I was disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that Gov. Rendell's health care plan will be administered exclusively through private insurance companies [Cover, "A Cure for What Ails Us?" July 19, 2007]. Those companies, which will be chosen in some unspecified way, will receive subsidies from the state and then offer the consumer health insurance policies at a low price. According to the Congress advisory group Medicare Payment Advisory Committee, at the national level, the government is paying between 10 percent and 19 percent more to private carriers to insure seniors than what it would cost to provide the same benefits to people within the traditional Medicare plan. The same thing will happen at the state level if we go with the proposed privately administered plan.It will not only be costly and inefficient, but the multiplicity of carriers will make it another administrative nightmare. However, private insurers will love it. State run plans can only be temporary measures; a national single payer system, offering universal coverage, is the rational solution to our present problems. So far, the only presidential candidate offering such a plan is Dennis Kucinich. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, having received half a million dollars each in campaign contributions from the insurance companies, are not promising anything other than reform of the present broken system.
Rendell's plan is well-intentioned but wasteful. It would flush millions of taxpayer dollars down the insurance industry toilet, force us to choose between complex plans and let some of us fall through gaping loopholes. And it wouldn't even cover everybody. There is a choice. House Bill 1660 and Senate Bill 300, now collecting sponsors, would create Pennsylvania's own single-payer, publicly funded health care system. A single-payer system would provide for all the health care needs of the people you profiled, and all Pennsylvanians, for less than what we pay now.
I was made aware of [Philly Blunt, "Fight Schlubs," Brian Hickey, July 19, 2007] via a mixed martial arts blog which introduced it as yet another hysterical hit piece against the sport with the mandatory "human cockfighting" commonplaces and factual errors. Having read it, I'm glad to say it wasn't at all like that, [but] I would have appreciated a little more background and less opinion. You don't have to like the sport nor be necessarily objective when writing about it, but presenting the event from the outset as "the bloodletting" was a bit too much.
What I really disagree with is how you took the behavior of a handful of fans (attitudes that you see everywhere, not just sports events) and used it as an argument against the sport and its legalization in Philadelphia. The fact that racist and sexist commentaries are pervasive everywhere doesn't mean we should just ignore them, but neither does it entail that MMA or the Bodog event should be blamed for them. If the bulk of what you can hold against the sport is the behavior of a small percentage of the audience, your case is not very strong. If we follow that logic, we should also advocate a ban of other sports such as soccer. After all, most of the big teams in countries like England or Italy have skinhead fans who go to the matches to insult the African players more than watch the actual game. Does this mean soccer also fosters racist attitudes, or is the problem explained by more complex factors than simply using the sport as a scapegoat?
[Naked City, "Tour de Farms," Sam Tremble, July 19, 2007] incorrectly stated that Weavers Way Co-op is in Chestnut Hill; it's in Germantown. [News, "In Bed With Congress," Paul Fain, July 19, 2007] incorrectly stated that U.S. Rep. Tim Walz served in Afghanistan; he was part of Operation Enduring Freedom, but not in Afghanistan. City Paper regrets the errors.