Letters to the Editor: July 8 – 14, 2010

Thankful the Falls Church Fireworks Show Went On


Thank you to fellow Falls Church City residents and decision-makers. I understand there was some debate about the fate of the fireworks display in the wake of serious budget constraints. Back at my desk Tuesday morning, I’m so thankful the show went on.

The show was not only visually spectacular (and loud!) but also one example of the milestones in our lives that help mark the passage of time and sear in special memories. We are all so busy with the daily “grind,” we desperately need events to help differentiate one week, one month, one year from another.

Further, as I shared a blanket with our dear neighbors-those same ones with whom we swapped turkey left-overs, shivered next to on the sidewalk waiting for Santa on the fire truck, sweated and swore over shoveling three feet of snow, and more recently popped the top on the first-of-the-season post-mow beer-I imagined the same scenario playing out across the Mason parking lot. Events like these stitch us together and enable us all to lead by example, teaching our children the importance of friends, neighbors, and community.

When the costs are put in human terms-fireworks vs. additional city personnel-the decision is admittedly much more challenging. However, I believe that the benefits gained are worth the trade-offs.

Robin Camarote

Falls Church


Kaiser Insurance Premiums Jacked Up Almost 50%


I am a small business owner who has been a Kaiser (Falls Church) medical insurance subscriber for over 25 years and offered Kaiser to my company for nearly as long. Last May Kaiser raised my company rates almost 50%, forcing us to abandon the plan we had for many years in favor of one with a high deductible. The reason given for the high rate increase was explained as “underwriting policy.”

It turns out our policy costs are not based on the overall Kaiser member population, but our small group is isolated as a profit center. For a small company like mine this means a cost prohibitive price increase as soon as there is any serious illness of a plan member.

At this point my company is at the mercy of Kaiser and the insurance industry. We no longer can afford what we have had for many years, yet we also cannot afford to switch carriers, as any new carrier will evaluate our current risk and charge accordingly.

In past years my company was a very profitable account for Kaiser with minimal claims. Sadly, now that we need to make considerable use of our benefits, Kaiser is attempting to force us out through massive rate increases. This year the almost 50% increase was limited to a “2 step” increase, but what happens to my company next year?

Kaiser is spending considerable amounts advertising that its members “thrive” and even more on a future facility coming to northern Virginia. With profitability to support these activities, I would expect Kaiser can well afford to treat all customers with ethical financial policies. Isolating each group within a profitable region to force the unprofitable ones out of the system is at a minimal shamefully unethical, and at best should be against the law.

A Kaiser VP told me the large increase was necessary “to maintain the integrity of the pool.” My question is who in charge of maintaining the integrity of Kaiser?

Nicole Flesch Zenz



Says McDonnell Panders to His Party’s Fringe


I find it both hypocritical and sad that the Governor of Virginia has allowed his personal politics to trump the needs of the citizens he supposed to represent. The Department of Health and Human Services has created their high risk insurance pool program per the sweeping health care legislation enacted earlier this year.  He had the opportunity to have this wonderful program administered locally instead of the federal government.  More people would be able to access this much needed program as it could be promoted through Virginia branches of government.  Instead, he chose to punish the needs of the citizens to satisfy the lunatic fringe of his party.  For a guy from a party that touts states’ rights all the time, the hypocrisy is overwhelming.

David B. Martin

Via the Internet


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