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Pharmaceutical industry gets breaks while consumers suffer

Everyone recognizes that health care costs are increasing at an alarming rate, and that steps need to be taken to improve efficiencies and stop the upward spiral. Apparently, the state Legislature has not gotten the word, for it is again doing what it does best, which is providing favors to a special interest at great expense to consumers.

In the latest attempt to make New York an uncompetitive and expensive place to live, it has passed legislation that would ban health insurance plans from mandating that the insured obtain prescriptions via mail order, and allow them to fill prescriptions at local pharmacies.

While this freedom of choice may sound like a good idea, it removes all incentive for the large mail-order pharmacies to provide prescriptions at the lowest cost. The guarantee of a large volume of prescriptions is what allows them to provide low-cost bids to the insurers.

The fact that the Legislature exempts union-sponsored health plans from these proposed new rules should make everyone suspicious of this fishy piece of legislation. More importantly, the Federal Trade Commission recommended against it, and issued a statement indicating that similar legislation in other states actually drove up the costs of prescriptions to consumers. In particular, similar legislation in Maryland had made long-term drug costs "very costly for the state and its citizens."

This legislation will increase health care and prescription costs for all of us and will soon land on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk for his signature. Hopefully, he will stand up for the taxpayers and consumers and veto this legislative sop to the pharmacist lobby at the expense of all of us.

Don Nowak

West Valley

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Frivolous lawsuits need to be stopped

According to an Aug. 6 article, we have two grown adults suing the Town of Lockport because they were struck by a car on Dysinger Road last year.

No charges were filed against the driver, and the article states that the individuals crossed into the path of the car. Whose fault is this? The "victims" are claiming the town should have provided sidewalks and better safety markings. The last time I checked sidewalks run parallel to the roadway, so I don't see how that would have helped. What would have been a better safety marking? A sign stating, "don't walk in front of moving vehicles?"

So, here we go again, another frivolous lawsuit that's going to cost the taxpayers in the long run. This must be the new American dream; find a reason to sue someone, which in New York doesn't seem to be a problem.

Bruce E. Stegner

Lockport

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This country has to lead in tough economic times

It's been a decade since many people of all faiths have been attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. As a result, two wars under the Bush administration began costing us trillions of dollars and thousands of innocent lives, including our troops. Under President Obama, drones were sent to Pakistan indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians. You ask yourself, was it all worth it? Wouldn't we simply be better off focusing on the safety of our country instead of taking revenge on these terrorists? Unfortunately, we have given them what they wanted. Not only have we lost even more lives, but now we're in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

I hope now we have learned our lesson and can work on making peace. We need our fellow citizens and people abroad not to look at us as a weak, vengeful country but to look up to us as a caring, intelligent leader. We have lost our moral compass and have neglected our country. We need to make helping our fellow citizens during this financial crisis priority No. 1. We need to help them get jobs and use the resources we have on programs they need instead of wasting resources on wars. Let's put politics aside and work together as a team to get our country back on the right track.

Let's stop playing the blame game for our economic shortfalls and instead, focus on fixing our problems. We will never forget the tragedy on 9/1 1 but we need to put aside our hate and fear for the better good. Let's open up our hearts and minds, pick up the pieces and help each other heal.

Amber Shaikh

Williamsville

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Apparently, anyone can be superintendent

I'd like to throw my hat in the ring for the job of superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools. Am I qualified? Let's see.

First of all, I like the money the job pays. Taking off 110 days sounds about right. Having medical, dental, pension and contract benefits is perfect. Not having to worry about the district's effectiveness is an unknown.

With some prodding, I can become very arrogant and leave the position with 60 percent of medical benefits for life and $110,000, making the School Board the laughing stock of the nation.

Yep, I'm qualified.

Casey Cassetta

East Amherst

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Turns out, union fight only hurt its members

Here's a great union strategy: Let's cut off our nose to spite our face. The nose, in this case, is 86 American Axle employees who must now hit the unemployment line. They can take solace with the words of Cindy Estrada, a United Auto Workers leader, that the "no" vote captured the workers' frustration. The UAW and its members really showed American Axle how tough they are. Yeah, that will put food on the table.

Now, 86 families are at risk. How will these workers pay their mortgage? How will they educate their children? How will they prepare for retirement? Apparently that's not important to the UAW leadership. The important thing is that they stood up to American Axle. The loss of 86 jobs is a small price to pay in their greater fight. Yes, they showed American Axle all right. I, at least, hope the UAW bought its members bright red T-shirts to demonstrate their solidarity.

As plant after plant leaves Western New York and good jobs are lost forever there is no comfort to those who now face an uncertain future, but the union stood tough. Good for you UAW. You sure showed them. You sure did.

Paul Weslow

Angola

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Pakistan dam dollars are better spent here

The United States is backing the construction of a giant $12 billion dam in Pakistan. That is $12 billion, not million, for this project. I think that our country is in much greater need right now than Pakistan. We can see now why Washington cannot resolve the debt ceiling. We are sending our money and jobs to other countries.

John Jendrysek

Orchard Park