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Spend city money on retireee health care, not lawsuits

Holding sign saying 'We Love ObamaCare' supporters health care reform rally front Supreme Court WashingtTuesday March 27 2012 as court

Holding a sign saying "We Love ObamaCare" supporters of health care reform rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 27, 2012, as the court continued hearing arguments on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama. | AP

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Updated: February 17, 2013 6:27AM

Where are city’s priorities?

It is fascinating that the city of Chicago would settle millions in lawsuits due to police misconduct, but the city has the nerve to consider cutting the health care of non-fire and police retirees? Where are the city’s priorities?

Use money generated from the red light cameras to fund the health care coverage of retired union members. At least residents will know exactly where their money is being spent.

Shanika Finley, Austin

ObamaCare not working

I voted for the present administration two times, and not because I thought I would get “free stuff.” I already have good health insurance through my union work, but my part-time job during the winter, as my union work slows to a standstill, puts me behind the wheel of a Zamboni in a west suburban park district ice rink.

The day after Barack Obama was re-elected, literally, my part-time employer told me I could no longer work more than 19 hours a week because of Barack Obama. I asked why. He told me that all employees that work more than 19 hours have to be provided with health insurance according to this new federal health insurance plan, and the park district cannot afford it. I thought to myself, I don’t think this new health care program is working.

Let’s face it, the people who do the hiring do not care whether their employees are insured; it’s all about making more money. And as long as greed is the motivating factor in this new Ayn Rand style of capitalism, the little people are going to do most of the suffering, and not a tear will be shed by the Plutocrats.

Louis DeRosa, Westchester

Eat vegan, eat healthy

As a physician and 27-year vegetarian, I was very excited to see Mayor Rahm Emanuel promoting vegan diets on WGN-TV last week. The mayor got it exactly right: Eating plant-based foods is a great way for us to bring down health care costs and improve our overall fitness levels.

Sujatha Ramakrishna, M.D., Oak Park

Assault on city retirees

The latest assault on our most vulnerable citizens has begun, yet again, in earnest. With the release of the recommendations put forth by the city of Chicago Retiree Healthcare Benefits Commission, it has become very clear that Chicago’s public service retirees have, once again, become the scapegoat for all things that financially ail the city of Chicago. First it was their “lavish, overly-generous” pensions that were to blame for Chicago’s fiscal woes, and now we are being told that it’s their healthcare that will ultimately bankrupt the city. Never mind that these so-called “perks” were part of their original hiring agreement between them and the city, retirees are now being threatened with the reduction and/or elimination of their retirement security; all this at a time in their lives when they are least able to afford such changes.

We live in a society that is rife with scandal and corruption. Almost daily we hear of fraud and mismanagement on a gargantuan level within all facets of our financial world. Whether it’s Medicaid or welfare fraud, global market manipulation, reckless lending practices or the misuse of government funds, we are given constant examples of a system that is in dire need of repair. Yet it is our retirees, the ones who have already done the work they were asked to, the ones who have paid every cent that was required of them, the ones who worked their whole lives so that they could retire with some sort of dignity and security, who are now being asked to “sacrifice” for the greater good. We bail out companies like AIG and the auto industry with government funds after years of suspect business practices, yet we target retired, tax-paying citizens as the solution to our problems. It sickens me to think that this is what we have become as a city, state and country. Every American citizen needs to take notice of what is going on here. We are sending the message that it is perfectly fine to promise something to someone in order to get them to perform a task, and then renege on that promise once the task is completed. The only thing our retirees have done wrong is to live too long; they have outlived their usefulness. How dare they actually expect the benefits they were promised and have earned? Our retirees have become collateral damage in our throw-away society.

Tom Ryan, presidentChicago Firefighters Union Local 2

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