The Republican healthcare plan, which President Donald Trump strongly supports, includes large tax cuts for very wealthy individuals. Yet it would potentially decimate the healthcare coverage of many millions of Americans, including millions of Trump supporters. For example, it would cut subsidies and raise premiums for many lower-income older people, especially in rural areas where Trump has great support, potentially leaving millions unable to afford health insurance. And big Medicaid cuts would likely cause many poorer Trump supporters to lose coverage.

Usually, when non-wealthy Republicans support tax cuts for the wealthy, they don’t seem to recognize how they themselves might ultimately be hurt by those reduced tax revenues. They often view it as cutting wasteful spending on freeloaders. But here, the linkage is clearer: Leaving those taxes in place and using that revenue to provide better coverage for more people, instead of providing big tax cuts for the wealthy, could help millions of Republican supporters who are not wealthy. And yet, ironically, most of those loyal supporters still seem to think that Trump and congressional Republicans are looking out for them.

David J. Roberts, the Loop

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GOP ducks and weaves in Russia probe

For a moment on Monday morning, I anticipated an actual bipartisan effort in the House investigation of Russia. After all, America is under attack by one of our fiercest foes. But after watching 90 minutes of the proceedings, I gave up and walked the dog knowing that a congressional investigation would never uncover the very real possibility of a Trump/Putin collaboration.

From the outset, Republicans were more concerned with the names of government leakers than Trump conspirators. They were obsessed with seeking vengeance on those who aided and abetted the “real” enemy — the Washington Post and the New York Times. On the other hand the Democrats were stymied in their attempt to connect the dots, from Roger Stone to Paul Manafort to Mike Flynn and ultimately to the Moscow hackers. James Comey, director of the FBI, and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, simply couldn’t, or wouldn’t, volunteer any specific details.

An independent committee is required to uncover the facts, connect the dots and recommend the immediate removal of anyone jeopardizing our democracy.

Bob Ory, Elgin

How charter schools can beat the odds

In today’s knowledge-based economy, a college education is necessary to get ahead.  That’s why it was troubling to read that many charter school graduates across the U.S. aren’t making the grade.  (“College degrees elude charter students,” March 15.)

As the largest charter high school operator in Chicago Public Schools, the Noble Network of Charter Schools puts great stock in getting our graduates into college. Last year 99 percent of our graduating seniors were accepted to college. But our work doesn’t stop there.

The most recent data show that 35 percent percent of Noble graduates who’ve had six years to graduate earn bachelor’s degrees, and that rate is rising every year.  This far exceeds the 15 percent rate for low-income, high minority urban schools, with which Noble identifies. Fully 98 percent percent of Noble students are minorities and 89 percent percent are low-income. And while we will not be satisfied until our students graduate at rates like their high-income and mostly white peers, we believe that our approach is working.

What is that approach?  First, we make obtaining a college degree an important goal for all of our students.  Second, during their high school years we provide many opportunities for our students to visit colleges, attend summer college programs, and otherwise make college a reality and an expectation. Third, dedicated college counselors ensure students are matching with the best colleges possible.

Fourth, and perhaps most important, we have staff members dedicated to coaching our high school graduates through the academic and personal challenges that might prevent their graduation from college. While this is perhaps the most challenging work of all, we are hard at work with partners at colleges and charter peers across the country to create the most successful approaches.

Matt Niksch
Chief College Officer
Noble Network of Charter Schools