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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

Health care should not be motivated by profits

Most people discussing health care jump in the middle of the topic without defining the framework of the arguments. Before any serious discussion about reform takes place, these two "big picture" questions must be answered first:

Is health care a right or a privilege for American citizens? (Health care is currently a privilege for wealthier Americans who can afford it.)

Should the health care system in America be a profit-making industry? (Health care is currently a profit-making industry -- with big money and lots of lobbyists behind it making medical decisions.)

My answers: Health care should be a right. The thought of sick or undiagnosed people running around a free country sounds unhealthy for everybody.

Health care should not be profit motivated. Doctors should prescribe medications to patients, not the other way around. Medications are sometimes requested because the patient saw it on television.

Major health care reform should be aimed first at mainstream Americans, and the "keep healthy" issues should not be sidetracked to the extreme medical cases or litigation-happy attorneys. Electronic records can cut expenses and decrease medical errors in many ways.

James Couvutsakis

Buffalo

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We are all in danger of losing our insurance

I wish to speak to the health care issue from possibly a different perspective. For all those people out there who think they are safe because the have employer-paid health insurance, think again.

I am a registered nurse who has worked in health care for 35 years at a large hospital corporation. I have been lucky for all those years to have had good coverage that has helped keep me healthy and working, at a minimal cost to me, getting excellent preventative care.

Unfortunately, if I do become very ill or have a serious injury -- which is highly likely in nursing -- I will lose that coverage when I need it most. As I walk the halls in the hospital, rarely does a week go by when there isn't a posting for a benefit for someone to "help defray medical costs." After devoting two-thirds of my life to health care, I am now dependent on a Chinese auction to pay my bills.

We need a strong public option to protect the working people, too. Why are so many so afraid of something that may help them, too?

Kathy Boyd, R.N.

Tonawanda

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It's time we switch to single-payer system

As a self-employed person, I have been thinking about President Obama's health care reform a lot. I did not vote for him and could probably be called a conservative Republican.

My household consists of two people, my college daughter and me. We pay about $8,000 per year for basic health insurance. That means no dental, no eye care, high co-pays and nothing extra. For instance, my co-pay for Nexium is $100 per month.

My federal tax, state tax, property tax and various other government fees and sales tax pay for a lot of other people's health insurance. That includes federal, state, county and local government employees, teachers, veterans, postal employees, retired people, those on Social Security disability and anyone on Medicare or Medicaid.

They all seem to have better health insurance than me with lower co-pays, eye care and dental coverage. Some even get extras like plastic surgery. Am I the only fool who pays for his own health insurance premium? Everyone else seems to get it for no extra cost other than normal government taxes.

Yes, let's go to single-payer system. It is time to stop victimizing and double charging the self-employed.

Mark Gademsky

Williamsville

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Obama must get tough for proposal to succeed

The News asks for respectful comments but I have no respect for the way the single-payer option is being kept out of the discussion. President Obama says his ears are open to all arguments. He should open his eyes and realize that in the interest of getting along with the opposition, he has surrounded himself with tainted relics of the "can't do" mind-set. You just can't use rotten apples to cure the barrel.

Obama will betray every one of his supporters if he doesn't get tough. He needs to forget about accepting apologies that are obviously insincere and speak out debunking every single lie being spread by his opponents and their complicit and corrupt excuse for a news media.

John Gurriere

Hamburg

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People seem to forget Bush was criticized, too

In a recent letter to the editor, the writer asserted that it was "impossible to believe" that conservatives raised objections to President Obama's speech to school children. Might I kindly remind this reader that when President George H.W. Bush addressed the nation's schools in 1991, the then Democrat-led Congress not only denounced his speech, but actually held congressional hearings investigating the legality of it. I suppose these actions were not politically motivated.

The writer proceeded with baseless attacks on legitimate conservative views while ignoring the vast milieu of toxic liberal media. Quite convenient! To give credit where it is due, the writer did get one thing right, that is, the "fiendish" nature of the current administration.

Matthew Gurgol

Buffalo

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Why are conservatives suddenly worried now?

It appears that conservatives are worried about this administration's out-of-control spending. I would like to know where all these right-wing people were when President George W. Bush inflated the deficit to record numbers. Where were they when he signed into law the Patriot Act and tried to decimate our Constitution? Where were these people when Bush got us into the Iraq War, and where were they when he sat for six minutes doing nothing while the Twin Towers were coming down?

I am not saying that President Obama is right about everything he's done so far, but seeing what he has had to deal with since he came on board, it is very clear to me that these people are afraid of this man. So afraid that they didn't want him speaking to our children in their schools.

I guess because of the previous eight years, they've forgotten what it means to have an intelligent president leading our country. I believe they are scared that this man of color just might make this country what it was before Bush was president, and so the disrespect and arrogance shall go on and on.

Marcia Nasca

Amherst

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CIA has indeed tortured suspects

In the Sept. 10 edition of The News, a letter writer criticized the "Democrats and Cheney-haters" for not looking up the definition of the word "torture." I did look up the definition.

Per Merriam Webster, there are several definitions and the very first definition is actually subdivided. The first portion of the first definition reads: "anguish of body or mind." The second portion of that definition reads: "something that causes agony or pain." Agony is also defined as "intense pain of body or mind."

So this proud Democrat and "Cheney-hater" did take the time to look up the definition. This proud Democrat and "Cheney-hater" also proved the writer's definition incorrect. I think it remains inarguable that the tactics used by the CIA, while not having inflicted any physical pain, have definitely inflicted lasting mental pain. Therefore, by Merriam Webster's definition, the CIA has tortured captive terrorists.

Dan Fronckowiak

Cheektowaga

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Man advocating torture needs a new dictionary

In regard to the letter, "CIA has never inflicted extreme pain on captives," the gentleman from Williamsville must have the Dick Cheney abridged version of Webster's Dictionary. Webster's New World Dictionary does indeed state that torture is the infliction of severe pain. But does this mean physical pain, mental pain or either one? Fortunately, my copy of Webster's did not leave this an open question. It says: "any severe physical or mental pain; agony; anguish."

Clearly if his dictionary had this further refinement, he would have realized that his argument was toothless. As it is, those of us who enjoy the full meaning of the word were left a "bit uncomfortable." If not, I do have a question for those of you who think waterboarding, and methods like it, are not torture: Do you really think a hardened terrorist or seasoned soldier is going to spill his guts because he's been made to feel a bit uncomfortable? Doesn't that sound laughable?

Frederick W. Kiefer

Williamsville

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Intelligent design theory certainly is not science

A recent letter asserts that "it is clear the physical sciences now gravitate toward the existence of God, belief in an intelligent design." Nothing could be further from the truth. No reputable scientist views intelligent design as anything more than a sadly transparent attempt to insert religious doctrine into scientific discourse.

There is a large body of painstakingly detailed evidence supporting a universe with its beginning in a Big Bang, followed by the development of complex life forms through natural selection. There is no supernatural intervention required, and there is absolutely no evidence that any such intervention ever occurred. Intelligent design is not just incorrect: it is not science. Those who peddle creationist snake oil as science cheapen both scientific and religious thought.

Will Kinney

UB associate physics professor

Williamsville

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Those who lack faith can't understand Bible

In his criticism of the veracity of the Bible -- "Evidence-based view of the world is refreshing" -- the letter writer is left with a problem.

The Scriptures are spiritual. They can only be understood correctly by the spirit. And to have one's spirit made alive (to God) one needs to have received the savior first.

I'm sure the writer would certainly agree that he has not accepted this grace. Therefore, he hasn't what is necessary to understand the Scriptures correctly. What he should be working at is just how were all the prophesies in the Scriptures fulfilled. We can't objectively deny them. And statistically they are off anybody's chart.

Jack Telaak

Orchard Park

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Charters forced Buffalo to improve public schools

Superintendent James Williams' "backtracking" on charter schools (Sept. 12 News) is a smoke-and-mirrors slap to all Buffalo taxpayers. He brags about more Buffalo schoolchildren reaching mediocrity, and then comes up with fantasy "reasons" he's suddenly against the very schools that, through competition, forced Buffalo schools to give their students a real education for once. His reasons for suddenly being against charters are suspiciously close to his hugs-and-kisses routine with Phil Rumore, who fears his members may be shown as mini-royalty without clothes -- "pay me more and I'll teach better."

As for School Board President Ralph Hernandez, his real problem with charters is the loss of power the board has over them. It has nothing to do with the board's budget. Buffalo's school system never before had real competition in terms of public funds for excellence in education. I don't blame Williams, Rumore and Hernandez for opposing charters -- they show how shallow the board's education policies really are. These mini-emperor really have no clothes.

Russell J. Sciandra

Buffalo

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