Democrats should

clarify Medicaid bill

If Republicans are intent on attacking the health-care bill's proposed Medicare cuts, Democrats should make a greater effort to clarify what these cuts actually entail in order to prevent this issue from clouding public sentiment ("GOP's bid on Medicare fails," Friday).

These cuts are simply aimed at reducing subsidies paid to insurance companies that participate in Medicare Advantage, thereby stimulating competition and lowering costs in the long run.

That's quite a different picture from that painted by those opposed to health-care reform, who insist that Medicare spending cuts are synonymous with fewer benefits. If Democrats can drive their point home, much of the negativity surrounding the health-care bill will dissipate, and reform will be that much smoother.

Jung Lee


Help students,

not the banks

I commend The Inquirer for its editorial "Paying for college," which supported pending federal legislation in the Senate to expand key educational reforms (Dec. 1).

Pennsylvania's economic and social health relies on our college graduates. But as budget cuts cause tuition increases, and parental assistance wanes, students must plunge into debt to pay for a degree. In 2008, a staggering 71 percent of Pennsylvania's graduates carried a staggering average of $25,219 in student debt.

Now is not the time to expect college graduates to shoulder such a burden. The unemployment rate for those under 24 was at 18.5 percent in July. Not surprisingly, graduates are falling behind in repayment.

Federal education leaders have proposed to decrease student reliance on loans by increasing scholarship aid and expanding low-cost community-college opportunities for students. They pay for these changes by cutting $87 billion from entitlement programs for banks and lenders built into the federal financial aid system and instead targeting those funds toward students.

This proposal would significantly help students and families pay for college, and it would cost taxpayers nothing.

Megan DeSmedt

PennPIRG state director


Private support

can reclaim Dad Vail

In August, a storm took down 500 trees and damaged hundreds more in New York's Central Park. Recently, JP Morgan Chase made a $1 million gift toward the restoration effort. In the announcement of the gift, the company stated: "We believe in trying to do the right thing in the communities we serve."

A tremendous show of private-sector support for Philadelphia would take place if the 10 largest corporations in Southeastern Pennsylvania would agree to pledge $25,000 each so that the Dad Vail Regatta, so vital to Philadelphia for more than 50 years, could return to the Schuylkill in the spring of 2011.

Philip Price Jr.


Villanova story

was underplayed

I question your placement of the Villanova-New Hampshire football game story on Saturday. I was one of the loyal fans (2,660) in the snowstorm and enjoyed the Wildcats' win in a rematch with the only team that has beaten them this season.

In Sunday's sports section, however, there was no mention on the section front of Villanova's win on its quest for a national championship.

Instead were the 76ers (nine straight losses), Allen Iverson's return, and the Flyers (losers of seven of their last eight).

The Villanova write-up is on Page 3. Even Tiger was back on Page 9.

Jim Dwyer


New reason

to restore Boyd

Congratulations to Comcast for having reached terms to purchase NBC Universal. Philadelphians can be proud that the striking Comcast skyscraper will also be a corporate headquarters overseeing a major Hollywood studio, a set of television networks, and theme parks.

This sale makes it even more important for Philadelphia to restore and reopen the historic Boyd Theatre at 19th and Chestnut Streets so Hollywood-style events can be hosted at an authentic 1920s movie palace. Let's get behind the Boyd's rejuvenation.

Howard B. Haas