2017-05-10 / Mailbag

Congress is not serving the people

Working people are counting on them

To The Editor:

Whether one agrees with Obamacare or not, there were positive attempts to generate meaningful, affordable healthcare for everybody. So the House repealed Obamacare, but not for what Obamacare stood for, but on the principals of defeating any of the other party’s action.

This behavior has paralyzed Congress for years. It did not and does not serve the people and it needs to change. There is always talk of bipartisan cooperation, but this is only talk, actions prove otherwise. It is time people send a message to Congress for them to get their act together for the benefit of the people and not misguided principals.

Remember, you can change that with your vote, it counts!

Paul A. Gosssen,
Denver

‘Two-Faced’ Faso earned his nickname

To The Editor:

Mission Accomplished?

Representative John Faso’s yes vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with a bill providing less health care coverage for the poor and more tax cuts for the wealthy has hopefully accomplished one thing - that in 2018 he will be voted out of office!

His hollow claims of compassion for his constituents have rightfully earned him his nickname; John “Two Faced” Faso.

Dave Pillard,
Shandaken

Help for rising college costs

To The Editor:

Budget cuts affect everyone, but the worst thing is to deprive our children of getting an education simply because they are unable to meet the rising college costs. We hope to raise enough money to help all MCS graduates with their financial needs for furthering their education.

Margaretville Central School Dollars for Scholars, Inc. has applied for and received a matching grant from the O’Connor Foundation for the graduates of Margaretville Central School’s Class of 2017. The O’Connor Foundation will match us dollar for dollar. For every dollar we raise, they will match it up to $5,500.

If we all pull together, we will be able to help all of our graduates as they move on to college. All donations are appreciated and contribute to helping our students. Please mail donations before May 19 to: MCS Dollars for Scholars, Inc., PO Box 319, Margaretville, NY 12455.

Margaretville Central School Dollars For Scholars, Inc. is a not-for-profit charity, Federal ID #46-4685744

Teresa Goodchild,
Margaretville Central
School

Cell-phone can be life saving

To The Editor:

My neighbors Arthur and Madeleine died just a few feet from my seasonal house in Andes. Wrapping herself with a blue tarp from the woodpile, Madeleine died right under my deck where she sought shelter from the cold rain. Arthur died in their car 200 feet away from her. There was no cell tower to receive their repeated cries for help from their working cell phone. Unfortunately, I was not at home to help them.

Andes is a tranquil, beautiful place. But it can be unforgiving— anything from snow squalls to torrential rain. Driving can be perilous in autumn when deer race across the road. The closest supermarket from Andes is a round-trip 40-minute drive. It is serene when you want that; it is cut off when you don’t.

May 3rd is the anniversary of Arthur’s and Madeleine’s death. Their story was documented by several sources, and I share one from the NY Daily News. See their story: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/elderlyhusband wife-arthur-madeleine -morris-die-crash-catskillshome couldn-cell-phone-signalarticle 1.1076172 [You can do an online search if you cannot copy this link.]

I implore you to contact your legislator or representative, to pass legislation, which would require cell phone companies to service Andes and similar rural areas of New York. ATT and Verizon provide surrounding cell coverage but not in Andes. The local telephone provider Margaretville Telephone Company appears willing to help move this process forward. However, ATT and Verizon need to recognize this as pro bono work, not merely profit. Many American corporations are stepping up to their corporate citizenship, and ATT and Verizon need to do so as well.

Charles Scott,
Andes

Faso’s vote will hurt Delaware County

To The Editor:

Our member of congress voted for a bill that will hurt Delaware County and Margaretville Hospital. This bill will: Make it more expensive to get a healthcare policy. If you have a pre-existing condition, you will be charged more for a policy. Several of his Republican colleagues state that it is your fault that you get sick. They state you should be blamed for an unhealthy life style

It will eliminate Medicaid expansion. This will hurt working people and families. What Mr. Faso believes a working family should not be covered under Medicaid— that they must pay for healthcare like everyone else

It will charge older people more for health care.

It will also give wealthy people a huge tax cut. While I respect Dean Gitter and other wealthy members of our community, I do not think they should pay less taxes while most of us pay more for healthcare.

All of this will put the existence of Margaretville Hospital at risk.

John Faso has voted to hurt our community. Let’s work to elect someone who will vote for our needs.

Richard Siegel,
New Kingston

To The Editor:

At the United Way of Delaware and Otsego counties, we fight for many women and men who work hard at low wage jobs yet can barely make ends meet. They find it nearly impossible to cover even the essentials such as food, transportation to and from work, and electric bills.

One way we help struggling workers in our community is by connecting them with the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It’s one of our most effective tools to keep people working and help them get a fair shot at a decent life. During this most recent tax season, we helped connect 95 individuals and families to the EITC through MyFreeTaxes.com and our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program resulting in over $147,000 coming back to our community.

But the more important—and more concerning—statistic is the number of struggling workers that we can’t help because the EITC is largely unavailable to them. Right now, the EITC largely or entirely shuts out millions of working Americans who are not raising children. For example, noncustodial parents who want to provide more support to their children receive very little from the credit, and young childless workers aged 21 to 24—many of whom are struggling to get a foothold in the workforce—are completely ineligible for the EITC.

Because these workers are largely excluded from the EITC, they are the only group in our country that is taxed into or deeper into poverty. This situation makes it even harder for workers to pay their bills today and build the financial stability they need to succeed in the future.

Our nation’s leaders can solve this problem. Bipartisan proposals are pending in Congress to improve the EITC for workers not raising children by lowering the eligibility age to 21 and increasing the maximum credit amount.

Expanding the EITC to include workers not raising children would give 871,000 working people in New York State, the financial stability to cover the basics, build a better future for themselves and their loved ones, and contribute more to our local economy. Studies show that the EITC helps working people buy necessities like food and gas from local businesses, which in turn helps our local economy grow.

A stronger EITC would reward the hard work of people in Delaware and Otsego counties —young and old, male and female, from every background— who do essential, low-wage jobs in schools and office buildings and on construction sites to keep New York State running.

So, as Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with Congressman John Faso look for ways to help hardworking Americans in the next year, they should support expanding the EITC for workers not raising children. Workers in our region and working people across the country are counting on them.

Susan Kurkowski,
executive director
United Way of Delaware
and Otsego counties

Congressman claims AHCA delivers on his pledge

To The Editor:

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has failed in its promises to the American people. We were told health insurance premiums would be cut by $2,500. Instead they rose by $4,300 for a typical family. This year deductibles will average more than $6,000 for those in the lowest priced ACA plans. And 20 million Americans still lack health insurance. In too many cases, the ACA is forcing people to buy insurance they cannot afford to use. My Democratic colleagues responded to this emergency by sending tweets and throwing tantrums. I voted to support the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which lowers premiums, reduces taxes, and puts patients in charge of their own healthcare decisions instead of Washington.

The AHCA prohibits insurers from denying coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition.

Outrageous and false claims have attempted to frighten people that preexisting conditions won’t be covered. The Washington Post declared this allegation categorically false. Children up to 26 years old can continue to stay on their parents’ healthcare plans. I pledged to keep these provisions in the bill, and delivered on that pledge. In addition, no member of Congress is exempt from the legislation; we play by the same rules. The AHCA also provides $138 billion to reduce premiums and deductibles, while providing additional funding for maternity care, opioid addition, and mental health. The legislation provides generous health care subsidies to those who lack access to employer provided healthcare, allowing purchase of coverage for individuals and families.

The AHCA also delivers on another pledge I made. By requiring state government to take ownership of its Medicaid costs, we are reducing county property taxes in the 19th District by more than $224 million, a 44 percent average tax cut. Property taxpayers have been footing the bill for Albany’s unrestrained Medicaid spending for 51 years. It’s unfair, unsustainable, and killing the Upstate economy. My amendment allows over two years for Albany to plan for this takeover and can be accommodated within the state’s existing budget.

Now the AHCA moves on to the Senate, where additional improvements are expected. I welcome them. Those interested in reversing the failed status quo and providing affordable healthcare access for millions of our fellow Americans should welcome them, too.

John J. Faso,
Member of Congress
Kinderhook

Rep. Faso does whatever it is Trump demands

To The Editor:

Representative John Faso has again showed that he is more interested in being a Trump loyalist than representing Delaware County. He promised to maintain healthcare benefits for a constituent with brain cancer and then callously voted for the TRUMODON’TCARE bill that will deny coverage to those with preexisting conditions. The wealthy elite will do great, thanks to a massive tax break, but the average Delaware County resident will be harmed.

TRUMP DON’T CARE? Faso doesn’t care. The bill reduces overall income to rural hospitals, but why would Faso be concerned about the future of Margaretville Hospital when he has his position in the Republican Party to consider?

We should expect more votes from him that will hurt our neighbors. Faso is likely to support the “tax plan” that Trump rushed out. Eliminating the inheritance tax is the only concrete proposal in the 100-word document. Doing so would give a windfall of at least $3.5 million to 5,600 of the country’s super wealthy. You can bet that none of them live in the Delaware County!

It’s strange to think that Faso should care more about distant billionaires than his own local constituents, but that is what Trump expects from his loyalists. Faso is eager to do what Trump demands.

Monica Lee Sheehan,
Margaretville

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