Letters to the editor: Feb. 7 - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letters to the editor: Feb. 7

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Posted: Saturday, February 7, 2009 8:10 pm | Updated: 1:31 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

We encourage readers to submit letters to the editor on issues of interest to East Valley residents. Submissions should be no longer than 300 words, factually accurate and original thoughts of the writer. Please be brief and include name, address, city and phone number for verification. Letters and call-in comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Submit your letter to the editor

We encourage readers to submit letters to the editor on issues of interest to East Valley residents. Submissions should be no longer than 300 words, factually accurate and original thoughts of the writer. Please be brief and include name, address, city and phone number for verification. Letters and call-in comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Submit your letter to the editor

HEALTH CARE

Keep KidsCare alive

I am a working single mother of a child with a genetic heart disease. Given that I do not have insurance through my employer, I rely on KidsCare so my son may receive the life-saving preventive treatment he needs to live his life.

Our story is like so many others which is why it is devastating to hear the Arizona Legislature is considering eliminating KidsCare, the state’s child health insurance program. To date more than 62,000 children in Arizona rely on this vital program which provides life-saving coverage.

My son is limited in his activities due to his illness but I choose to let him be active and live his life. I ask our elected officials to choose the same and make sure he has the coverage he needs so he can be an active 12-year-old boy.

SUSAN STEWART

GILBERT

Little advantage with Medicare Advantage Plans

Insurance companies who promote private Medicare Advantage Plans are flooding Valley residents with automatic calls and misleading mailings. They fear the new administration is going to cut their subsidies.

Currently our government spends 12.4 percent more on private Medicare Advantage Plans than it does for original Medicare. Taxpayers are paying more in subsidies to insurance companies, $8.5 billion in 2008, while the monthly Part-B that every person with Medicare pays, goes up because of the subsidies. These subsidies are draining the Medicare trust fund, pushing earlier the date when it is projected to become insolvent. Taxpayer dollars are being wasted on overpayments to private Medicare health plans.

Overpayments encourage insurance companies to enroll as many people into their highly profitable Advantage Plans as possible, with little regard for specific needs. Right now, agents earn more selling plans with a high limit and exclude key services, than for selling plans with a low, comprehensive, out-of-pocket limit.

The Government Accountability Office reports that between January and April of 2007, people in Medicare Advantage plans disenrolled at an average rate of 21 percent. Before someone you know buys one of these plans instead of good, old, original Medicare, do some serious research.

BOB SOMMER

TEMPE

PUBLIC TRANSIT

Is Mesa Link really worth it?

According to the Jan. 17 story “Mass transit catching on in the East Valley,” the report talked about the new “Link” bus service between the Sycamore light rail station and Superstition Springs Mall. It claimed about 950 people board the new bus line a day. The story notes these buses cost $770,000 each,

That’s about $3 million worth of buses to serve the new Link route.

The background information provided on the new system, in terms of rush hour vs. non-rush hour schedules (15 vs. 30 minutes), vehicle capacity (82 sitting and standing), and trip time (approximately 30 minutes to cover the 12-mile route), indicates that the buses, even with traffic-signal priority and half- to 1-mile spacing between stops, are averaging about 24 mph and only carrying about 25 percent of their capacity. That means that these “super” buses are running empty, or almost empty, nearly 75 percent of the time.

With 950 people paying $1.25 per boarding daily, if even that much with additional discounts for special needs passengers, means Link has revenues of only $1,187 per day. My humble estimates for costs for labor and benefits, fuel, insurance, and maintenance already far exceed that income. And, forget about recovering any capital costs.

Add to that the parallel regular bus service costs, down the same bus line, and we have a multi-million dollar duplicative bus transit system. And it will save commuters about 10 minutes in travel time.

Plus, don’t forget about the costs for the new Link “branded” bus stations. Doesn’t anyone understand the value of a taxpayer dollar these days?

JERRY SPELLMAN

MESA

MARICOPA COUNTY SUPERVISORS

Stop interfering with sheriff’s criminal investigation

In response to the criminals charges against one of its members, the Maricopa Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to create a procedure which hinders the investigation of its actions and its members. At the next opportunity, vote all of them out of office.

They should let the investigation proceed and be interested in its results, not creating barriers to its completion. Clearly, they all have something to hide.

THOMAS SCHUETT

QUEEN CREEK

DEMOCRATS

Speak well but fail test of honor

President Barack Obama can deliver a speech as well as anyone. His talent for reading words written by another is not astounding, because that is the one thing in which Democrats excel at.

Just in the last 20 years we’ve had Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry and now Obama. These guys can deliver a speech in such a convincing manner, you almost want to believe them.

They have a unique ability to make their scars appear to be beauty marks.

In the same period, the Republicans have given us George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain, none of whom are glib, and three of the four were decorated as veterans in the service of our country and unlike John Kerry, placed honor before glory.

The comparison of these two groups and their individual histories paint a pretty good picture of which party attracts what set of values. As I was breaking these thoughts down in my mind, I was reassured that even in spite of the Republican Party loss in this election, people will one day see the difference and “we’ll be back.”

LOWELL POPHAM

CHANDLER

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