Blame Congress for higher drug prices
One main premise of the letter "Don't punish hospitals because of Medicare” [Opinion, March 16] is incorrect. The reader should be aware that, contrary to his opinion, Medicare would love to negotiate prices for prescription drugs for millions of covered retirees. The perfect model for that is the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992, which guarantees lower drug prices for the Veterans Administration and veterans themselves. Unfortunately, Medicare cannot negotiate lower prescription drug prices because it is blocked from doing so by Congress. Why won’t Congress pass a law allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices? Just follow the money to campaign war chests. By spending $92 million on lobbying in the first three months of last year alone, pharmaceutical companies set a quarterly record. The three largest spenders were Pfizer at $3.70 million, Roche at $3.62 million and Merck at $3.59 million. Retirees’ prescription prices stay sky high because Big Pharma money keeps influencing our legislators’ votes. The problem is not Medicare.
Bernard A. Bilawsky, North Massapequa
Feds seek excessive Mangano sentences
I’m a little taken aback by the prison sentences sought by federal prosecutors in the cases of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and his wife, Linda Mangano. They are seeking excessive time to be served in prison. Don’t get me wrong. If you do the crime, you pay the fine. Edward Mangano facing 17 1⁄2 years for bribery, wire fraud and obstructing justice sounds a little excessive to me [“Feds: 17 1⁄2 years for Mangano,” News, March 11]. Especially in a state where bail reform lets out with no bail suspects facing multiple charges, including robbery, assault or worse.Should Mangano do time? Absolutely. But it sounds like selective enforcement to me. Is that because he’s a Republican? Then there’s the proposed sentence of 2 ½ years for Linda Mangano [“Feds seek 30 months for Linda Mangano,” News, March 16]. Her no-show job was not a crime, but lying about it was.These people didn’t kill anyone and have suffered irrevocable great harm. They’ve lost so much. Enough is enough.
Michael Appice, Westbury
Fossil fuels cost state taxpayers money
It's that time of year when so many are fighting for a line in the budget. As a young person who watches the world (and Long Island) battered by 100-year storms, insufferable heat, and resource depletion, I am tired of asking the state to step up to address the climate crisis. Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) need to ensure sufficient funding for transitioning our economy and every household to clean, affordable energy. Even while we continue to recover from the economic devastation of the pandemic, we’re anticipating a budget surplus. This is a critical opportunity to take action that was so dearly lacking in the previous legislative session. If nothing else, the Legislature can remove an expenditure. New York loses approximately $1.6 billion in tax revenue every year by subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. If we passed the Fossil Fuel Subsidies Elimination Act, $336 million of the most egregious, unnecessary subsidies could be eliminated and used for the changes we need. The window is closing fast to prevent the high cost of inaction. It’s a slap in the face to waste money on such a destructive industry. Save taxpayers and the climate some grief.
Erin Zipman, Brookhaven
The writer is a member of New York Youth Climate Leaders.
Make shelters inviting for the homeless
Shelters are in such squalid and dangerous conditions that vulnerable and mentally ill homeless individuals prefer streets and subways instead ["Put focus on mental health," Editorial, March 16]. Why? There aren't any reasons why shelters are not safe, clean and inviting for displaced and homeless people. Money would be well invested in providing a safe haven with the presence of law enforcement, medical workers and social workers collaborating to administer proper care. It would be a first step in dealing with this lingering and growing problem and a step forward in making the public also feel safe again.
Tony Giametta, Oceanside
State bills would make roads safer
The Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act is the way to end this "mayhem" ["Action needed on road mayhem," Editorial, March 11]. Albany has a package of eight bills that will make our streets safer. The bills include lifesaving laws such as: the right for local municipalities to set their own speed limits without seeking permission from Albany; safe passing for cyclists; improvement of road infrastructure and complete streets funding; and requiring better education for new drivers who interact with vulnerable people on our roadways. It will also give a greater voice to victims of road violence.
Daniel Flanzig, Sea Cliff
The writer is a board member of the New York Bicycling Coalition.