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Letters: Don’t cut Illinois pharmacy reimbursements

As the first line of health care delivery, particularly in underserved urban and rural areas of Illinois, pharmacists strive every day for the advancement of patient care. Leaders in Springfield are considering a budget that would cut reimbursements for prescriptions for the fourth time in just the past four years. Pharmacies and their patients have done their fair share — we hope local lawmakers reject this proposal.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

If further cuts are implemented, pharmacies will have to reconsider their ability to serve Medicaid patients, cut staff and hours, or possibly even close their doors. Any of these alternatives will hurt patients, whether Medicaid eligible or not, but most especially our community’s seniors and low-income children. These decisions will not be easy but pharmacies cannot provide services for less than it costs them to deliver those same services.

Pharmacists offer services that are critical to everyone’s health care: prescription medications, counseling, preventive vaccines and health screenings. Further cuts to the Medicaid pharmacy program will be detrimental to community-based pharmacies, pharmacists, and most importantly, the patients they serve. It’s time to stop treating pharmacies and their patients like second-class citizens.

Rob Karr, president/CEO, Illinois Retail Merchants Association

Garth Reynolds, executive director, Illinois Pharmacists Association

Survival of the richest

The old natural law of “survival of the fittest” is being re-written in the United States  to read “survival of the richest.” Ever since the United States Supreme Court passed “Citizens United,” opening the floodgates of immense wealth into our society, we have seen  how those with big money can change our lives.

From Bill Gates trying to control our education system to Rand Paul’s son getting a slap on the wrist for a charge that would have put a less wealthy young man into jail, we see that those with money hold sway over the rest of us.

The naivete of the Supreme Court justices who voted for Citizens United was stunning. They seemed to truly believe that no harm would come of that decision. Now we see that each candidate for the presidency must find his/her own billionaire or there will be no campaign.

As long as our governmental leaders are chosen by those with unlimited wealth, many who are chosen will perpetuate the complete domination of our nation by the wealthy.

Citizens United must be overturned, and our nation must return to a strict control over money as it relates to the election of our leaders. This will be a Herculean task, and it must occur everywhere from the local school board election through state elections, to the election of our president. Americans who love true democracy must  refuse to be influenced by money and work for the benefit of every one of our citizens, regardless of their wealth. Otherwise, we are doomed to be a nation made up of a top half percent with extreme wealth while the rest of us fight among ourselves for  whatever the wealthy allow to trickle down.

Karen Wagner, Rolling Meadows

Major health threat

An indisputable May 18 editorial asserted that too many environmentally destructive pesticides are a major health threat to humans in addition to harming and imperiling many wildlife species, birds, soil and water safety. These ecologically pernicious pesticides also threaten vital birds and insects that are beneficial pollinators. The pesticide and insecticide industries need to reform and safeguard the health of humans, animals, nature and the ecosystems that they impact.
Brien Comerford, Glenview

Ideological campaign

Newbie Illinois governor Bruce Rauner may have had the worst first 100 gubernatorial days in Illinois history. He spent $26 million of his own billionaire wealth promoting his plan bust the unions, reduce aid to the needy, lavish tax cuts on the wealthy program to get elected.

Those who assumed he was just posturing to get elected, before pivoting to actually compromise on sensible solutions for Illinois, have been woefully mistaken. Once sworn in, Rauner redoubled his extreme ideological campaign mantra that has alienated not only the general electorate, save for the greedy rich, but most of the General Assembly as well.

Rauner is so pathetic, he’s reduced to dropping $400 grand last week on Republican legislators, out of his $20 million ‘spread the goodies’ slush fund, to keep the nervous troops in line. Sadly for Illinois, Rauner remains trapped in his billionaire venture capitalist mindset that he can dismantle Illinois governance like he could the many good companies, whose employees had to suffer to pile up his billionaire wealth. Rauner’s “My way or the highway” approach is nothing more than a potholed road to ruin. And the tires on his gubernatorial luxury limo have already gone flat.

Walt Zlotow,  Glen Ellyn