However flawed, Obamacare still beats status quo
However flawed, Obamacare still beats status quo
One of your readers sent in a letter [Oct. 28 Gazette] suggesting that problems encountered with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act prove that the government is incapable of managing health care.
First, I do not feel the government was prepared to deliver the services they were expected to introduce, and there is no good excuse for that. Fix it, and fix it fast. However, we have to do something decisive to fix our health care system, and any changes will be complex and difficult to make. But rather than giving up and going back to what we already have is ridiculously shortsighted.
According to a Bloomberg analysis, the United States is ranked 46th in the world in the quality/efficiency of health care, and we spend more for this care than anyone in the world. The World Health Organization ranks the United States 37th in the world for the quality of delivered health care — just behind Costa Rica. Are we satisfied with that?
The present system, which is run by insurance and managed care companies, has effectively destroyed health care in this country. To use the logic of the writer who felt government obviously can’t fix health care, I would argue it is clear that the so-called business solutions have failed so badly they should not be trusted with something as important as health care.
While I do not advocate socializing health care, I do think that a cooperative blend of business and government will give us more options, and the two different approaches can challenge each other to provide better care and services.
It is time for the Republicans to quit shooting down anything that the president wants and start getting serious about finding solutions.
The writer is a psychologist in private practice.
King’s concession on math test no big deal
Apparently The Daily Gazette is trying desperately to spin Commissioner John King Jr. back into some positive light with its Oct. 26 front-page article, State to cut back on school testing.”
I’d like to explain exactly what Commissioner King is proposing and make the public aware there is no real relief in sight. The commissioner is proposing to eliminate the eighth grade math assessment only for those kids who are in eighth grade and take ninth grade algebra.
Currently, those kids have to take both tests, even though they are not taking eighth-grade math. This has been something people have been asking for relief from since the beginning of testing. Now, let me explain why this is not really a reduction. Since the ninth-grade algebra students are the guinea pigs for alignment with Common Core this year, they may take both the old Regents under the old standards and the new Regents aligned with Common Core.
Under the current rules they would take the eighth-grade math assessment in addition to these, causing an actual increase to three math exams this year. So if King is eliminating the eighth-grade math exam, they may still take two math exams.
One other thing the [Associated Press] story points out is that the number of tests has remained relatively constant over the past 10 years. But it fails to point out that testing time has increased. The media also needs to stop pacifying the public and do their homework.
If Common Core remains in New York, the state will be adopting PARCC [Partnership for the Assessment of College and Careers], which is a national testing consortium. PARCC is slated to be adopted for the 2014-2015 school year. PARCC will increase overall testing time and cost.
The writer is a member of the BH-BL and Capital District Parents Concerned Over Common Core.
Cuomo a hypocrite on subject of hydrofracking
While speaking in New Baltimore on Sept. 23 about the state Legislature’s refusal to provide documents about their sources of outside income to his appointed Moreland Commission, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “This effort is all about restoring the trust, and restoring people’s faith in government, and I think the more information the better, especially when there are real questions that people have been asking.”
On Oct. 24, he said it “is in the best interest of the Legislature to have the public trust ... perception becomes reality ... government can’t function without trust.”
Contrast this with his hydrofracking policies. Since before he became governor, the public has demonstrated a considerable interest and growing opposition to high-pressure horizontal hydrofracking, commonly called fracking.
Late last year, the DEC [Department of Environmental Conservation] and state Health Department hired three consultants to conduct a fracking health review. No report, nor any information about it, has been issued. Zilch. It is a secretive process.
The state Health Department has many competent scientists and is fully capable of reviewing hydrofracking’s potential health impacts. I think the governor chose outside contractors to keep the health-impact analysis fully concealed, not subject to the Freedom of Information Law.
Three years ago when he ran for governor, Cuomo promised transparent government. Both the public and science would benefit from a fully transparent state review of fracking.
Schenecta-huh? At least say the name right
The past two evenings, I received phone calls from operators claiming to represent the SCDC [Schenectady County Democratic Committee]. When I asked what SCDC stood for, neither operator was able to pronounce Schenectady.
As a voter, I would like to say if you want my vote, you better make sure your representative can pronounce the name of the city or county I pay my taxes to.
If you want me to vote for you, you need to work as hard as I do! And if you’re hiring companies to represent you, you might want to make sure they are working that hard also.
A sideline to that, maybe next time you could hire local.
Nothing affordable about new health plan
Today [Oct. 30] I received that dreaded letter from CDPHP [Capital District Physicians Health Plan] saying that my health insurance plan could not be renewed due to the Affordable Care Act.
As a sole proprietor, I have to buy coverage as an individual. To get a plan through CDPHP with similar coverage, it is going to be more than $400 more a month (nearly $1,000 a month for just my wife and me), and the deductible is $2,000 more per year. This equates to greater than a 40 percent increase!
My current plan is by no means gold-plated; just enough so I wouldn’t go bankrupt. But with these rate increases, I might actually go bankrupt.
I would like to thank Rep. Paul Tonko and President Obama for this wonderful “affordable care.” Sarcasm intended!
Getting nowhere fast in downtown Sch’dy
It seems like an unusual spike is occurring in road construction in downtown Schenectady.
No matter which road I try — Erie Boulevard, State Street, I-890, Western Gateway bridge or Washington Avenue — there are lines of cars backed up in traffic, waiting to get through. And these drivers seek alternative routes, causing them to be overcrowded.
Hopefully these projects will be completed before the snow falls, or it will be an interesting winter trying to navigate downtown Schenectady.
The Gazette wants your opinions on public issues.
There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.
All letters are subject to editing for length, style and fairness, and we will run no more than one letter per month from the same writer.
Please include your signature, address and day phone for verification.
For information on how to send, see bottom of this page.
For more letters, visit our Web site: www.dailygazette.com.