Putting Blue Cross in proper perspective

I would like to offer some perspective not provided in the recent article about Independence Blue Cross' positive financial results ("Independence Blue Cross posts 2010 profits," May 27).

Our mission at IBC is to enhance the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve. To keep our customers healthy, our company needs to be healthy, too. Last year, we took decisive, strategic steps to keep our company sound and to keep health care within our customers' reach, while continuing to meet their health-care needs and maintaining our strong 73-year commitment to our mission of service.

Since 2005, we have spent nearly a half-billion dollars on programs to improve the health and wellness of our community, including helping thousands of low-income individuals and children without insurance.

No other local or national health-care company has done more than IBC to help our community. That's why, for 2009, our local donations earned us recognition from the Philadelphia Business Journal as the area's top corporate charitable contributor.

On behalf of the millions of people we serve, we strive to remain financially stable so we can better serve our customers and our community, as both the region's leading health insurer and one of its leading corporate citizens.

Elizabeth A.W. Williams

Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer

Independence Blue Cross

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One-way toll fees add up over time

The article on Tuesday about the outrageous proposal to impose big tolls on Route 422 ("Pennsylvania planners make a pitch for tolls on Route 422") informs us that the toll would be $2.65 one way. But at no point are we told that with, say, 200 round trips for work, that would amount to $1,060 per year. Throw in weekends and other trips, and the amount is even higher.

The soda-tax idea is small beer compared to this rip-off. Any politicians who support this should start looking for other jobs, because they won't be in office much longer.

John Lindros

Phoenixville

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Forsaking education for entertainment

An article on Monday, "Teachers gather to look at trends," said that poverty, family issues, and lack of student motivation are problems. From an educational perspective, teachers are asking for more time to work with students, learn from colleagues, and to add and incorporate new technology.

This is not an outlandish request.

In Philadelphia and elsewhere, budget cutting is preventing innovation in education. I am baffled that we collect and provide huge amounts for political campaigns, and spend fortunes filling stadiums across the country, yet when it comes to the most important factor contributing to a better society, we never seem to have enough money.

I am afraid that we are becoming not an education-oriented but an entertainment-oriented nation. In any successful country, educating the young is the top priority. It is sad to see a city as great and filled with resources as Philadelphia squandering golden opportunities and quibbling over whether to charge more for non-necessities such as sodas, especially when the additional funds that could be raised would keep our schools, staffs, and libraries open and fully functioning.

Barbara Long

West Chester

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PPA takes the joy out of visiting

Recently, we drove into Center City for a family get-together. Amazingly, I found a legal parking space and deposited the maximum payment in the kiosk. Our dinner must have run a minute or two after the meter expired, at the most. The ever-diligent Philadelphia Parking Aurhority had been quick to the scene, though, and a ticket was on the car. I paid that ticket the following day.

So imagine my surprise when I received a summons saying the ticket was unpaid. To add to the insult, a penalty was assessed. Of course, I'm going to fight this, even though it will require dealing with the hassles of Traffic Court and losing time at work. I hope it will be worth the effort.

Not only does the PPA hover like a vulture, attacking as soon as the meter expires, but apparently it can't get its paperwork straight.

Coming into town used to be a joy. Now, I wonder whether it's worth the aggravation - constant congestion, agitated motorists, and a city organization that thinks it's almighty.

Jeanne Drake

Philadelphia

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Charging consumers for political favorites

Regarding the editorial in support of solar energy ("Solar makes sense," May 30), here are some thoughts:

Several years ago, enterprising businessmen saw an easy road to profits by installing solar panels. Most of the cost would be paid by the state and federal governments and electricity consumers would be forced to pay them a subsidy for every kilowatt-hour produced.

The extra amount consumers must pay for solar energy is called the Solar Renewable Energy Credit.

Unfortunately for these solar entrepreneurs, so many people tried to take advantage of the subsidy that the price of SRECs declined.

Now, if the price of SRECs had increased, solar power producers would have enjoyed larger profits than they expected. But, now that the reverse has happened, they have turned to politicians to force consumers to provide them with the profits they had hoped for.

The legislation to increase the solar mandate for the next three years introduced by state Rep. Chris Ross (R., Chester) has nothing to do with jobs or global warming. It is only about taking money from electricity consumers and giving it to a politically favored industry.

Richard Abraham

Havertown