Saugerties Times letters (8/3-9)

Turn down the volume 

Whenever the Stallions play at Cantine field, we can hear it from our village home. It’s not the game itself, but rather the speaker system. It’s just too loud — we can hear the announcers, and the music tracks played along with their voices, as if it was next door!  I’m asking the village board to lower the volume at the field. I believe we do have a noise ordinance in the village.

Mark Colligan
Saugerties

 

Serving those in need

For now, we have respite from the trench warfare that has become our nation’s health care battle. But insurers are still claiming uncertainty about the status of the law going forward and the government’s commitment to uphold all the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The President continues to threaten to withhold funding of the premium subsidies. His minions continue to feed the false narrative of a “death spiral” for the current health care law, an event that, if it does occur, will be a direct result of deliberate, affirmative actions on the President’s part to make it a reality.

Premiums for many will continue to climb, but not because raising premiums is necessary to make sure the insurers don’t go bankrupt. Take note: since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, insurers and pharmaceutical companies have been posting robust quarterly earnings. Those profits are going to stock dividends paid to their shareholders and six figure salaries paid to the insurance CEOs. The only people losing money are the millions of Americans and small business owners who struggle to keep up with steadily rising health care costs.

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One of the many advantages to a single payer health care system is that the money paid into the system does not go toward enriching the investors; it serves the people who need care.

Deidre J. Byrne
Saugerties

 

Saugerties needs more like Michael Persico

Although I question the need for this paper to run a two page article on Michael Persico, I do wish you allocated more space to talk about his contributions to the local community. As do others, I have always found him to be kind and very personable.

However, I also feel that he is very civic-minded with contributions to Saugerties ranging from providing space for the recent sculpture exhibit on his property to offering a store front for the Saugerties Visitors Center. Saugerties is lucky to have business people like Michael Persico who care about our town and make it the special place it truly is.

Richard Walker
Malden

 

Disappointed by your article

I was surprised and disappointed to read your front page article about Michael Persico.  What possible reason could this paper have to air his personal business in front of the whole town? This is a man who is gracious, generous and community minded. Among examples of his support of the Saugerties community, he donated space for use by the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce, was a supporter of the Car Show and will be helping to raise funds for the Saugerties Farmers Market. Saugerties needs more business people who are as generous and community minded as he is.

Jamie Fine
Malden on Hudson

 

Shared services are essential

Recently, Ulster County submitted an application for a state grant for six plans to consolidate municipal services. Included is a proposal to relocate the Town of Saugerties Highway Department and Village DPW to a shared facility.

Saugerties property taxpayers are at the breaking point and we’re at the stage where any increase hurts! In addition to having the fortitude to say “No!” to excessive spending, town officials must think differently to come up with new ways to lower property taxes.  Consolidations and shared services are essential to this effort. While State and Ulster County leaders have pushed this idea, they must do more to help town governments address rising health care and retirement costs.

I served seven terms in the Ulster County Legislature, worked as a legislative research analyst in the State Assembly and studied our town government for many years. When elected to the Saugerties Town Board, I’ll use this expertise to work with my colleagues to develop new shared services plans with the hope of lessening our overwhelming property tax burden.

Joe Roberti, Jr.
Candidate for Saugerties Town Board
Saugerties

 

 

The cost of prescription drugs

Over the last four and half years, I have listened to many residents of Saugerties and Ulster County complain to me how the costs associated with their prescription drugs have skyrocketed. Specifically, several residents suggested to me that the Federal Government should step in and regulate the over-propagation and over-saturation of television-based advertising that is used to promote prescription drugs, because this advertising contributes to the exorbitant and prohibitively excessive prices of prescription drugs. In the May 2017 edition of the AARP Bulletin, the cover page chronicles their feature article on why prescription drugs cost so much. The article describes in great detail how numerous factors contribute to the excessively obscene costs of many prescription drugs.

Some pharmaceutical drug companies that are well established earn a much higher profit margin relative to other industries throughout Corporate America. For example, the seven top earning pharmaceutical drug companies carve out profit margins that are between 15.1% and 42.6% with six of those companies having profit margins over 26%, (and keep in mind, this is after tax write-offs have been utilized for the depreciation on buildings, manufacturing equipment and all other equipment and resources).

Several factors contribute to this corporate phenomenon associated with the excessive profit margins within the pharmaceutical drug industry. United States Patent Laws allow pharmaceutical drug companies to seek and receive additional patents on pre-existing medications that have been slightly altered from the original formula in order to preserve the continuance of their monopoly on such medications.

In addition, Federal Insurance Laws prohibit Medicare from being able to negotiate for lower prices that would benefit elderly consumers of pharmaceutical drugs and those who simply cannot afford the costs associated with their medications. In 1996, when Congress was debating the current form of Medicare Part D, lobbyists from the pharmaceutical drug companies stepped in and exerted pressure on Federal Legislators to not allow for Medicare to be able to negotiate for lower drug prices, as they argued that it would create unfair price controls within the industry.

It is well documented how much money pharmaceutical drug companies spend on overall marketing costs associated with television and print advertising along these aforementioned lobbying efforts. In 2015, pharmaceutical drug companies spent $ 6.4 Billion on direct advertising to consumers while spending $24 Billion on direct marketing to doctors. In 2015, American spent $457 Billion Dollars on pharmaceutical drugs and from 2008-2016, the costs of well-prescribed drugs increased 208%. And with the median income of Chief CEOs being $ 14.5 Million along with far too many middlemen contributing to the sales, marketing and distribution of prescription drugs, the industry is in need of honest reforms. Who will have the integrity and courage to accomplish this in Washington?

Chris Allen,
Ulster County Legislature, District 2
Saugerties

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