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Real reform for health care

The governor's health-care proposal fails to make the most essential change we need: abolishing the private, for-profit insurance that drains so much money from health care.

Check the executive compensation, the profits, and the build-up of "reserves" to see where the money goes instead of for your health care. All the complexities of the proposal are eliminated by having the New York Health Act be the vehicle for financing health care. Not only is everyone covered for less, but costs for cities, towns, and counties (and your sales and property taxes) are reduced significantly.

Monroe County and Rochester will benefit financially, and so will taxpayers.


Green actions

'It ain't easy being green': Kermit the Frog was right in pointing this out – especially as it relates to the governor's proposals to ban so-called single-use plastic bags and expand the bottle bill.

The governor believes that banning single-use plastic bags would promote recycling. Instead, recycling those bags is hurting recycling right now. People are putting them into recycling bins and carts, which is jamming up the sorting equipment at the state's recycling centers, resulting in equipment shutdowns every day. Plastic bags and plastic wrap should go to a store drop-off bin, which is captured and recycled separately.

The plastic bags that should be banned are the trash bags used to capture yard waste – principally, leaves. The state's commercial haulers and municipalities should insist on paper yard-waste bags or reusable containers. This will increase composting, which is another form of recycling.

Senator Todd Kaminsky from Long Island also wants a 10-cent surcharge on paper bags, which are made with recycled content and are recyclable. That's foolish; more of this tonnage can be used to help make the paper bags.

The bottle bill, as proposed, would place the 5-cent deposit on fruit and vegetable drinks, which would both hurt farmers and further drive people toward drinks that health officials view as less healthy.

Instead, while the deposit should apply to all other single-serve drinks, a "New York Good Health Exemption" should be placed on plain milk and plain milk-related products (which the proposal does); plain fruit and vegetable drinks (so farmers aren't hurt); plain single-serve bottled water drinks. Plain water isn't a discretionary drink, and these are necessary in an emergency.

Confusion, carelessness, and containerization are what's hurting the state's "green" efforts, both residentially and commercially. Prudent changes such as those mentioned above will help everyone to be "green," rather than complicating matters further.



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