Reform would not violate Constitution

Re: "Reform legislation is unconstitutional," Monday:

Regularly heard is the assertion that health-care reform violates the Constitution. While people might legitimately argue that the current proposal is good or bad, or that it does too much or too little, the argument that it is unconstitutional is nonsense.

Congress has plenary power to tax and spend, broad power to provide for the general welfare, and unlimited power to regulate matters affecting interstate commerce. Thus, while Social Security and Medicare were heatedly debated at their inception, no one can seriously argue that these programs are unconstitutional.

The Constitution does not forbid new, different, or even bad solutions. The health-care debate would be better informed and respect for the Constitution more firmly grounded if everyone recognized the difference between political opinion and constitutional law.

John W. Morris


Higher costs, worse service

There are a couple of issues with the lead letter Dec. 9.

First, it was erroneously headlined as referring to Medicaid rather than Medicare.

But the major problem is the author's well-meaning assertion that the Democrats' proposed Medicare 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."

Indicative of how far more complicated and perverse our current health insurance is, is the fact that those Medicare Advantage subsidy cuts in Montgomery County resulted in far fewer choices for Medicare beneficiaries seeking Medicare HMOs for 2010 (there is no Medicare PPO choice for 2010). The largest impact is on low-income people, but almost all beneficiaries will pay higher premiums while experiencing increased co-pays and deductibles.

Many individuals are not sure that their wallets can sustain the wait for competition and/or lowered costs "in the long run" that the letter- writer forecasts.

Diane C. Moskal


Who else would cover these stories?

What would we citizens do without journalists and the newspapers that pay them?

We would still be paying for those nighttime pay raises for our legislators a couple of years back. It took years to convict former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo.

Thank you this time for the carefully organized series on the disorder in Philadelphia's criminal justice system ("Justice delayed, dismissed, denied," Sunday).

Jack Connor


Justice series was a little too late

I have to shake my head over the timing of your series on the criminal justice system in Philadelphia. It comes after Lynne M. Abraham has run her last campaign, and after many general-election endorsements of her by The Inquirer.

This series would have been a public service 15 years ago. Abraham wasn't drafted or appointed to serve as district attorney; she was voted in and reelected repeatedly by the people of Philadelphia. Philadelphians got the justice system they voted for and have no reason to complain about it now. As long as Philadelphia voters keep on voting Democratic, they'll continue to get a system run by fat, lazy, and happy politicians who see the citizens as a bunch of dupes too stupid or indifferent to take notice of a corrupt and inefficient government. And they would be right.

Fran Steffler


Philadelphia a magical place

My wife and I recently visited Philly because I had a doctor's appointment at Jefferson. The weather was absolutely the worst on that Sunday, with slashing rain from the outset. I thought that we would have been better off just leaving Monday morning, the day of the appointment.

This proved wrong. From the time we arrived to the next day when we left, we could not have encountered a friendlier city anywhere.

Cabdrivers, staff where we stayed, parking-lot attendants, hospital receptionist, coffee servers, waiters, bartenders, etc., greeted us with smiles and genuine warmth. The receptionist at Jefferson was singing Christmas carols to no one in particular at 7:45 a.m. I am not a really big fan of Christmas, but it seemed that Philadelphia had become this magical place where people actually liked each other. When we left I felt sad that I was leaving all this kindness behind.

Nick Regine

Somers Point