Thanks to Kevin Osborne for informing us of the plight of working people who can't afford health insurance and/or their medications ("Maddening Expenses," issue of April 18). And kudos to Christine MacConnell for her ongoing efforts toward expanding Medicaid coverage. Lack of access to adequate medical care is reaching crisis levels for many people for different reasons.
I'm a right-leg, below-knee amputee due to complications from cancer. Last year, our health insurance paid for my prosthesis in full: $17,000 plus. That health insurance wasn't cheap. My husband paid $65 per week, and this after his employer paid the majority of the premium.
A year later, after a change in insurance carriers at my husband's place of work, I discovered that all prosthetics coverage was reduced from full coverage to an annual cap of $2,500. And we pay the same insurance premiums as we did last year.
The artificial limb that I have now will not last a lifetime.
In fact, there are components that must be replaced at least annually. Right now the bits that I need to enable me to walk will cost over $5,000. This means I have to come up with $2,500 on my own — and I don't have it. And what about next year? This cycle isn't going to stop.
Am I to be consigned to a wheelchair and thus endure the additional health problems created by total inactivity? Is medical care parity just a pipe dream?
— Marilyn Schirmer, Hamersville, Ohio
Downtown Needs New Ideas, New Direction
Regarding your photograph of Fountain Square carpeted with flowers ("Flower Power," issue of April 18), I find it ironic and laughable that, after the multimillion dollar and much-behind-schedule "reconstruction" of the square, only a total of nine people can be seen in the photo enjoying the "new" old public space.
Once again, Cincinnati is busy rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic while other cities progress light years ahead of us. A visit to the new Millennium Park in Chicago demonstrates how good urban planning, a bold vision, a public-private partnership and interactive design can actually bring multitudes of people to be entertained and appreciate a public square. The new Pritzger Pavilion, the Cloud Gate sculpture (becoming known as "The Bean") and the Crown Fountain attract tens of thousands of locals and tourists alike.
And for us in Cincinnati? We move a tired fountain a few dozen feet and plant trees that will someday overshadow the openness of the square. How long before Tiffany closes, our sad little Macy's relocates and McCormick & Schmick move to greener pastures? More empty storefronts to match our leaders' empty promises.
I have an unsettling feeling that once The Banks is complete, if ever, it will be more of the same. Millions will be spent — years too late already — and we'll end up with more second-rate public spaces. Our urban core is in dire need of new direction and enlightened thinking.
— Phil Weintraub, Amberley Village
Art for Art's Sake?
Regarding the Road to Wellness column "Love Your Body" (issue of April 18), Janet Berg correctly pointed out the growing problem of women developing unhealthy body images in response to bombardment by the media with "airbrushed, digitally altered images of unblemished, unwrinkled, unreal faces and cellulite-free bodies." And yet what picture did CityBeat choose to accompany this article? An airbrushed image of an unblemished, unwrinkled, cellulite-free body clad in a bikini.
This is exactly the kind of picture creating the problem Berg spoke against. Either no one in the art department bothered to read the article or they deliberately chose the picture anyway, probably for its "aesthetic value." Neither is a good excuse.
— Allison Davidson, Downtown
Last week's cover story ("Equal Environmental Rights," issue of April 18) used the wrong name for Communities United for Action and for its director, Marilyn Evans.