BART workers' compensation not justifiable
Since BART is only used by about 2 percent of all Bay Area commuters it really doesn't matter what actions are taken.
This is a result of not having a real system like New York, London or Paris, for example. BART hardly goes anywhere. Additionally, I have no idea what most of its employees do. The tickets are read automatically and the trains drive themselves. And all maintenance should be contracted out to a third party.
Anyhow, thus I believe that the current benefits and wages are way too high and should be cut. If the workers will not accept this, then close the system down until they come to their senses.
Obama's failed leadership is shutdown cause
As one observing what is happening with our government, it strikes me that the consequences of electing a person to the executive branch who refuses to be a leader can be detrimental to all of us.
What this person fails to recognize is that he is president of all the people, not just those who elected him. He also fails to recognize that government is divided; he controls two branches of government.
Given all that, it is incumbent on a president to negotiate when there is division in the houses of Congress; he needs to step in and get the sides together, and he needs to do it before a crisis arising. His failure to be a leader is resulting in what we see today.
Philip R. La Scola
Care providers price gouging
I am 88 years old and hence am covered by Medicare. I have health insurance, United Health Care, which costs me $85 per month.
I recently spent two days in the Pleasanton hospital. On Sept. 20 the hospital mailed me a bill for services rendered. The charge? $34,828.50! There is no way I could be convinced that such a charge is reasonable. Of course $34,188.50 of the charge was paid by United Health Care and/or Medicare, so that the charge to me is "only" $640 (my co-pay).
How does it work? Does United Health Care get the original charge, then submit a claim to Medicare? I do not know. It's an opaque system, and I suspect that those who are being enriched by it want to keep it that way. Yes, I am a skeptic; I doubt that the Affordable Health Care system has addressed the excesses illustrated by recent experience. The present system benefits too many in the health care industry.
Donald F. King
Care Act many things; one it's not is affordable
My wife and I are 58 and 62 years old. Excellent health. We started a small "mom-and-pop" business four years ago. Health insurance through Kaiser is our number-one business expense now that we are no longer on a big employer's health plan.
We've been on the Covered California website to see what we will have to pay, and we were shocked to find out the premiums are 20 percent higher for similar coverage, still through Kaiser. Even worse, the out-of-pocket for a major medical event is much higher, so high it could cause us to go bankrupt!
This is exactly what Obamacare was supposed to cure, to save individuals from going bankrupt from health care bills if they get cancer or need major medical help.
We watched President Obama on the TV telling us that the only issue is popularity with the website that caused glitches. Wrong! The problem is the administration lying to the American public, saying that people will save money or be better off and better covered.
I've been to three dinner parties this month, and at all three we heard the same issues: not only is it hard to get on the site, the coverage is worse for everyone we talked to.
Mental health debate should not just be local
I read with interest today's Contra Costa Times Public Health column regarding AB1421, "Laura's Law," in discussion in Contra Costa County. Are you aware that Alameda County has in place a behavioral health court in accord with what you report Contra Costa is discussing? (http://www.acbhcs.org/news/news09/health_court.htm)
Though now retired, I currently advise NAMI Tri-Valley (www.nami-trivalley.org/), an advocate for criminal justice and mental health folks to work together for the sake of people suffering from mental illness.
Perhaps it's time for folks to talk across county and other jurisdictions to put in place "best practices" to prevent further suffering for all of our sakes now.
Art S. Tenbrink, M.S., M.F.T., retired
Memo to GOP on health care
Dear Speaker Boehner and tea party members: in case you have not noticed, the Affordable Care Act (to which the Republicans have given the very negative name of "Obamacare") is law.
The U.S. Supreme Court declared it constitutional, and it stands -- as the saying goes "build a bridge and get over it!"
Maybe someday all of you might be out of work with no salary or medical coverage at all and you might need the Affordable Care Act, as so many need now. What then? How can your heart be so hardened and cold now that you would want to defund and thus destroy a program that will help so many? Why would you want to do that?
A fine example of responsible citizenship
Recently, when I arrived to do my usual work at the Granada Native Garden in Livermore, I found an unfamiliar vehicle parked in the maintenance area. On the Arroyo Mocho Bike Trail, I met Harry, a senior citizen who lives nearby. Harry had been biking on the trail in the morning and came across broken beer bottles scattered over about 25 feet of the trail.
Harry went back home on his bike and returned in his car with cleanup tools. He was busy sweeping up the broken glass and other litter when I arrived.
I suspect that most people would have lamented the vandalism and passed by, reasonably expecting that someone would eventually clean it up. Harry was that someone. He was not expected to do it, but he knew it was the right thing to do and stepped up, regardless of the inconvenience and some personal hazard.
I thanked Harry wholeheartedly, in the name of the people of Livermore and all those who use the trail. Thanks once again, Harry!
Livermore Granada Native Garden