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Obama's health care plan?will cost more than just money

The people who support Obamacare and fawn over all of the "wonderful" benefits it will supposedly offer should realize that it is, in fact, the first step on the way to a single-payer, government-only health system. What's wrong with a single-payer system, you say? Let me count the ways.

A single-payer system where the government plan is regarded as an entitlement encourages over-usage. If I think it's free, why should I inhibit my own use of the system? It is not free. Someone pays for it.

If people regard it as free, they will abuse it. This guarantees a disconnect between who uses the plan and who pays for it. Demand will increase dramatically and costs will escalate. Massachusetts is a prime example.

Given increased demand and limited ability to pay for it, the only thing government can do is to ration health care. Limiting services, restricting technology, demanding greater waiting times and gatekeepers all suffice to raise access barriers to health care. While this is not something anyone wants, how can a single-payer system not restrict utilization arbitrarily? The government will be forced to reduce the cost by rationing health care or by increasing taxes or both. Single-payer does not increase access. It limits access.

Rationing is economic central planning, and quite frankly, centralized economic planning has been a disaster where it has been tried in the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe.

More specific to single-payer, rationing takes place on one side and demand increases on the other. The result is increased wait times for necessary technology. Why do so many Canadians come here for tests and treatment? It is because they have to wait in a rationed system. Americans take it for granted that an MRI can be scheduled in a couple of days or within a week. The Fraser Institute Access to Technology study concluded that on a per capita basis, Canada has thousands fewer MRIs and CAT Scans than are available in America. No wonder wait times are worse in Canada. There is simply less medical capacity – by design.

Michael J. Beyer

Orchard Park

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Elections should return?to America's core values

The nation has just celebrated the 236th anniversary of its experiment in democracy. We have been reminded once again of the importance of the democratic process and the power of each person's vote in shaping our common life. Yet over the past several years, we have see the democratic process undermined by laws and court rulings that have expanded the influence of corporations in elections campaigns.

At a cost of over $4 billion, the 2010 mid-term elections were the most expensive ever. We are well on our way to witnessing that amount greatly surpassed by this year's election cycle.

The January 2010 ruling of the Supreme Court in the Citizens United v. FEC case opened the floodgates for campaign spending in election campaigns. The court ruled that private business – including for-profit corporations – have a right to spend an unlimited amount of money to support or defeat candidates. Rather than pursuing public policy that serves the common good.

Candidates are forced to chase money.

No matter what issues you care about or where you are on the political spectrum, campaign financing has a fundamental influence on the public policy process, impacting who is at the table when policy decisions are made and in whose interests those decisions are made.

Elections that are dominated by money interests rather than by the needs of the nation do not reflect the values of our country. We are or should be a participatory democracy. Let your voices be heard.

Judith M. Metzger

Williamsville

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Writer should relax?about same-sex marriage

The July 2 letter, "Bloomberg's statement makes no sense at all" had me puzzled as it, in fact, made no sense either.

Is the writer angry at Mayor Bloomberg? Upset he may no longer be able to purchase super-sized sodas? Riled about same-sex marriage? Jealous he can't marry his sister? All of the above?

After twice reading his letter, I surmise his anger is directed at same-sex marriage. I think.

If so, allow me to remind the writer that the law permitting same-sex marriage has been in effect for one year, and heterosexual couples are still getting married. Each Sunday I read The Buffalo News and, sure enough, there are plenty of nice straight couples exchanging vows.

Same-sex marriage hasn't affected their opposite-sex marriages one iota! The law simply allows a loving gay couple the opportunity to make a legal commitment to each other.

So, may I suggest the writer kick back with a large soda – perhaps something stronger – and relax. It's all good.

Michael Campbell

Buffalo

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Tragic accident shows?the need for better signs

On June 9, I was out walking about 7:30 p.m. in my neighborhood and came to the intersection of Maple Road and Oakbrook Drive. A police car was at the intersection rerouting traffic off Maple Road. I looked east and saw many police cars with their lights flashing and walked over to see what was happening. The ambulances had just left. In talking with bystanders, I learned that two young girls had been hit by a car while crossing Maple Road.

Upon further questioning, I learned that one of the girls was Erin Suszynski. Erin's mother has been a lifelong friend to my daughter, Laura Pedersen. As I looked around, I noticed that on the north side of Culpepper Drive and Maple Road there is a playground and an elementary school nearby; on the south side is a huge residential area with many children.

It is my opinion that either a crosswalk with a traffic light or a pedestrian bridge should be at this intersection for the safety of the children. Maple Road is a very dangerous road with heavy traffic making it almost impossible to cross.

Erin was taken to Women and Children's Hospital and put on life support. She quietly passed away on June 20, with her parents at her side. I feel her life could have been saved if some safety measures had been in place.

Ellen Pedersen

Williamsville

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NFTA should better enforce?its ‘honor system' for riders

Donn Esmonde's July 1 column makes some interesting points about Buffalo's long-maligned light rail rapid transit system. The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus will certainly increase ridership. The move of the University at Buffalo medical school, in addition to other expansion, will mean many more people commuting.

The result will obviously be increased ridership on Metro Rail. But let's look at a real issue – everybody should pay to ride. And payment is virtually on the "honor system." This is not rocket science. Simply ensure that everyone pays to ride. How the NFTA accomplishes this is up to them.

Fred Brace

Buffalo