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Everybody's Column

>Spitzer right to focus on primary health care

Gov. Eliot Spitzer hit the nail right on the head in his State of the State address when he pledged to expand primary and preventive care measures to cut health care costs and improve health outcomes.

Numerous studies -- including one that found 80 percent of emergency-room visits in New York State are unnecessary or made inappropriately -- back up his claim that "seeing a primary care doctor costs far less than providing charity care for the same patient in an emergency room and leads to far better care."

Spitzer's remarks make clear his support of the findings of the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, a panel of health care experts that stated, "Effective reform and investment in primary care is essential to reversing long-term trends affecting health care costs, access and quality, especially for underserved populations."

Now Spitzer and the Legislature must put the resources behind what is a win-win for patients, providers and the people of the state. With billions of federal dollars now available through HEAL-NY and F-SHRP, we have a rare opportunity to fully fund a primary and preventive care infrastructure that will reduce costs, improve health outcomes and reduce disparities that have plagued our system for decades.

Thomas Rosenthal, M.D.
Department of Family Medicine
University at Buffalo


>Stations seem to forget airwaves belong to people

I am writing in regard to Alan Pergament's article on the tug of war between WUTV, WNYO and Time Warner. In all of this, I fail to see anything regarding these stations' most valuable asset. It's not their studios, transmitters or antennas. It's their licenses -- granted by our government for a finite period of time with the understanding that they will operate in "the public's interest, convenience and necessity."

The airwaves belong to the people of the United States, but many station owners don't want to hear this. If these stations are given payment, I'm sure that our cable company will pass the expense along to us. The stations will argue that they are a free, over-the-air service, but I am sure that advertisers pass along the cost of advertising on these stations.

Cable has given these stations parity over their former situation as UHF stations, which required a separate antenna and lots more power to reach the same number of people as a VHF station like WIVB.

John Malcolm
Professor Emeritus, Communications

Fredonia State College


>Furor over cloned food is simply a scare tactic

I don't think the consumer has to worry about cloned meat anytime soon. Just because a benign cell is cloned, that doesn't mean that, presto, you have a full-grown cow! The embryo would have to mature in a natural cow the full length of time, just as a sired calf would. Some registered dairies are already using surrogate mothers to deliver "special calves" from superior parents. These expensive progeny are not likely to appear in grocery cases as ground beef.

Cloning is still in the experimental stage and I see no advantage in the near future for major beef production. This is probably just another scare tactic to make people wary of beef and meat in general.

Kay Dunn


>How many more must die before we can leave Iraq?

At this point in the Iraq War, chaos is the order of the day, and has been for two years. There is no way anything near peace can or will be secured. More than 3,700 civilians died in October alone, and 3,019 Americans have now given their lives. So the question must be asked: How many years and how many American lives must be lost before facing reality?

Iraq cannot and never will be governed like the United States. We were in Vietnam 10 years and lost 58,000 Americans. Will this be enough, or do these politicians safe at home need more? How dare anyone spew political party rants while young Americans die! Something tells me most of those killed would have been happy to come home from a war we had no business entering in the first place. Asking one to give his life for his country is the price of freedom, but it should not be asked for under false colors.

Joseph P. Emerling


>Holt should do us all a favor and step down

I read with dismay the Jan. 9 News story, "Holt pleads guilty to tax violations." Erie County is in such a mess with people like Legislator George Holt in government. Where does he get off saying he will remain in office? He should hide his head. How could he file a false tax report of $19,633.16? Why must he apologize from a prepared statement? Can't he do it on his own?

Politicians just show us how corrupt they are more and more everyday. Holt says it was an oversight -- yeah, right! But he got caught. He should resign. The government should go after him and set an example for our young people. Now I know why we have a control board. Be a real man, Holt, step down. I know I would; I couldn't face my family.

Tommy Ford


>Both Kopp, Slepian have extinguished life

As an individual who respects the sanctity of human life from the point of conception, I am not in agreement with the widespread attitude regarding abortion. It is my opinion that, with the exception of a small percentage of nonconsenting and/or medical circumstances, this procedure is predominantly resorted to as a method of birth control. I would also emphasize that I do not condone taking the life of an abortion provider.

With that stated, I present an observation concerning James Kopp and Dr. Barnett Slepian. The similarity is that both are guilty of extinguishing life. The difference is that Kopp killed one, while Slepian killed many. That is not offered in defense of Kopp. In fact, to emphasize the value I put on human life, I think Kopp's deed requires the death penalty.

Edward D. Caggiano
Town of Tonawanda


>Hamburg Town Board continues to fight change

It's nice to see the Hamburg Town Board decide to abolish the position of Deputy Supervisor after Supervisor Steven Walters selected Tom Best for the position. Where does it say that the supervisor has to select a councilman for this position? Especially when the same council shot down his budget and adopted its own? All Walters wanted was to have someone who shares his vision for Hamburg. It's good to see the councilmen are looking out for the Town of Hamburg and not themselves.

Scott Horucy

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