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Everybody's column

Rising premiums will leave many without health coverage

My wife and I have been enrolled in Healthy New York since October 2005. We have a $20 medical co-pay and, depending on the type of drug, anywhere from a $10 to $20 co-pay. This plan does not allow you to fill a prescription for more than 30 days at a time.

At the start of our enrollment, the monthly premium was $272. Effective Jan. 1, this coverage will cost us $376 per month -- for only two adults and no children. The prescription drug portion of this coverage will be approximately $72 per month. Because this increase is beyond what we can afford, we sought to drop the drug coverage portion to reduce our monthly premium to $302. We were told that this could not be done until our next recertification, which will not be until Oct. 1, 2007. So, we are faced with having to cancel our entire medical and drug coverage or continue paying the full premium for the next nine months.

While this program is a step in the right direction for those who pay for their own health care coverage, these staggering increases will throw many thousands more into the pool of 47 million Americans without insurance. In the wealthiest, most powerful nation on earth, no one should have to choose between going to the doctor or paying the rent.

Edward McKee

East Amherst

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Bruno finally admits he has a part-time job

I wasn't sure this day would come, but after waiting several years, it has. I finally agree with something State Sen. Joseph Bruno has said. In the Dec. 20 News article about the inquiry into his outside businesses, Bruno said he needs the extra income because his legislative job is a part-time one. I'm sure that almost everyone outside of politics fully agrees.

My question is: Why is he being paid more than $130,000 for a part-time job? This from a man who blocks all attempts to reform at every stage. I know many people who work one or even two full-time jobs who don't make nearly that much money. Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer has a full plate of issues to deal with next year, but I sure hope that the number of legislators and their pay for their part-time jobs will be high on his list.

Bill Jones

Niagara Falls

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Keep facade of Aud, raze rest of building

The preservationists want to keep the Aud as is and have Bass Pro remodel it. Bass Pro says too much cleanup would be needed and that it is not cost-effective. Why not keep the facade and tear down the rest of the building like they did with the new medical building downtown? That way, the preservationists are happy by keeping the history of Buffalo alive, and Bass Pro gets the new building it is seeking. It just makes sense.

James J. Trzaska

West Seneca

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President is in need of a reality check

President Bush has chosen to fiddle while Iraq burns. How many thousands more will die while he stubbornly clings to his misguided belief in "victory"?

It is increasingly obvious that the only way to unite Iraq is by means of either Saddam-style terrorism or a policy of separation of cultures. What is wrong with a federal republic like, say, the United States of Iraq? The cultures of the Shia, Sunni and Kurds could surely be persuaded to a truce (albeit uneasy) with the acquiescence of the neighboring Arab, Turkish and Iranian states.

Perhaps then the real cause of terrorism in the world, the civil war between the Israelis and Palestinians, could become the focus of attention once again. If the Semites could ever stop slaughtering one another, other world problems would be easier to deal with. The Israelis and Palestinians have mother-daughter religious traditions, speak closely related languages and love the same land. The world should encourage them to learn to appreciate what they have in common, rather than try to obliterate one another.

John Marvin

Cheektowaga

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Failure to sell out games may be linked to casinos

There has been much uproar over the recent Bills blackouts. Local talk radio has discussed various reasons for this occurrence -- the arrogance of the NFL and its policies, failure of the Bills to market properly or the local economy.

I can't help but think that having three casinos and two slot machine venues within a 70-mile radius of Buffalo is contributing to the situation. I applaud people like Tom Golisano and groups like Citizens for a Better Buffalo in their efforts to halt a downtown casino. Hopefully they will succeed where our elected officials have failed.

David Kazmierczak

Blasdell

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Wait at will-call window wasn't bad for some fans

When I first read the Dec. 19 News article about the will-call window at Ralph Wilson Stadium, I was shocked. It wasn't shock at the lack of windows for will-call; rather, shock that some people waited two hours to get their tickets.

Like many people, my friend and I decided to go to the game on Friday night, so we bought our tickets online. We parked at noon, had a few drinks, then made our way to the stadium. After 10 minutes of walking around, trying to find the will-call booth, we jumped in line at 12:30 right by the field house, and we were on our way to the game by 12:55.

Sadly, yes, we missed the first eight minutes of the game trying to find our seats. But still, I thought the wait at will-call was just about right for the number of people in line. And this was a legitimate wait, we didn't skip into line, we got at the back of a line that was organized right behind one window and the people at the window were prompt in getting our tickets and moving the line along.

Josh Miller

Buffalo

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Researchers should use Ford, not Toyota hybrids

Recent news articles announced that the University at Buffalo and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority are conducting hydrogen fuel cell testing using Toyota prototypes.

To put this situation in a nutshell, this project is one of research and development. What business does New York State have using taxpayers' money to promote a foreign company at the expense of our own producers?

News articles portraying Toyota as the car of the future may as well have thrown Molotov cocktails through the windows of Ford and General Motors. The Japanese are gaining additional valuable information at our expense and job loss, with no intention of manufacturing in our state. I know that Ford has a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell prototypes.

Isn't it strange that we are willing to spend millions for the prospect of luring Bass Pro, which represents a marginal potential gain, while treating local industries that have been major contributors to our economy for decades as red-headed step-children?

Louis L. Boehm

Orchard Park

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