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Letter: Getting help when we need it

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A recent letter writer stated that we don't want a society where many people rely solely on others for their support, rather than working to provide for themselves.

We all need to be as self reliant as possible yet we all are part of a society where we benefit from governmental support through our taxes - a strong military, good roads, communications, electricity and other sources of power, education, environmental protection, police and fire fighters, healthcare etc. The Preamble of the Constitution says one of the functions of government is to promote the general welfare - not providing full cradle to grave support - but promoting a society where all can succeed. None of us is truly self-made.

My father died in an Army Air Force plane crash before I was born and my mother received payments from the federal government for me until I was 18. My stepfather was a financially strapped farmer in Nebraska and it would have been extremely difficult for me to go to college and med school were it not for the government money that I received. I'm grateful for that governmental assistance and I'm sure I have paid it back many times over through my taxes.

This is also one of the goals of the Affordable Care Act - ensuring that those who currently believe they don't need health insurance but who, if they incur huge medical bills for accidents or disease, draw on the increasing medical insurance premiums of others. They will be now required to have their own insurance, with assistance if necessary. Self-reliance is what the ACA is aiming for while recognizing that we have a duty to help those who truly cannot participate by expanding Medicaid. It is another example of a society where we are expected to work for our livelihoods but where we can get help when we need it.

Maurice Spangler, MD

Park Rapids

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