Are they peas in a pod?

Regarding Hank Krings’ desire for a letter-writing campaign against State Sen. Ernie Chambers (Sept. 3 Pulse):

Chambers may be the most qualified member of the Nebraska Legislature if length of time served is the only qualification. And Dave Heineman is the longest-serving governor in the history of the state.

Two peas in a pod?

Rex Moats, Omaha

Cut crowding: Make parole mandatory

I am writing about another problem here inside Nebraska prisons: overcrowding.

There are close to 2,400 inmates past their parole dates. Many are in prison on enhanced misdemeanors. Why is the parole board denying parole for these inmates?

Why is Nebraska among the states still using a parole board? Elimination of the parole board and a switch to mandatory parole would relieve overcrowding by those 2,400 inmates. And instead of building a new prison, Nebraska could close one and make the rest single-man cells, as they were built for. And what’s spent on the parole board could be used to hire more parole officers, which would make more sense.

It is your tax dollars at stake here.

Randy Peterson, Omaha

Cut public jobs’ pay to match private

I’m confused about the continuing cost escalation for state, county and city employees. Various research reports show that government employee salaries now average from 110 percent to 140 percent of comparable private-industry positions. And recent surveys are showing that on average, government employees get more than 90 percent of their health costs paid by their employer.

When you add this to the ridiculous scenario we have in Nebraska, with its high pension contributions, where does it all end?

I remember some 30 years ago when our elected officials were crying for better benefits to offset the low salaries of public jobs. Now that salaries and benefits are higher than the private sector, when do we implement reductions to align with private business?

Does anyone think there would be unfilled government positions if we cut 20 percent of the current salary and benefits from positions paying more than $30,000 per year? I’m betting you would still have 10 qualified applicants for every open position.

Come on, mayors, governors, county boards. Let’s see some leadership.

Gary Glissman, Omaha

Federal law gave women some choices

An Associated Press story in the Sept. 3 World-Herald, “Removal of both breasts doesn’t raise survival rate,” reported on a study of women treated for cancer between 1998 and 2011. Among patients under 40, the number choosing double mastectomy increased from 4 percent to 33 percent.

The article addressed the possibility that these women were seeking greater peace of mind or that their surgeons were simply increasing their earnings. It ignored cosmetic results, which would probably concern younger patients more.

The article also overlooked a 1998 federal law requiring most employer-sponsored health plans to cover breast cancer patients’ cosmetic reconstruction, including the healthy breast for symmetry. Before 1998, most state insurance codes did not mandate such reconstruction. Even in states with mandates, many larger employers’ health plans were self-funded, thus exempt.

Sometimes, federal involvement in health insurance is a good thing.

Beverly Chaney, Omaha

Medical history led to reunion with son

I agree with Deborah Cummings (Aug. 31 Pulse) about the importance of family medical history for adopted children.

I gave birth to a son Sept. 29, 1964, in Kansas City. My parents refused to let me keep him. Missouri is a closed state, meaning the biological parents are not able to get any information about the child. I wrote letters to my son that were placed in his file. I included family medical information. I prayed that one day he would look for me, which he did.

My husband and I met my son for a weekend, and it was wonderful! He is planning to come to Omaha for his 50th birthday.

Please, if you gave up a child for adoption, send a medical information letter to the court that holds the records.

Connie Dohse-Ross, Omaha

Nebraska now requires family history

Regarding Deborah Cummings’ letter about family medical histories on adopted children: It should be noted that Nebraska has required such medical histories by law since 1988.

Unfortunately, there is no provision for adopted persons who were born before 1988. However, medical knowledge has expanded so much that the history at the time of birth in those cases might not be all that helpful.

Adoption agencies in Nebraska are required to help in a search for information, medical or otherwise. Obviously, open adoption is the better solution and is now widely practiced.

Rebecca Crofoot, Papillion

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