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Dishing With Dee: Plots and plans begin for political campaigns

They are also getting commitments from the good, experienced political volunteer workers out there before they commit to another campaign. It looks like it's going to be a very busy summer.Now ponder this: A few weeks ago, legislators in Albany were wringing their hands trying to figure out how they were going to solve and meet this year's budget requirements in a time of tremendous deficits. There are only two ways to accomplish this feat.One is to raise taxes and the other is to cut or reduce services. The mention of either solution is a death knell to any elected official as getting re-elected is their primary concern. The result is they talk a lot but don't do much to solve the problems. They hope by avoiding the issue, somehow or other all will get taken care of. Maybe the deficit fairy will appear and solve all the problems without any blame accruing to them.During said budget discussions it was accepted by general consensus that Medicaid was their biggest problem, with its mounting runaway costs. Americans are among the most generous people in the world. They would never wish to deprive the poor, children, the elderly or disabled of medical treatments or assistance whether life-threatening or merely maintenance of chronic conditions.Did you know that state taxpayers shelled out $20 million for Viagra in 2004? According to the state Health Department, prescriptions paid for by Medicaid have been skyrocketing from 222,000 in 2002 to 358,400 in 2004, an increase of 66 percent. Have you ever heard of anyone becoming permanently disabled or dying of erectile dysfunction? It should not be classified as a life or death matter, but rather as an elective matter. Why should the taxpayer's money fund it at the cost of other medical services that are really needed by other groups?Mother Nature is telling you something when you can't perform. You are taking a risk when you take medications to force your body to perform beyond its endurance. The upside of such behavior is momentary, fleeting personal pleasure. The downside, which they rarely ever discuss, is the very real possibility of a coronary stroke or in some severe instances death. We realize most people enjoy whatever pleasures suit their needs. Many people enjoy smoking or drinking, yet they do not expect the taxpayer to foot the bill for their cigarettes or alcohol. How are the pursuits of these pleasures any different from the free provision of Viagra?New York state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long says that taxpayers should definitely not be forced to pay for other people's "sex pills" he also says that this is one reason New Yorkers are facing future property tax increases.We will rapidly be facing a retirement of 76 million baby boomers. What if this group demands their share of sexual dysfunction drugs? It will certainly quicken the impending collapse of the Medicaid/Medicare system according to Tom Shatz, the head of the watch dog group Citizens Against Government Waste.According to Gary Karr, spokesman for the Centers For Medicaid and Medicare Services, the law says if a drug has FDA approval and if it is a medical necessity. it has to be covered. It would seem the operative words are medical necessity.Isn't it about time Americans developed some personal responsibility and pay for unnecessary, non-life threatening items themselves, thereby leaving the taxpayers money available for the truly needy? The only true beneficiaries of the $20 million expense deal is the pharmaceutical industry.There was some good news for Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week. He was formerly endorsed by the Bronx Republican Party. He is also actively seeking the support of all the Independents. One of the possible linchpins in his campaign is what the Conservative Party will do.The Long brothers are not sold on some of Bloomberg's liberal ideas. However, if they endorse Tom Ognibene, it will not help Tom as he does not have a ghost of a chance of getting elected. It may, however, help Freddie Ferrer whose ideas are even more liberal than Bloomberg's. It would seem if the Conservative Party selected and endorsed their own candidate such as they did with Terry Gray in 2001, it would express their Conservative beliefs and help select the lesser of two liberals without their actually endorsing a liberal candidate. It's a possible solution and gives one something to think about. We were supposed to cover three events last Thursday, but two were canceled due to the snowstorm. Rene Lobo, a democrat, who is running for a Councilmatic seat, held her fund-raiser at Pat's Restaurant in Maspeth in spite of the storm. More details about her campaign and some of the interesting people at her fund raiser as well as additional information on the groups supporting her will come later.That's it for this week. Keep the voice mails coming at 718-767-6484, the faxes at 718-746-0066 and the e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com and don't forget to check out the photos on the Focus on Queens page.Till next week, Dee.

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