Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 16, 2006

Time to reconsider Medicare drug plan

It was bad enough that Congress, bowing to the drug and insurance companies, passed one of the most confusing pieces of legislation since the last tax code update, creating a drug benefit system with dubious benefits and mind-numbing complexity ("Medicare penalty fight seen," May 15).

Worse, to stampede the befuddled seniors and their families into this confusing mess, Congress also enacted a deadline of May 15, after which a participant in the plan will incur a severe lifetime penalty.

At the very least, Congress should now extend the deadline.

And in all fairness, Congress needs to promptly revisit the Medicare drug program as a whole - this time putting the seniors' health needs first rather than the drug and insurance companies' bottom lines.

Steven G. Tyler

Severna Park

The idea of enforcing a deadline on a complicated program such as Medicare Plan D is just ridiculous.

And charging a penalty for not signing up by the May 15 deadline really negates the voluntary aspect of this program.

Phyllis Sachs

Baltimore

Prescription plan too complex, costly

I am - and have been for a year - appalled by the plan offered by this administration and Congress to seniors who need prescription drugs ("Medicare penalty fight seen," May 15).

The bill was obviously crafted to put money in the coffers of pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies, not to make life easier and less expensive for seniors.

The confusion and costs related to this policy are incredibly high and have caused many people, including me, to refuse to get involved.

It is time for Congress to start over and create a real prescription drug policy that will work for people, not companies.

Joan K. Parr

Baltimore

Moussaoui merited no mercy from jury

Cal Thomas is once again on the money in his column about the judgment by the jurors in the Moussaoui case ("`Oprah disease' clouded the judgment of jurors in Moussaoui case," Opinion * Commentary, May 10).

I am so sick and tired of hearing bleeding hearts use the excuses of a bad childhood or home life for awful crimes.

I do not care how bad a childhood or home life someone had when he was growing up; that's never an excuse to commit any crime.

Adults need to be held fully responsible for their decisions and must not be able to use lame excuses to excuse them.

If anyone deserved death, it was Zacarias Moussaoui.

Why are bleeding hearts always so eager to excuse awful crimes?

Damon M. Costantini

Catonsville

Cal Thomas has accurately described the Zacarias Moussaoui case, and his choice of the phrase "Oprah disease" is strong and descriptive.

This "disease" of what he describes as the "soft moral underpinnings" of great numbers of those in our society has only become more apparent.

Mr. Moussaoui is a confessed Islamo-fascist. He is our enemy, bent on killing as many of us as possible.

His dysfunctional background should not have been a consideration for the jury.

T. K. Ward

Timonium

Life in prison is right rebuke

In his column about Zacarias Moussaoui not getting the death penalty, Cal Thomas displays his usual myopia, as well as contradictions and half-baked notions about "America's soft moral underpinnings" ("`Oprah disease' clouded the judgment of jurors in Moussaoui case," Opinion * Commentary, May 10).

To get our attention, he coins the phrase "Oprah disease," which he says "is all about feelings and little about objective truth."

But the truth in this case is that America had the moral courage to allow a despicable terrorist like Mr. Moussaoui to have a trial in the first place.

The fact that the jury determined, for whatever reasons, that life in prison was the proper verdict is simply the way our system works.

In fact, I would suggest that solitary confinement in a small concrete box for the rest of his miserable life is indeed just punishment for an insane zealot who would have welcomed death for his cause.

Bill Blackwell

Timonium

City's energy lawsuit may hurt consumers

Success by Baltimore in its case challenging the Public Service Commission's approval of a plan for deferred payment of the coming 72 percent increase in Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s electricity rates could spell disaster for ratepayers ("Court muzzles BGE on rates," May 11).

Legislation passed in 1999 during the Glendening administration provided that, beginning on July 1, 2006, the rates BGE charges residential customers would no longer be capped. Instead, those rates would be determined by the price BGE had paid for its supply in the competitive market.

That price was established months ago when BGE contracted with suppliers, and the corresponding 72 percent increase in its rates cannot properly be reduced by the commission or the court.

What is now before the court is the city's complaint that the commission's proceedings in which it approved BGE's rate deferral plan were procedurally inadequate and that a new hearing should be ordered.

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