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Healthcare issue stuck in sickly committees

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–Somebody once said that if you want to kill a proposal, send it to a committee to be studied.
If there is any truth to that old saw then the health care crisis facing state government will never be resolved. Not one, not two, but three committees are now looking at ways and means to curb the alarming increase in health care costs in the state–Medicare and health insurance for teachers and employees.
A sub-committee of members of the House of Representatives is studying the problem, still another legislative committee headed by State Sen. Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, is doing the same thing; and Gov. Bob Riley has appointed what is invariably called a "Blue Ribbon" commission to make its own recommendations.
One thing you can be sure of. Neither of the legislative committees will dare recommend that teachers and employees pay more for their coverage. In fact one of the members of the House committee said precisely that a few days ago:
"We are looking at ways to save money without hurting our employees," said Rep. Robert Bentley, R-Tuscaloosa.
Dr. Paul Hubbert of the AEA couldn't have said it better.
But as has been said countless times, there are but two ways to get a handle on these spiraling costs–increase employee contributions or raise taxes. And if the insured are not going to be required to pay more…the teachers and state employees…then the taxpayers will.
Mabry was questioned for two hours by the grand jury meeting in Montgomery but neither he nor his attorney would answer any questions following his appearance.
The Montgomery Grand Jury has been looking long and hard at the fund-raising done by Siegelman to finance his ill-fated lottery campaign. It has already been reported that several firms that made major contributions to that campaign later were awarded lucrative state contracts.
It is not known if Mabry was questioned about these allegations, but as Finance Director he would have had to sign those contracts.
Democratic Party leaders can talk the good talk about how pleased they are with Edwards as the No. 2 man but they are just going through the motions. They know full well the Kerry-Edwards ticket doesn't have a prayer of carrying the state in November.
Tidwell, a combat veteran of World War II, had the misfortune of playing at Auburn at a time when the Tigers were miserable. But he was one of the best ever to wear the burnt orange and blue.
If for no other reason, Auburn fans should remember Tidwell for quarterbacking the Tigers to a stunning 14-13 victory over Alabama in 1949. It was by far the biggest upset in Iron Bowl history. The Tide was a three-touchdown favorite after having demolished Auburn 55-0 the previous year.