Save our bus lines

N51, N53, N65, N66, N67, N80, N87, N93, Bingo! . . . but nobody wins. It's such a shame that Nassau County is looking to eliminate these bus lines ["Neediest may lose their rides," News, Jan. 4]. How much more can our seniors and students take?

I am dumbfounded that our elected officials, who push mass transit because it saves energy and gets cars off the roads, are looking to kill mass transit on Long Island. What we need to do is look at all the waste of all the county vehicles on our roads. Let's do some cutting on that end. Let the county officials use their own vehicles, or we can give our officials a bus pass as a perk. Maybe that incentive will save our bus lines.

Philip Boscia

SyossetFocus on antitrust

A key part of the health care debate should focus on antitrust laws. As of now, insurance companies are exempt from laws designed to prevent monopolies and price gouging. The House bill seeks to fix this. The Senate bill must do the same. It is one way to keep insurance companies honest.

Salimah Ross

Middle IslandPublic option, limited

The public option has fueled intense speculation. But the issue can be empirically and pragmatically resolved by including such an option in the reconciled bill with a sunset provision and benchmarks that must be satisfied - such as its cost effectiveness, competitive benefits and adverse impacts, if any, on the continued vitality of the private health care insurance sector.

The option's duration could be limited to a test period, say five or 10 years, at which time it would expire, unless Congress extends it. Extension would prove that a viable public insurance option and a private health care insurance sector can coexist.

Irving Like

BabylonBacteria, not people

Regarding "Norway's superbug solution eyed" [News, Dec. 31]: The warnings expressed were quite valid and, indeed, alarming from the standpoint of an ever-shrinking pool of effective antibiotics. But there was one glaring misconception. It is important for the public to know that people do not become resistant to antibiotics. Only bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics, through random, but fairly rapid mutations that result in changes that neutralize the antibiotics.

To put this into perspective, a recent study of soil in the Netherlands showed an appreciable increase in microbial antibiotic resistance genes. Does this mean that soil has become resistant to antibiotics? The reference to "mutations in once-curable diseases" is equally disturbing. Like people, diseases do not develop resistance to antibiotics. Only bacteria, please!

Robert Elgart

PatchogueEditor's note: The writer is a microbiologist at Farmingdale State College.