DON’T LOSE SIGHT
The health care system will dramatically change in 2014 as a result of the Affordable Care Act, or health care reform.
As an optometrist who has served Illinois for 39 years, I strongly recommend that the vision benefit included in health care exchanges be defined to include a comprehensive eye exam plus materials, i.e. glasses or contacts.
Annual comprehensive eye exams are necessary because optometrists can prevent health care costs from rising in the long term by identifying health problems early on. We are often the first medical professionals to diagnose chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
In addition to exams, it’s important to cover eyewear. For example, if a child is not able to see clearly because her parents can’t afford her glasses, her learning will be severely impacted. Up to 80 percent of what she learns will be through her eyes.
Dr. Dennis DeLee, optometrist
President at Dean Optical
BETTER IT, THEY WILL COME
I am a city employee who lives in the city and has a daughter that attends a city public school. I have no intention of moving, but I understand why some people flee. I also understand why others believe, “If you work for the city you should sleep in the city.” That’s what it comes down to. Next it will be, “If you work for the city you must shop and eat in the city.” You imagine if Walmart told its employees, “If you shop anywhere but here, you’ll be fired.” Or if the mall told their employees, “If you eat somewhere other than our food court, find a new job.” Telling people where they must live reduces the amount of qualified applicants who could serve our city.
So instead of forcing city employees to live in the city, focus on why they leave. It’s no big secret, it’s the schools and fixing that problem isn’t difficult. Build the new high school on the west side, include a football field and an adequate gymnasium and recreation center. Have the swim team use the pool at the YMCA up the street. The baseball and softball teams could use the ball fields at Rotary Park. The school should consider adding FFA, nursing classes, even add building trades and auto mechanics. I realize we already have a vocational center, but if the school district did this, watch how many people would stay.
BEEF ABOUT BEER
On Oct. 31, 2012, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission ruled that Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) could continue to hold an interest in four Illinois distributorships, despite a law enacted June 1, 2011, which prohibits brewers from owning beer distributorships. This ruling is contrary to public policy established by our legislature and fully conflicts with Illinois’ three-tier regulatory distribution system.
Every state regulates alcohol by using some form of a three-tier regulatory system (manufacturer, distributor and retailer). Distributors are intended to be an independent licensee separating a brewer from a retailer. Brewer ownership of a distributorship is vertical integration of the three-tier system, thereby destroying the purpose of the three-tier system.
There are also concerns about Illinois’ job loss. In 2008, ABI, a Belgium-based international corporation, slashed costs of the combined company by $1.1 billion on the backs of American workers – they laid off approximately 1,400 people, about 6 percent of their U.S. workforce. The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, a nonprofit business trade association, represents, maintains and improves the interests of its members who distribute beer of all brewers. Distributors are licensed by the State of Illinois to import and distribute beer to licensed retailers. ABDI members directly employ more than 3,300 people across the state. They collect and pay $63 million each year in excise taxes to the state and pay more than $280 million in direct wages and health care benefits.
William D. Olson, president
Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois