The Baltimore Sun

Continuing to expand access to health care

The last sentence of "Painful cuts for budget balance" (Jan. 22) implies that Gov. Martin O'Malley is not continuing the Medicaid expansion enacted in 2007.

In fact, the governor's budget fully funds the significant expansion of health care to lower-income parents enacted in 2007, which has resulted in 27,900 uninsured people getting access to health care and which has brought Maryland from 44th to 21st among U.S. states in access to Medicaid for lower-income adults.

It is true that the new state budget does not fund the expansion of this program to adults who are not parents that was slated to begin on July 1. However, we continue to be hopeful that if enough new money comes to Maryland from the federal stimulus package, this further expansion might still be possible.

In any case, we commend the governor for keeping intact the new health care coverage for parents in these very tough budget times.

Vincent DeMarco, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.

State cuts may curb culture of entitlement

Many of us in the private sector have been tightening our belts for years, experiencing layoffs, staff reductions, reduced pay, and reduced or eliminated retirement programs and benefits as well as dealing with increased workloads.

So I took notice of state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller's comment in "Painful cuts for budget balance" (Jan. 22) that "if you have a job in the state government and you took a job with lower pay for job security and your job is getting axed, it's a great cause for angst."

Do some government employees really believe that in return for being paid less than they would be paid in the private sector, they have a job for life?

I believe that such a culture exists and results in complacency, a poor attitude and substandard work performance.

Gov. Martin O'Malley is smart to propose that we reduce the number of state employees by 700. I hope the cuts will weed out the employees with this entitlement mentality.

Susan Hickman, Baltimore

Services for disabled already sorely strained

I am a client of the state Department of Rehabilitation Services, the agency that provides assistance to those with disabilities. Unfortunately, because of the budget shortfall, I was recently informed that I will be put on a waiting list to receive job placement services ("Layoffs looming," Jan. 15).

Maryland's disabled citizens are being adversely affected by the worsening economic situation and the rising level of unemployment. The Department of Rehabilitation Services can help this population get the services it needs, but it can't do so if it must operate on a reduced budget.

I strongly urge Gov. Martin O'Malley and other officials to make cuts to the department off limits.

Larry Hankin, Towson

Citizens shouldn't pay for Dixon's defense

The citizens of Baltimore should not have to pay the legal fees for Mayor Sheila Dixon or City Council member Helen L. Holton ("Timing of legal fee policy troubles council members," Jan. 22).

When an ordinary citizen is accused of breaking the law, that person cannot turn to taxpayers to pay his or her legal fees.

I did not vote for Sheila Dixon because I don't believe she is ready to be the mayor of any city. And I am appalled that my taxes could go to pay the legal fees for her alleged misconduct.

Ms. Dixon should step down out of sheer embarrassment alone.

Tara Malone, Baltimore

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