To the editor:
In March 2010 President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is more commonly referred to as "Obamacare." There has been a great deal of speculation regarding the impact this act will have on New York state.
As a master's in social work student with the University of Southern California I have done extensive research on this topic. I have been trying to understand this act better and obtain information regarding the changes that we will soon see. Who better to reach out to than my district representative, New York state Sen. Hugh Farley? When I reached out to him to arrange a meeting to discuss the act I received the following response: As a member of the New York state Legislature, I was not involved in the enactment of the federal health care legislation. You may want to reach out to your federal representatives. Please do not hesitate to contact me on any matter involving New York state government.
I responded to him by stating that I was disappointed in his response and that he should be open to discussing the act with his constituents. I also told him that I know that New York state has been working since 2011 to establish a state-based health benefit exchange consistent with the Affordable Care Act and on July 9, 2012, Gov. Cuomo submitted a declaration letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services confirming this. Therefore, as a representative for the people of the state of New York, he should know about the Affordable Care Act and have more of an interest in expressing its purpose and impact to those he represents.
I have yet to hear from him again, but I am hopeful that more people will take the initiative to educate themselves about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and not rely on their "representatives" to educate them about the changes they should expect to see.
The household finances
To the editor:
Several years ago, I convinced my wife that we should retire, and we filed for Social Security together. Our children were married and had their own homes, families and careers.
We then received a jolt. It seems that my wife, who taught in Head Start for 30 years, was not funded for a pension. My years in York Beach, Maine, and Mount Snow, Vt., had no applicable pension. We were left with Social Security, period.
So we had a meeting, just the four of us: my wife, myself, the cat and the dog. We decided that my wife would continue teaching. I obtained a job in the Dietary Department at Mount Loretto during the daytime. It lasted 17 years. I also got a job as a night watchman at Ward Products on Edson St. That lasted nine years. On my day off, and on weekends, I picked apples for a very dear friend, Ed Schuyler.
We now had to decide what to do with this monetary "windfall." We decided that my wife was more stable that I was with money. So we took another vote: my wife, myself, the cat and the dog. It was three to one that my wife would handle all the money involved. On the third of every month, everything we had money-wise was placed on the table. We endorsed our respective checks and my wife took everything down to Patty Macek at MCT. She and her beautiful associates would assure that all bills were paid and that we didn't face bankruptcy. The reasoning behind this was that we had no vices, we didn't drink or smoke, and I played the Irish lottery once a month.
Now, if I want a bag of jelly beans, a haircut or a Hershey bar, all I have to do is ask. I don't get a dirty look or a long face. The money is there. This went on for three years.
With an absence of vices, our existence is captured around meal time, and in 61 years I've never had a bad meal. Never. One Sunday night, the four of us were having dinner: My wife, myself, the cat and the dog, when the phone rang. All I heard of the ensuing conversation was as follows:
"Yes, certainly, of course." "I'll meet you there at 3:30 p.m. on Monday."
My wife came back to the table and said "One of the children needs a short-term loan. They're purchasing a car." I said, "Define short term." She said, "Thirty days." I said, "Define money." She said, "$2,500."
I almost choked to death. When I got up off the floor and regained my composure, I said "Mary, where in heaven's name did you get $2,500?" She patted me on the forehead and said very gently, "You just keep picking those apples Jim, that's all you got to know."
Two and a half weeks later, we got the $2,500 back, plus interest, and I never again questioned my wife's banking procedures.
I adhere to the following three adages that we have lived by: 1) Chicken one day, feathers the next.
2) The rich get richer, and the poor get children.
3) Old cooks never die, they just smell that way.
More to follow.
It all seems unfair
To the editor:
On a recent local radio talk show, a retired civil servant said he sent about $20 to the IRS, and about the same to the state for taxes. It seems such individuals are not paying their fair share for the upkeep and maintenance of services provided by their governments. State pensions go untaxed by the state and are often sent to forwarding addresses for those who have escaped New York state. The loss in taxes for the state, and perhaps the federal government, is immense. Since our legislators game the same system, it is unlikely, such pensions will ever be taxed. All of which seems unfair.