The LuLac Edition #1122, Mar. 18th, 2010
PHOTO INDEX: OUR "LOOK AT WHAT WALTER AND STEVE DID" LOGO, OUR 1966 LOGO AND AN AD FROM 1966 TOUTING BLUE CROSS OF NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA'S 65 SPECIAL.
A big controversy is brewing about overtime pay for Luzerne County Human Services managers which includes 911, Area Office on the Aging and Mental Health Officials. Steve Urban and Walter Griffith voted against the over time stipends saying that the entitlement mentality of managers needed to end. The opposite side of that is that compensation is needed for managers who are on call on certain situations after hours. Really? Look, if you take a salaried position or if you are raking down over $60,000 as a manager, extra on call pay is ridiculous. Whatever happened to serving the public? I value the hard work and education of some of these managers BUT getting extra on call money as a manager doesn’t happen in private business. If you are a small business owner or a salaried employee and you have a task to perform and it takes extra hours or someone calls off sick, you do it. And you don’t ask for extra money. An extra $500 a week? Sorry, no mental health or social worker I ever met in this county is worth that amount!
A great public defender who literally held that office together resigned the other day. Controller Water Griffith fretted that Russin should not have been allowed to resign because he can still collect his pension. He earned the pension and he too the extra money at the direction of a county higher up. I have a problem with people saying that officials don’t have a right to a pension or a set amount. They do, they earned it. And just because we don’t like the rules that engendered it, that’s not the problem of the person who holds the pension.
If you have any doubts about whether a health care bill should be passed, think about this. The Clinton Health Care bill didn’t pass in 1993. Since then has health care costs gone done? Have insurance companies given any breaks to its consumers? Have premiums gone done? Have you payed less for your health care? I thought not.
There is so much misinformation about health care it will shock me if this bill passes. The bill is far short of what it needs to do but it is a start. It will save money and allow the already strapped middle class to afford health care. 3 million -- that's the decrease in the number of middle-income earners who obtained health insurance from their employers from 2000 to 2008. And 3 times -- is how much faster health care premiums are rising compared to wages. While our broken health care system is hurting everyone, it's the middle class that's feeling it the most. A report just out from the non-partisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that the middle class became uninsured at a faster pace than those with less or more income. And if we do nothing, the problem will only get worse. Health insurance reform will lower costs and put America's middle class and small businesses back in the driver's seat of their own health care. The stakes are just too high for the millions of Americans who are hurting because of the way our current health care system works. What astounds me is the way people are reacting to this. I have never seen so many people be so vocal against their own self interest as I have from callers to talk radio or people on the street. The biggest mistake President Obama continues to make is that he says “if you like your health care, it won’t change”. If this bill doesn’t pass, health care will change. The premiums will go up and up and pretty soon the middle class will be squeezed out of health coverage. This isn’t perfect but it is a start.
LOVE IS BLUE
Ever wonder why Blue Cross has such a hold on people? Blue Cross was started in the 1930s as a way for people to obtain health insurance. It was actually encouraged for people to join. Blue Cross Blue Shield was even promoted by the Boy Scouts of America who in some communities passed out membership forms. It was your patriotic duty to buy insurance. And the Blues were non profits that took everybody. But in the 70s other insurance companies began to undercut rates and deny people coverage. As a way of survival the Blues had to reconstitute their business plan and try to turn a profit. That have done that. Some say the premiums are too high and with that whopping surplus that is very hard to dispute. But the health coverage for those insured has been a such an institution that there are some people who buy Blue no matter what. Medicare Supplemental programs are favored by seniors., When I worked at BCNEPA, some of the most illuminating conversations I had were with senior citizens who had supplemental plans to pick up the 20% Medicare doesn’t pay. With the yearly rate hikes, some had to defer other purchases, tighten their belt and in some cases borrow money from their kids to pay the supplement. But they were never going to let go of their Blue because of the large part it played in their lives. When Medicare came about the naysayers said it would end the insurance companies. Blue Cross and other health plans offer a Medicare Supplemental plan for purchase. And if a Government Run Health Exchange is approved or some form of it, guess who will be what is technically called the fiscal intermediary? Your insurance company. So please don’t spout off or believe everything you hear on right wing radio or from the national party of no. They are lying and approaching the propaganda level of Goebbels in war torn Germany during WWII. If you tell a lie long enough…….
WHAT'S UP DOC?
Remember when there was such a crisis at the start of this century that doctors were going to leave Pennsylvania because of medical malpractice? A few retired but as far as I can see the doctors have not migrated.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
WOMEN FOR WAGNER
Twenty-nine influential women from across Pennsylvania have joined forces in "Women for Wagner" to support Auditor General Jack Wagner's gubernatorial campaign. These women recognize Jack as an advocate for structural reforms in government that would open opportunities to women who are often shut out by the status quo, as well as someone who will lead by example in hiring women and minorities in his administration. The new group follows "Students for Wagner," which was launched in November. "Jack Wagner has all of the qualities that are essential to being a great chief executive. He knows state government inside and out, and he has spent his career fighting the political establishment. He's been pushing for reform at every level," said Sandi Vulcano, Easton City Councilwoman. "As Auditor General, he has identified hundreds of millions of dollars in waste and abuse, and he's made some enemies along the way. The people in power today are wary of Jack because he answers only to the public interest, and not to the special interests. He has my full endorsement and support for Governor of Pennsylvania." "Jack's interest in people is as valuable to Pennsylvania as his outstanding record of accomplishment. He has this record because of his commitment to doing the right thing for people all across the Commonwealth. He sees us not just as voters, but as people," said Dianne Gregg, Centre County Democratic Committee Chair. "Too often, politics and government in Pennsylvania are focused on Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but Jack has come to Centre County many times. We feel that he knows us and that he cares about our concerns. When Jack is Governor, we know that the middle of the state will matter too. For us, Jack is a breath of fresh air."
No one from LuLac land on the list I’m sorry to report.
RUN A.J. RUN
I am not surprised by the level of support and sympathy for Lackawanna County Commissioner a.J. Munchak. Some I have talked to are even seeing him as a victim of circumstances. If I were A.J., I’d run from my long time bud Bob Cordaro and use that as my defense strategy. Today Former Lackawanna Commissioner Robert Cordaro and current Lackawanna County Commissioner A.J. Munchak pleaded not guilty to charges contained in a 40-count indictment returned against them on Tuesday.
In Washington, D.C., General Motors President James M. Roche appears before a Senate subcommittee, and apologizes to consumer advocate Ralph Nader for the company's intimidation and harassment campaign against him……Pope Paul VI and Arthur Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, meet in Rome…….20,000 anti war demonstrators converge on Washington to oppose the Vietnam War….In Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Raymond Shafer on the campaign trail advises that there should be formations of Economic Development Councils in key geographic areas of the state………in Wilkes Barre city the Council continually slams Mayor Frank Slattery on the wage tax and threatens to change the form of government…...and 44 years ago the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was by an Army Staff Sergeant, Barry Sadler.