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No justification for bishop’s meeting
On Oct. 18, it will be five years since over 1,100 St. Clare’s pensioners received the letter from the Board of St Clare’s Hospital.
Who thought that it was a good idea for Communications Director Kathy Barrans from the Albany Diocese to call an 82-year-old relative of one of our pensioners asking him to come talk to Bishop Scharffenberger?
This well-intentioned man has supported his own family through their loss of their full pensions. Why did the diocese feel it was necessary to specifically say that the bishop wanted to speak with this man?
When he contacted me, he pointed out that he had no information regarding our fight except that his family members lost so much money. He emphasized his age and didn’t want to misrepresent our group.
I couldn’t thank him enough nor admire him enough for his courage on our behalf. I volunteered to speak for him because as he said, “You know all of the facts so well.”
If we didn’t have to fight for all these years, maybe I wouldn’t be so well spoken!
Calling this gentleman at home and saying he was summoned to see the bishop of the diocese is nerve wracking to anyone. But for our wonderful supporter, it isn’t necessary and comes across as frightening.
Shame on the people from the diocesan office who thought this was a good idea. It was a terrible idea and I truly hope that it was simply not fully thought out.
The writer is chairman of the St. Clare’s Pension Recovery Alliance (SCPRA).
Parole bills aim at correcting injustice
The Gazette May 26 editorial, (“Heed victims, survivor on parole reform,”) mistakes the role of parole board.
It’s understandable that Jennifer Henderson and other victims cannot get over her loss. However, that is not the law nor the role of the parole board.
The board’s job is not to review the original sentence to see if more time should be added after the minimum time has passed, but to determine if a person is ready to be released.
While the victims and their survivors can voice their opposition to the board, no matter how hurt they feel, they do not choose the sentence.
The parole board has a quasi-judicial function as a deliberative body and not as a sampler of community support or opposition.
The law as originally written in the 1970s and through various changes since, charged the board with determining if a convicted person would be a current danger to society.
Those provisions were generally abandoned in the Pataki years, and people would be refused multiple times on the basis of the crime and not on their current risk factor.
The Elder Parole bill is a change. Those who have served 15 years or more, generally with a maximum sentence of life, is being proposed for both humane and financial reasons.
When I was working on parole reform, it was common for people to be denied parole 10 to 15 times solely on their crime.
The proposed laws are aimed at correcting injustices.
Help patients by reining in PBMs
I suffer from heart disease, which has been a catalyst for several other health issues in my life. Because of this, I rely on numerous medications to manage my symptoms and have a normal day-to-day routine.
Recently, I became eligible for Medicare, and I have noticed a significant shift in my out-of-pocket costs. There has been a lot of discussion that government price controls on prescription medications are a better way to lower out-of-pocket costs for patients on Medicare, but I am staunchly against it.
Instead of risking access to certain medications or the development of new treatments, I believe Congress should focus on targeting the industry that is usually responsible for higher out-of-pocket expenses, the Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs).
These insurance-run middlemen negotiate rebates and other discounts with drug manufacturers on prescription medicines. They are then supposed to pass along these savings to people like me when I pick up my order at the pharmacy. But because Congress has not passed useful policies, PBMs keep the discounts for themselves to pad their profits. This then leaves me with higher out-of-pocket costs.
Due to my condition, I will be dependent on medications for the rest of my life. I don’t want to have to deal with the selfish actions of PBMs and face additional financial burdens.
I urge our lawmakers from New York to stand up for patients like me and prioritize PBM reforms.
Be factual on views of Trump and GOP
I found it necessary to respond to recent letters in your paper, regarding the GOP, and
Trump in particular.
On May 16, Paul Sator from Gloversville (“Trump, GOP have normalized hatred,”) and Doreen Harris from Glenville (“Stand up against GOP’s extremists,”) expressed opinions and beliefs that require a rebuttal.
True, Trump and the GOP do have their shortcomings, and he in particular can be caustic. However, he’s not this amalgam of hideous ‘isms’ the left often believes.
For example, specific to Trump; that he’s anti-Semitic. Unlikely. His son-in-law and daughter Ivanka are Jewish. Trump, in support of Israel, moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in 2017.
Homophobic? Hardly. He’s indicated multiple times he’s fine with same-sex marriage.
Misogynistic? Doubtful. When he was just 31, he made the unheard-of move of hiring Barbara Res to oversee the construction of Trump Tower.
Racist? I think not. He provides, in perpetuity, free office space to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition.
Specific to Harris and the ‘GOP extremist’, the ones that are ‘against democracy.’
Last year, the state Legislature banned the use of ‘Independence’ or ‘Independent’ from a party name. The Democrats in the Legislature essentially rid themselves of a competing political party, the Independence Party.
I’ll conclude by saying that Democrats and the Democratic Party in New York and the nation have advanced many noble causes.
Yet on the same token, they occasionally need to take a self-assessment on some positions and beliefs, and understand their party has faults like the Republicans.
Immigrant plans raise questions
The state has housed migrants in hotels around the state. They’re in hotels in New York City that charge from $500 to $700 daily. They also have cell phones, medical care, drivers’ licenses and can vote in New York City elections.
Of course we’re told how the state is funding this, but isn’t it the taxpayers? How soon will they be allowed to collect Social Security?
Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to reside them in state colleges during the summer. What happens when the students are ready to return? Where will they go then? Perhaps she can make the colleges commuter colleges and let the migrants remain in the dorms. At least we’re not embarrassing them by making them live in city missions like our homeless citizens.
We welcome you with open arms and wallets.
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