Here’s a look at opinion content published in The Journal News on Saturday, Jan. 8, Sunday, Jan. 9 and today, Monday, Jan. 10:
Saturday, Jan. 8
Health reform repeal: Commentary
Daniel Fass, director of the Institute for Image Guided Radio Therapy in Rye and a representative of Doctors for America, a national grass-roots organization that was an outgrowth of the Obama presidential campaign, offers a Community View in which he encourages Congress not to repeal elements of health-care reform passed in 2010. Fass writes:
… “Repeal and replace” was the rallying cry prior to the midterms. Now six months after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law and 18 months after the health-care debate began, there is no proposed replacement in sight. Repeal by itself will apparently have to do.
Repeal of the Affordable Care Act will result in a return to the unsustainable status quo that left 30 million Americans without insurance. Repeal will also lead to the bankruptcy of the Medicare Trust Fund by 2017 and leave the skyrocketing costs of health-care insurance for business and families unchecked.
What is the reason given for repeal of health-care reform? Its opponents would like us to believe that it represents a government takeover of health care that will interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and will lead to rationing. As a practicing physician in Westchester and Connecticut for more than 25 years, I have visited medical centers and physician offices throughout the world and have more than a passing familiarity with centralized health-care delivery. I can categorically state that the Affordable Care Act in no way represents a government takeover of the delivery of care in the United States. Rather the law represents a well-thought-out plan that will bring order to our current hodgepodge of payment and delivery systems that overutilize expensive services with little or no improvement in the health of the very patients we seek to serve. …
Education reform: Commentary
Doyle McManus, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, offers a commentary on education reform, which he argues should be a top national priority, especially in the face of widening economic inequality.
Sunday, Jan. 9
Rockland and Moody’s
We comment on news that Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Rockland County’s credit rating. We write:
Moody’s downgrading of Rockland County’s credit rating — and the more alarming “negative outlook” assigned to county finances — makes clear that Rockland’s $711 million budget, fanciful when proposed by Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef before the November election, is no less dubious today. The bond-rating agency is particularly critical of a key budget proposal — the sale of the Summit Park nursing home and hospital facility to a yet-to-be-created public benefit corporation; it doubts the deal can be accomplished in time to deliver anticipated revenue. Vanderhoef and the county Legislature need to start serious discussions now on fallback plans, to avoid certain panic later.
Moody’s is not alone in its skepticism. Many county legislators have doubted whether the Summit Park deal can conclude in time to deliver revenue — $18 million — upon which the 2011 budget depends. Legislators expressed doubts about the Vanderhoef proposal, but signed off on the budget nonetheless. Delays with the sale would heighten deficit fears. The new budget, passed in December, already has an anticipated shortfall of $38 million. Some expect that number to swell to nearly $80 million by year’s end, if no action is taken. …
Phil Reisman does a bit forecasting in the coming race to replace Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone.
Steven Bavaria of Chestnut Ridge, a former journalist and financial executive, offers a Community View that examines the struggle between the public and private sectors over pensions.
Indian Point: Commentary
Margo Schepart of Yorktown Heights, co-founder of the Westchester Citizens Awareness Network and a member of the steering committee, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, offers a Community View in which she argues for closed-cycle cooling systems at Indian Point.
Juvenile justice: Commentary
Jeremy Kohomban, president and CEO of The Children’s Village in Dobb’s Ferry, argues in favor of reforming the state’s juvenile-justice system in a Community View.
Monday, Jan. 10
Michael Steele: Commentary
Gannett Washington columnist Chuck Raasch assesses Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s chances for remaining in that post as a host of competitors hope to unseat him.
Property-tax circuit breaker: Commentary
Rachel Estroff of Harrison writes in favor of legislation to provide a circuit breaker for property taxes.