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Cough syrup is not a right
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Dear Editor,
In his July 26 Public Forum on the Tribune opinion page, Sen. Pat Roberts criticized the health care reform law for not allowing over-the-counter (OTC) medications like cough syrup to be purchased with medical savings accounts.
He stated that it “unnecessarily burdens doctors, and directs people to potentially more costly, less convenient and more time-consuming alternatives.”
He declared that this “takes away our right to spend our money as we see fit.”
He announced his introduction of a bill that would allow OTC medications to be purchased with medical savings accounts. 
A fair and speedy, public trial is a right. It was established by the sixth amendment to the Constitution. Freedom of religion is a right. It was established by the first amendment. Buying cough syrup with a medical savings account is not a right; it is a tax deduction.
We can still use our money to buy all of the cough syrup we need. We just cannot pay for it with tax-free money from a medical savings account.
The health care reform law removed OTC medications from medical savings accounts for a reason.
Buying cough syrup with tax-free money was just another variation of the $1.1 trillion/year of tax earmarks that exist in our tax code.
The OTC medications provision was removed because it was making our $14 trillion federal debt problem worse.
Sen. Roberts elevates a tax earmark to the status of legal right, criticizes a very reasonable effort to control deficit spending and proposes legislation to make the federal debt problem worse when Congress is trying to solve the federal debt problem.
I ask voters to contact Sen. Roberts and our other representatives in Congress and urge them to not support this proposed legislation.
John Sturn,