Letters:

Rep. Malia unresponsiveness

In the June 8 Gazette article on a state rep forum, Malia “highlighted how proud she was of being reachable and responsive.”

As a public health advocate and concerned citizen, I am concerned about a MassHealth (Medicaid) administrative policy that approves payments for unnecessary medical services. This violates state and federal regulation requirements that all paid services shall be medically necessary.  These violations waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money. The MassHealth response to my concern avoided the issue and defended such payments with no reason related to the violation of regulations.

I asked State Representative Liz Malia by preliminary email if she would respond to a concern with her opinion on the merits of an issue. She said she would “respond thoughtfully and promptly.” I then sent her a detailed statement which included a description of my communications with MassHealth and another request for Malia’s opinion. I received no response for over three weeks.

I visited her office and was told by a staff person that I would receive a letter. The “letter” was simply a copy of the previously mentioned MassHealth response with a brief note from Malia suggesting that I contact the Attorney General. The Attorney General’s office told me it does not deal with this type of violation.

I sent Malia a message reminding her of my initial request for her opinion, that MassHealth avoided the focus of my inquiry on medical necessity, and another request for her opinion.  I received no response. I sent another email message asking about a response. Again, she did not respond. Four telephone messages to her office received no response.

As we know, actions speak louder than words. It is clear that Malia repeatedly chose to avoid responding to my request for her opinion. This is unacceptable. Constituents deserve better. As Turnbull said, “Transparency is needed for the health of a good democracy.”

Ronald Goldman

Jamaica Plain resident

Climate change

A heat wave has again hit the Northeast, with potentially record-breaking temperatures in urban areas, causing dangerously poor air quality. With record floods during the winter and record heat during the summer, we are constantly reminded of why climate action is more pressing than ever, especially in a state like Massachusetts.

Burning fossil fuels releases the carbon dioxide that causes climate change. The same fuels, used in vehicles and power plants, yield other dangerous pollutants such as ground level ozone and particulates, which cause respiratory problems and disproportionately harm children, the elderly and those with pre-existing illnesses.

The impacts of climate change are already seen in our communities, and we can no longer wait to act on these issues.

Carbon pollution pricing is a vital mechanism through which we can harness market forces to cut fossil fuel use, addressing both climate change and damage to human health.

That’s why I call on the legislature to put a price on carbon this session. The Senate has already passed a bill that does so, S.2564. The House should join it, passing Representative Benson’s bill, H.1726, and then a final bill should be sent to Governor Baker to sign.

Michael Green

Jamaica Plain resident

Executive Director of Climate Action Business Association

The grim future

Just as all good things generally come to an end, so do bad things such as what is taking place in this country: the government assault on human rights, the blatant violations of the tenets put forth in the Constitution of the United States, the full scale attack on our environment, the IQ regression of a large segment of our population driven by scare tactics and bullying by a leader whose megalomania and delusions of self-worth and importance can often astound even the most brilliant among our psychiatrists and sociologists.

Will the millions of his supporters ask the question so often asked after such a disaster, “How could we have known?” This time, unlike German citizens after Hitler, there is absolutely no excuse! They chose to take the bait hook, line and sinker. Let them now figure out how to deal with their catastrophic health problems, more hurricanes, flooding, rising seas, polluted air, emptied bank accounts, and jobs that even the most desperate migrant would turn down. To them I say, lots of luck.  This is what you get when you support blindly a political regime that operates on hatred, greed, and ignorance.

Michel L. Spitzer

Jamaica Plain resident

Lifting the Cap on Kids

The Massachusetts Legislature is just now finalizing the budget for FY19.  People should celebrate an important provision in that budget — Lifting the Cap on Kids (i.e., repeal of the welfare family cap) – thanks in no small part to the leadership of Jamaica Plain’s own Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means.  The family cap denies welfare assistance to 8,700 children across the state simply because they were conceived after their families got assistance.  Without the $100/month increment they would otherwise have gotten for these children, families struggle to provide basic necessities like diapers, clothes, and healthy food.  As a social worker working with low-income Boston families since 1995 – the same year Massachusetts adopted the family cap rule – I have seen the harm to children caused by this type of deprivation.  I am grateful to Rep. Sanchez — as well as to Rep. Liz Malia — for taking action to end this cruel law.

Sandra Lyons

Jamaica Plain resident

 

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