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Cuomo should sign legislation providing prescription choice

The New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation that would provide consumers with choice on where to purchase their prescription drugs. Currently, some consumers are required by their health insurance plan to purchase their prescription drugs only through mail order. Under this legislation, these consumers would have the option of purchasing their drugs from a local pharmacy.

In May, Consumer Reports ranked independent pharmacies at the top for speed of service, accuracy, helpfulness, courteousness, knowledge and personal service. On a daily basis, we hear from countless patients about their preference to buy locally. Local pharmacies provide superior customer service, face-to-face interactions with a professional pharmacist, and, under this legislation, comparable prices with mail-order pharmacies.

New York's community pharmacies have been reeling after years of reimbursement cuts and the proliferation of mail-order mandates. More than 350 independent pharmacies have closed since 2008.

Mail-order mandates have resulted in $5 billion worth of pharmacy business leaving the state every year. These dollars go to states with large mail-order houses. This has resulted in lost jobs and lost tax revenues for localities and the state.

This bill will result in no price increases for consumers or health insurers. Mandatory mail order prescription programs are not good for the patients, the neighborhood pharmacies or the state. People affected should contact Gov. Andrew Cuomo and ask him to sign this legislation into law.

Dennis C. Galluzzo

Executive Director, Pharmacists

Association of Western New York

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National debt should be honored by all citizens

Repaying our national debt is both a matter of economic necessity and national honor.

As a Republican, I am disapointed in some of the talk, especially by members of my own party, of purposefully defaulting on some of our national debt. May I remind all Americans that my sentiments are a founding principle of the Republican Party and appear in its National Party Platform as far back as 1868, declaring that "We denounce all forms of repudiation as a national crime; and national honor requires the payment of the public indebtedness in the utmost good faith to all creditors at home and abroad, not only according to the letter, but in the spirit of laws under which it was contracted."

Just the thought of intentional default should be considered nothing less than heresy in a nation founded by men who pledged their sacred honor in the name of this Republic.

Peter R. Wittmeyer

East Aurora

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Cuomo has not made all the right moves

After seeing and reading about Gov. Andrew Cuomo's boasting about all of his "accomplishments" in the last six months, I am sickened. Have people forgotten to mention the numerous layoffs that are occurring with state employees and how the property tax cap will most likely increase those numbers in the coming years? I have been an educator in New York for 10 years, and I never thought I would still have to be concerned about losing my job. I thought I picked the right profession for all of the right reasons, yet as an educator, I feel that my profession is under constant attack. Everything seems to be the teachers' fault, from the underperforming students to the rising cost of health care and property taxes.

Does anyone realize that it is the young citizens with the young families that are being impacted the most? Friends of mine are forced to move out of state to retain employment, and things are just getting worse for the state. Instead of cutting from the bottom, how about cutting from the top? Deep down I know that will never happen because it is the people at the top who are making all the decisions.

Cuomo can continue to pat himself on the back, but he should know that every decision he makes has negatives, too. At least he still has a job.

Karen Boettcher

Hamburg

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New same-sex marriage leaves many questions

After reading all the articles and hearing all the praise about the new New York State law for same-sex marriage, I ask myself, what really are we celebrating? This law guarantees the same rights to same-sex couples as traditional married couples. But couldn't Albany have passed the same law using a term other than "marriage," since that word has had the connotation of a special bonding between male and female for centuries?

This law destroys the traditional meaning of the word "marriage" and the traditional meaning of the words mother and father, leaving all our future offspring in a quandary. This law has left a big question mark on the integrity of our elected representatives who campaign one way, then vote the exact opposite.

I suppose now that this law is in effect, a social introduction to anyone will require the question, "Is your spouse a man or a woman?" It may seem strange at first, but we New Yorkers will get used to it, I'm sure. After all, this is a big victory for civil rights, isn't it? I am really quite interested to see what is next on the agenda for our great State of New York.

Norman Machynski

Cheektowaga

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Oil and gas industry can't fool the public

In the July 3 News, David Robinson tries to reassure us that the oil and gas industry will be operating under strict guidelines when it starts horizontal drilling and hydrofracking to release gas from the Marcellus Shale that underlies much of New York. He uses the cute analogy of our children taking the wheel of the family car for the first time and the strict rules that we expected them to follow. First of all, let us remember that we are dealing with the oil and gas industry. It has a history of catastrophic accidents followed by an unending series of lies and distortions trying to cast the blame elsewhere. Do we really expect the industry to deal honestly with the problems it creates?

A real unknown associated with this new type of drilling is the use of unidentified chemicals used in the process. (The companies are allowed to keep them secret under the infamous "Halliburton" exemption of the Clean Air and Water Act.) Robinson reassures us that "the chemicals used in fracking must be publicly identified, except for proprietary ones." In other words, they'll tell us everything except for what they don't want to tell us. Are we idiots?

The petrochemical industries and their supporters will say anything to reassure us that "no, this time it will be different, we'll behave and follow the rules." They're hoping that this time we have forgotten, that we won't notice what big ears and eyes and teeth granny has.

Paul Tenser

Springville