New York

Letters to the Editor

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Hope next president is more like Bush 41
Amidst the beautiful, heartfelt accolades for George H.W. Bush since his death, it’s difficult not to compare him with the current occupant of the Oval Office. The differences are staggering. Bush was a Yale-educated, wealthy, honest and compassionate family man. He never bragged about himself or his background. In contrast, every time Trump opens his mouth, he spews lies, boasts or ugly name calling.
Bush was an honored veteran of World War II who respected and never criticized the military. His staff was competently selected — no swamp creatures. He respected them and they respected him.                                                                                                                                             He also respected the media — no accusations of fake news or “enemies-of-the-people” charges.
Trump has been and continues to be a disaster. I hope the next president of the United States will have the intelligence and principles of George H.W. Bush. We deserve better.
Jane Reisenger

Confusion shows system’s complexity
When I turned 65, becoming eligible for Medicare B, my wife was 62. We continued my employer-sponsored group insurance, declining Medicare B.
There’s a penalty for declining Medicare B when turning 65 (10 percent per year). We consulted with the Medicare hotline and government personnel office, and we were assured if we continued credible insurance from a large group plan, there would be no penalty.  
My wife is turning 65; time to pore through the many complicated insurance options. We consulted with a veteran insurance agent, who assured us the penalty would be waived. We compared a multitude of plans, all with different coverages. It was very confusing!
I applied for Medicare B, including a form proving credible insurance coverage. Shockingly, my application was rejected, as I was told I needed to be employed with continued credible insurance to have the penalty waived. We called the Medicare office, explained our situation, and initially were told the penalty should be waived. It wasn’t until we pressed the subject that the operator checked further and we received accurate information.  You must be employed to have the penalty waived. In order to have Medicare B, I have to pay 30 percent more every month for the rest of my life.
Bottom line: The system is too complex if multiple people working with it don’t know the law and if even after multiple inquiries you cannot be assured the information you are receiving is accurate. Memo to legislators: Please simplify the system. There has to be a better way.
Michael Tamer

Public voted on One County, One Book
In response to Peg Reich’s Dec. 5 letter, the Schenectady County Public Library, along with the Friends of the Library, invite all community members to participate in the programs that are currently being planned for early 2019, centered around the One County, One Book (OCOB) selection, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
A book becomes the OCOB title when the community votes it as such. Yes, all four of the contending books were worthy of the distinction, but “Between the World and Me” received the most votes from the community during an almost-two-month voting period. Hence, this book will be the focus of forthcoming community events and discussions. We encourage community members to attend and join the conversation.
Cheryl Cufari
Christine Witkowski
The writers are SCPL One County One Book co-chairs.

Health Insurance Tax must be repealed
Unless Congress acts quickly to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Tax (HIT), the cost of care for Medicare Advantage enrollees could rise dramatically in 2020.
The HIT is a multi-billion-dollar tax on health insurance premiums that would raise annual costs for Medicare Advantage enrollees (a third of the total Medicare population) by an average of $241 annually. Congress suspended the HIT in 2017 and 2019 to prevent premium increases, but the tax will come back in 2020 unless our legislators act now. More than half of Medicare Advantage enrollees live on less than $30,000 annually and cannot afford to see their premiums rise by hundreds of dollars each year. Seniors worked hard and paid into Medicare for decades. It’s time for Congress to suspend the HIT and maintain the promise of quality, affordable Medicare.
Robert Bradbury

Center focuses on recovery from abuse
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), dependence on alcohol and drugs is our most serious national public health problem.
Millions of Americans misuse or are dependent on alcohol or drugs. Most of them have families who suffer the consequences, often serious, of living with this illness. If there is alcohol or drug dependence in your family, remember you are not alone.
Drug or alcohol dependence disorders are medical conditions that can be effectively treated. Millions of Americans and their families are in healthy recovery from this disease.
HFM Prevention Council operates a Recovery Community and Outreach Center to help prevent relapse and sustain long-term recovery.
The center facilitates recovery of individuals and their families by providing a meeting location, support groups, substance-free social functions, prevention, and resource/referral center for services in the area. The center also has a family support navigator. The navigator utilizes his/her own family addiction and recovery expertise to engage with families who have loved ones with a substance use disorder. The center focuses on building the recovery community, and providing a positive outlook for individuals seeking help with addiction and throughout the recovery process.
For information about family services call 518-705-4626 or email [email protected]
David Fitz Simons

Major natural event will be catastrophic
Natural Black Swan events are so rare and unpredictable that they don’t factor into decision making. The New Madrid Zone was the site of two magnitude 8 earthquakes in the 1800s. Should the New Madrid Zone shed another magnitude 8 earthquake, it would affect millions of Americans.
The Cascadia Subduction Zone is building towards another magnitude 9 earthquake. The resulting tsunami would devastate coastal regions from Washington to California, and ground motion could devastate Seattle. The San Andreas fault has not shed a magnitude 8 earthquake in over 100 years. It is locked and loaded.
While we like all the geysers in Yellowstone, they are an ominous harbinger. Yellowstone erupts like clockwork every 600,000 years. The last major eruption took place 660,000 years ago when Yellowstone erupted with 2,000 times the amount of lava and ash as Mount St. Helens. Right now, Yellowstone is rising rapidly and will eventually collapse on itself. Experts estimate if Yellowstone erupts, some 90,000 Americans would die within hours and one third of the continental U.S. would be uninhabitable. The last Black Swan event is the collapse of volcanoes like those in Hawaii or in the Azores. It’s estimated that if a volcano in the Azores collapses, it could cause a tsunami 100 feet tall by the time it reaches New York City.
Richard Moody Jr.


Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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