Single-Payer Health Care In New York!
There is a bill that sits in the state Legislature that could be a boon to all of us — the New York Health Act.
As a self-employed person with some serious health issues in my family, buying insurance on my own is a great burden. Right now, neither private insurance nor the Affordable Care Act are really affordable.
As a social worker in private practice, I see my patients struggling with high co-pays, sometimes 80 to 90 percent of the office visits, necessitating less visits than they really need, and it just gets worse year by year.
Since I found out about the New York Health Act, I feel like hope is within reach. Apparently, it already has enough votes to pass in the state Assembly and is five votes short in the Senate. This bill would offer relief to businesses because they would not have to provide coverage; it would reduce property taxes significantly because counties would have their Medicaid mandate eliminated; people would be able to move to a new job without losing insurance; and there would be dental and mental health benefits for all.
All this would be affordable because it's more efficient administratively and because it will let the state bargain on health care and pharmaceutical costs.
This is a win, win, win.
I encourage readers to support this and especially to urge their state senators to support this. It could become a reality pretty quickly if we got a few more votes.
Gary Siegel, clinical social worker
Where's The Concern About Russian Meddling?
When the government prosecutors are in the process of investigating the Trump-Russia connections or the possibility of corruption in the Trump organization, President Donald Trump fires all the prosecutors. Now, he fires the head of the FBI who is in the process of investigating the possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Russian meddling in our election process is confirmed by not just one investigative group in our government, but by several. It isn't the FBI that the American people have no faith in; it is rapidly becoming the executive branch of our government that we have no faith in. Russian meddling in our election process is not a Republican or a Democratic problem. It is a nonpartisan issue. This strikes at the very core of our faith in our government and those we elect.
I cannot believe the Republican Party is going to continue to put party above the good of the American people. What will be the "red line" that even the most ardent Republican-Freedom Caucus partisan will refuse to cross when it comes to finally waking up to the crimes this president is committing?
The emoluments clause, the nepotism, the outright destruction of our air, water and wildlife, the destabilization of our health care system, the lies and the problems are worse than any other president in our history. And is there not one Republican who is brave enough to stand up and say "Enough!"?
Where is U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, on all of this?
Is having Trump in the White House so important to the Republicans that they are willing to allow a constitutional crisis to cripple us?
What have we come, to and who will protect our system of government if we don't stand and ask more of those who are elected to represent us?
Rachele E. Levy
Government Verbiage Is Highly Misleading
Doublespeak is when somebody says that something good is really bad or somebody says that something bad is really good. One example is the use of the term "payroll tax." "Payroll tax" appears on pay stubs as FICA, Federal Insurance Contribution Act. It is what we and our employers contribute to our Social Security and Medicare. It's an insurance premium, not a tax.
Since both Social Security and Medicare are expensive and if contributions are cut, we must engage in "entitlement reform," benefit cuts. We are entitled because we paid for them, not just because we are old or sick. If you look carefully at "tax reform," it means that the richer you are, the less in taxes you'll have to pay. Increasing the wealth of rich individuals and corporations has never created more jobs.
On the other end a single mother with two children would be taxed as a single person, not as the head of a family, thus substantially increasing her taxes. Eliminate the deductions we get for state, town and county taxes and sales taxes and we see that the lower end of the scale gets socked— again.
Finally, there's "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act. The proposed "replacement" would again enable the very wealthy to keep yet more of their wealth while, and as one leading physician organization put it, would create an additional 43,000 deaths per year. There is no doubt that the ACA needs "revision, repair and refinement." So let's do that!
Horse Racing Is A Cruel Business
Every year, more than 150 helpless and innocent racehorses die grotesque and painful deaths at New York tracks. The unrelenting greed and cruelty of the multibillion-dollar horse racing industry causes unspeakable suffering to thousands of horses.
Horses enjoy eating, socializing and sleeping. They run at top speeds to escape danger and only race on the track because they are terrorized, whipped, kicked and yelled at by jockeys and screaming crowds. They do not run because they have "the heart of a champion" or a "desire to win"; they run out of naked fear.
Criminal elements in the racing "game" have smashed legs with crowbars to collect insurance money on crippled horses, and drugged and killed horses to fix races.
Gamblers love the thrills; governments enjoy the tax revenues; breeders and owners get rich.
The innocent animals suffer years of cruelty, abuse and intimidation. Even the highly prized horses (like Ruffian, Barbaro and Eight Belles) die agonizing and gruesome deaths on the track. The vast majority of racehorses end up injured; retirement is a terrifying truck ride to the slaughterhouse and violent death on the bloody slaughterhouse floor.
The horses have no voice and they are completely helpless. Horse racing is not "the sport of kings" — it is a cruel and ugly business. Readers should not go to the track, bet on the races or believe the nonsense about how well these valuable animals are treated. The brutality will only end if we take action to make it end.
Hope SPRINGS Eternal
This weekend, I was trying to avoid "late payments" when my Apple froze and said "call this number." I did, then while my hysteria was still in place, I also allowed the "free Apple help" person go into my computer. About 1 minute after that I woke up and hung up. But not soon enough, so I tried calling Tech Smith on Front Street. The answering machine said I should call next Monday. So, I went to the TV for information about the French election and my now favorite American Heroine: Sally Yates. The weekend showed me some longtime missing optimism, which made me wonder if I should occasionally spend some "off the computer time."
However, by Monday morning, I called Tech Smith again and got my favorite techie Brian on the phone. I told him I was desperate and he said if I come in within 2 hours he could help me. Although Brian was my favorite Apple Techie, he was hard to reach in the past, so putting that together with the amazing French election win, and then the session with Sally Yates, I am beginning to find some hope. Brian himself is now available on certain days and Sally Yates is the female American Heroine that I have envisioned for decades. She was fearless, unlike the majority of the Republican "representatives," and smarter than all of them put together.
When facing Ted Cruz, she corrected his misinformation so brilliantly that it never even seemed as if she was correcting him at all. She was just explaining the rules. She shows no anger or fear. I now see a new beginning for our country and that is the acceptance of women as equal (or even better) than many of the representatives that we have. My suggestion to our present representatives is to spend a little time reading the Constitution and the laws that are now in place. Then, remember that Ronald Reagan, JFK, FDR and George Washington were all great at speeches. If Hillary had taken a course in public speaking, she probably would have won even the electorate as well as the election.
To sum up, let's get out this spring and make sure that we make our voices heard and let countries like France and Germany know that we're not letting our precious democracy go.