There is still time for unity

Attorney General Rob McKenna can rest assured that his health insurance is not at risk as he announces his intention to join a lawsuit to overturn elements of the health-care legislation.

What is deeply distressing about the debate and the actions to which this issue has given way is that instead of our representatives defining and defending our common cause and shared destinies — they are holding these values hostage in exchange for re-election slogans. The quality of public discourse is bad enough, but what may be even worse are the intentions that underlie the communication: the intention to further fractionalize our nation; to set us against one another; to create discordance and disruption.

To McKenna: There is still time; time to be a force of unity — to let the will of the people stand long enough to be tested. And to speak on behalf of our common purpose as one great nation, “under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

— Jill Blair, Seattle

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