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Healthy lifestyles are key?in the whole cost debate

Missing from the recent coverage of the Supreme Court's upholding of "Obamacare" is the correlation between individual lifestyle choices and ultimate utilization of health care dollars.

Assuming personal responsibility for maintaining a healthy weight, eating a proper diet rich in fruits and vegetables, moderately exercising three times a week, not smoking and managing stress can have a huge impact on an individual's ultimate utilization of health care dollars.

According to a study done by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006, lifestyle factors contribute to as much as 87.5 percent of heath care claim costs that an individual generates.

This important correlation was entirely missing from the recent debate about how best to reshape American's health care system going forward.

So if we are really committed to successfully "bending" the cost curve, Americans are going to have to invest in prevention and behavior modification addressing the controllable contributors to health care utilization, rather than exclusively arguing about how best to deliver health care services once they are needed.

Unfortunately, it takes self control and discipline to address lifestyle factors and in many cases hard work, something Americans are not so inclined to invest in these days as evidenced by the high percentage of our fellow citizens who are either overweight or obese.
Without a healthy dose of prevention and education coupled with incentives or rewards in the health care system to encourage the lifestyle behaviors that result in the avoidance of high health care utilization, don't be surprised if the promised reduction in health care costs is another unfulfilled promise out of Washington.

John F. Darby

President

Niagara Transformer Corp.

Buffalo

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It is long past time?to withdraw our troops

More than 10 years after the United States invaded Afghanistan, I see little evidence that the current military strategy is helping to bring peace or stabilizing that country.

I am heartened by reports that our country and our European allies are considering accelerating the withdrawal of military forces and focusing on the long-term development both inside Afghanistan and in the region.

I was delighted to learn that one-fifth of the House and nearly a quarter of the Senate have now written President Barack Obama to urge an expedited withdrawal of U.S. military troops.

I hope our representative and senators will join the chorus in favor of a withdrawal of the U.S. military.

Andrew Zebrun III

Hamburg

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Congress needs to act?to stop human trafficking

According to International Justice Mission (IJM), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released the 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report recently.

This ranked 184 countries and their efforts to combat human trafficking. The United States was among those 184 countries.

The United States has been a global fighter of slavery throughout its life as a country. Congress needs to take action to raise awareness and stop the trafficking of persons.

Congress has failed to pass The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, originally Traffic Victims Protection Act (TVPA).

"This bill renews the landmark TVPA of 2000, which made human trafficking a federal crime and established the Trafficking in Persons Office to combat trafficking internationally," said ijm.org.

IJM started a petition to send to Congress, showing that 73,000 people want slavery to end.

As many forefathers have tried to stop slavery, it is still something that needs to be brought to light again.

Our country, as President Lincoln said in his Gettysburg address, was "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

Lisa Marie Heath

Williamsville

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Congress is not doing?America any favors

@Body copy rag:Since the 2010 election, Republicans have tried to destroy Barack Obama's chances of re-election by blocking his proposals to create jobs.

They control the House and use the filibuster in the Senate. Mitch McConnell has said his "top priority is to make Barack Obama a one-term president." He and John Boehner are happy to make the economy worse in order to garner votes against the president.
They have blocked all the president's job proposals and have no shame about putting politics before our country. If anyone deserves the "hypocrisy" label, it is not the president.

A recent contributor to "Everybody's Column" said "Obama's hypocrisy is astounding." I suggest she Google the bills passed by the Republican House since they gained control of Congress, and put the "hypocrisy" label where it belongs, on the heads of our do-nothing Congress.

Diana Notaro

Buffalo

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Obama accomplished?what others wanted

Obamacare may not be perfect, but ever since the Roosevelt administration presidents have tried to tackle this issue and failed. Obama did not, he succeeded! If the opposition had done it they would have been thrilled. All of their banter and throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bath-water talk sounds like sour grapes. Even Mitt had to admit there are provisions that make sense.

If there is such opposition, where is the discussion? Where are the alternative ideas? Where is the compromise?

The American people cannot be held hostage to the extremes at either end of the political spectrum! Get on with the peoples' work, Congress, or you will put America and Americans into the class of a third world nation.

The tyranny of the uncompromising extreme can not be visited on us all that sounds dictatorial to me.

John D'Arcangelo

Getzville

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Dixon has proven to the region?that she has excellent class

With tears in my eyes, I read today's article about the unjust decision not to give
Amber Dixon the well deserved opportunity to be the Buffalo school superintendent.

But after reading about her great zeal to help Buffalo, a smile came on my face because sometimes blessings come in disguises.

Ms. Dixon, would you do Buffalo and the region a fantastic favor and be its next mayor?" You would be unbeatable!

Daniel S. Kopec

Orchard Park