Feral cat facts

Feral cats have lived as part of the wildlife, along with raccoons and squirrels, for eons. They help reduce rat and mice infestations and are often adopted for just that reason.

The vacuum effect is a proven phenomenon whereby new cats simply move in to take the place of feral cats that are removed from a location. Relocating feral cats does not help reduce their population in a particular location.

The only proven method for reducing a feral cat population is trap, neuter and release. The cat is vaccinated, spayed or neutered and then returned to the same location. TNRed cats are often cared for by a volunteer colony caregiver.

If food is withheld, as a means to “make the cat go away,” the cat will simply slowly starve to death.

Killing feral cats is inhumane, immoral and unethical. By implementing TNR programs, we can allow feral cats to continue to be part of our wildlife, while reducing their population.

For more information, contact Alley Cat Allies online.

Carol Herard

Delhi Road

North Charleston

Say what?

Wimperialism: (noun) The imperialistic closing down of a city because the temperature drops to the teens, by wimpotomists in a state of acute wimpomania, driven by psycho-wimpological wimpdom.

George J. Gatgounis

Broad Street

Charleston

Affordable help

As an insurance agent in South Carolina, I would like to share my experience with the Affordable Care Act.

My main goal as an agent is to help meet a need. In years past, I have had to turn people away due to their pre-existing conditions because I was not able to offer health insurance through any of my carriers (two of the largest in South Carolina). So when the new ACA plans came out, I was one of the minority excited about the new laws.

Over the last several months, I have helped process numerous applications for clients who wanted to find out just what these plans would cost them. The 10 essential benefits now required by law are to HELP the American people. Among many are:

• No pre-existing condition limitations or exclusions.

• Maternity (not previously offered on individual plans).

• Preventative benefits.

I no longer have to feel helpless for the 63-year-old whose husband is retired and eligible for Medicare but who is left without health coverage because she isn’t 65 yet. I can offer coverage to the 42-year-old battling lung cancer who needs insurance to help pay for treatments. And now I can offer a plan to a woman who wants desperately to have children but doesn’t have access to maternity benefits.

Although in the beginning the website was almost nonexistent, over time it did work much more smoothly (for me, early December). I also see that because South Carolina did not expand the Medicaid eligibility, many individuals who fall below the federal poverty level (FPL), are too poor to qualify for a subsidy but too rich to qualify for Medicaid. Imagine making $9,000 a year and falling into a gap that doesn’t give you any assistance from the state or the federal government to be able to afford a plan. However, according to their determination from Healthcare.gov, they are not required to pay a penalty for not having health insurance because of their income and because the state of South Carolina declined to expand healthy connections to cover individuals in their situation.

South Carolina needs to expand Medicaid for those individuals who make less than $11,490 per year or allow the subsidy or premium tax credit to be available.

So from an insurance agent’s perspective, I think within a few years, if they continue to improve and resolve issues for individuals negatively impacted by some of the current guidelines, it will prove to be a positive impact on the country in the long run.

DEBBIE BISHOP-PHILLIPS

S.C. Insurance Agent

Pine Street, West

Hampton

Tree study

Driving to Columbia all the time, I couldn’t understand the S.C. Highway Department wanting to cut all the trees down, so when I went to Columbia for Christmas, I studied the 19 miles where they want to remove them. It was strange that the only memorial cross I saw was where there are no trees. A clear-cut median didn’t prevent that death.

What that 19 miles needs is a hair cut, cut the trees back about 25 feet and put in wider shoulders. Problem solved. And we won’t increase the boredom of endless ditches with ugly cables running through them.

T.E. Thornhill

Fairway Drive

Charleston

Right to bear arms

I support Gov. Nikki Haley and every woman’s Second Amendment right to have guns. This state has one of the worst records for domestic violence, rape, harassment, stalking and the failure of the courts to ensure women’s safety from career perverts and violent offenders. Women do, in fact, need protection.

Additionally, tons of talentless noise spewing from the entertainment industry promotes violence and degradation of women.

Lyrics, artwork, performances by so-called entertainers are disgusting. Women owning and learning how to use guns properly should not be debated but embraced.

Wally Reddington, Jr.

MSgt., U.S. Air Force

(Retired)

Durrell Court

Goose Creek

Unfair accusation

The author of a Dec. 27 letter to the editor, a physician of more than 40 years, accuses The Post and Courier of being unfair regarding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). He believes it will provide insurance for the uninsured (over 30 million), improve health care, save money and promote competition among insurance companies. He ends by challenging the editor for a “viable alternative.”

Obamacare doesn’t enhance competition. It severely suppresses competition while granting immense power to the federal government.

Hampered by unrealistic assumptions (Medicare cuts, etc.), the Congressional Budget Office projects a slight deficit reduction. The Treasury Department, however, has declared that health care spending is “unsustainable,” and Medicare actuaries have announced that Obamacare will “increase spending.”

Millions of people are losing their insurance. They’re being forced to buy insurance they don’t want or can’t afford. The new plans have disappearing doctors, missing hospitals, shocking premiums and unbelievable deductibles. With marginal gains, the CBO projects 31 million people will still be without insurance by 2023.

Obamacare is equivalent to putting the Commerce Department is charge of Apple computers.

Does anyone think the government can produce quality computers at affordable prices? It’s true our health care system is dysfunctional, but a government takeover is not a solution.

The present system is not market- or consumer-driven. Hardly anyone knows what anything costs; prices are driven by Medicare and insurance companies while the health care and insurance industries are strongly protected from competition. Obamacare will only make matters worse.

As in the computer industry, we need vigorous competition and transparent prices. Prices should be determined by patient-doctor competition, not by insurance companies.

Meanwhile, we should transition to an individual-based health care system where insurance is portable across states, providers and jobs. Tax breaks could be provided as necessary.

Finally, health savings accounts would provide protection against large unforeseen expenditures while placing the individual in control of costs. Last, but not least, we need tort reform.

Success will be obvious when hospitals advertise their prices, patients and doctors prefer cash transactions, and insurance is used almost exclusively for catastrophic events.

Bill Bissette

Short Street

Charleston

Our responsibility

The author of a Jan. 5 letter titled “Caring for poor” sought responses from Christians regarding the Affordable Care Act and how it relates to the Gospel of Matthew in Chapters 5 and 25.

I’m a Christian and have worked for non-profits and for government and have served as a missionary. Here is my take. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus appeals to individuals in the crowd — not government.

Chapter 25, the final judgment, states that all the “nations” will be gathered before Him and He will separate the “people one from another.” When Jesus says things like, “For I was hungry and you gave me food,” He is talking to people as individuals.

One of my government projects involved over $700 million in contracts with non-profit human service providers. Why did these contracts exist? Because the state government I worked for recognized that non-profits and charities could provide human services better and more cost efficiently.

As a Christian, I believe it is my responsibility to care for those less fortunate with my time and resources.

If I expect the government to do it for me, then I will miss out on the meaning of the Gospel. I have been blessed to be a blessing. On Judgment Day, I won’t say, “Hey Jesus, I paid my taxes. Am I in?”

Maraide Sullivan

Heads Pointe Court

Johns Island

Suicide deaths

Contrary to popular belief, suicide is not always the result of longstanding issues but may be precipitated by issues of the moment.

In a recent study published by the Harvard Health magazine, 86 percent of a group who survived suicide attempts, had decided in less than the eight hours prior to the attempt, to commit suicide.

This study shows that suicide rates for men in states with the most gun ownership are more than 3.7 times suicide rates in states with the least gun ownership. In women, suicides are 7.9 times more likely.

Also, 85 percent of suicides by firearms are fatal. Three percent of those attempting suicide with a drug overdose are fatal. There is rarely a second chance for suicide with a firearm.

The public health message in this study is not pro-gun or anti-gun but pro-data. In this study there were actually fewer gun owners who attempted suicide than non-owners. And nine out of 10 who survive an attempt do not go on to die by suicide.

In some states, gun shop owners, police, mental health and public health practitioners have joined to create a project to address suicide prevention.

For example, gun shop owners may encourage customers to get training before buying a gun, thus buying time for a crisis to pass. Can South Carolina join the effort to answer the cry for help?

Barbara Rivell

Lake Hunter Circle

Mount Pleasant

Coyote kill

The recent column by Brian Hicks concerning the coyote problem on Sullivan’s Island covered it perfectly, except for one thing. What would the island authorities do with a pile of dead animals?

Will animal control assume the burden of cremating these animals, or will they dig a mass pit in the pristine dunes?

We are often on Sullivan’s with our small dog and have never even considered a coyote attack.

While I understand residents’ concerns, there has to be a better way than shooting them. That solution just turns my stomach.

Kay Chandler

Cove Bay Lane

Mount Pleasant