2003-12-05 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B
Simon says...

Simon says...

Lew M. SimonLew M. Simon

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

There is a lot to talk since we have not had our weekly column. We’d like to start off by thanking everyone who has called me or met me on the street to let me know they are upset that I do not have a weekly column anymore. I thank everyone for their concern and hope that maybe The WAVE will reconsider and go back to weekly.

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I had the honor and pleasure of being invited and attending two different dinners. The first was the home of John Aayes. After many years of living in an SRO he now has moved to an apartment in Bay Towers where he cooked his first Thanksgiving dinner after years of going to other’s homes.

It was great to break bread with him and his family and see the great big smile on this kind and giving man. He takes time every year to play Santa for the poor and disabled children of the community.

My second stop was at the home of my great friends Karen Rosenthal and Jennifer Fisher, where I have been included in family events in the past. Karen’s son-in-law Carlos is a wonderful cook and manager at The Beach Club. His lovely wife Dawn and two wonderful boys made the night special. This year Carlos’ sister and her son also attended.

It was a great time of fun, laughter and good food.

Thank you all for inviting me. I’m always available for a home cooked meal as long as it is chicken, fish or turkey.

One of the issues in my City Council race in 2001 was my strong support for making prescription drugs available to Seniors and disabled either at no cost or for a small co-pay. This week Congress passed a misleading and confusing version of prescription coverage for Seniors, while slowly destroying Medicare. People will still have to choose between paying their rent, eating or buying needed medication.

Millions of people may lose prescription drug coverage now provided by their former employers. More than six million elderly people will lose the coverage they now get under Medicaid A. To get prescription coverage Social Security recipients will have to pay out of their Social Security checks. They will get no help in paying the first $250 of drug costs. They would have to pay only 25% of the cost between $250 and $2,250 but would get no help in paying for costs between $2,250 and $3,600.

We must remember that many Seniors live on checks from $611 to $750 per month. They can’t afford to pay over $50 for Part B and pay additional for prescriptions. Imagine having to pay your rent, buying food and filling prescriptions. I remember my mother’s struggle and know many senior citizens who are struggling today. The old saying, "You don’t know how hard it is until you walk in someone else’s shoes" fits here.

Some seniors have found ways to get cheaper drugs from Canada. This will be illegal unless the Secretary of Health and Human Services certified that these drugs are safe. He has already said that he will not do so. The prices for many prescriptions have been climbing out of sight. The Veterans Administration and many foreign nations have negotiated for lower prices. The new law says that Medicare is not allowed to negotiate lower prices for our Seniors.

A few years ago several HMO’s promised Seniors that they would provide more benefits than Medicare. Many people joined them. Some of these companies didn’t pay their bills and others withdrew from some communities leaving their members without medical care. Now the government is planning to give $12 billion in subsidies to companies to compete with Medicare.

The companies will try to find ways to take patients who don’t need too much care. The people who need a lot of care will be left on Medicare and Medicare will lose money. The government is borrowing the $400 billion this new law will cost. When they have to pay it back, taxes will have to go up. There will be a big fight and people needing help may not get it.

In looking at the Democratic candidates for President it was very hard to choose someone we could agree with completely. We definitely support George Bush’s move to protect our country and his efforts to stop the terrorists in Afghanistan. We agree that it is necessary to stop terrorism. Some Democratic candidates have flip-flopped on the war in Iraq.

We support Howard Dean on many issues other than the war in Iraq. We are looking for all enrolled Democrats from B. 86 Street through Breezy Point, Broad Channel, parts of Howard Beach and Ozone Park who would like to sign petitions (Anthony Weiner’s 9th C.D.) to call up on Thursday evenings. The last day will be December 19. Volunteers are needed. The slate of candidates for delegate supporting Howard Dean are City Councilwoman Melinda Katz, District Leader Lew M. Simon, Elizabeth Rowley, a City Council candidate and cousin of Rep. Joe Crowley, David Rothstein and District Leader Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey. The Alternate is Howard Pollack Special Assistant to Council Speaker Gifford Miller. Our office is located at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive. Our phone number is (719) 945-1216.

We wish a speedy recovery to Re nee Lacey, President of the Breezy Point Golden Age club who fell last Monday and broke her wrist. We love you. We thank you for all the great work you do for the seniors.

We are saddened by the loss of William Murtagh, one of the nicest, kindest gentleman you could ever find. Bill was a school psychologist. He was extremely active with the Daniel O’Connell American Legion Post 272. Bill loved to jog around the neighborhood through thick and thin. In my involvement in community issues Bill always managed to give me words of enthusiasm and encouragement. Bill and his lovely wife Jeanne were a lovely couple. His love of family and his community.

We know that God has a special place for him in heaven as a special angel. My heart and deepest sympathy goes out to his loving family.

We look forward to discussing efforts to rename a street in his memory.

We welcome your membership in the Good Government Regular Democratic club. Dues are $25 for a family, $18 single and $12 for Seniors and Young Dems. Drop in any Thursday evening or mail your check to 112-20 Beach Channel Drive.

We will have a bus ride to Mohegan Sun on January 10 or 17. The cost will be $30. Call our office and press #2 for the date.

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