Letters to the Editor: Manners called for when sharing road; mishap leads to fixes at Starlight Bowl, health insurance reform needed

The Comany Men perform at the Starlight Bowl fireworks show in Burbank on Tuesday, July 4, 2017.
(Tim Berger / Burbank Leader)

Last Sunday night on local KNBC local TV news, a video was shown of a bicyclist being hit from behind by a motorist, later arrested by the police, who was frustrated at the cyclist for taking up the one-lane highway he was driving his car on. This is why I always ride my bike as far as safely possible to the right side of the road, giving autos and trucks plenty of room to pass me.

When driving my car, I, as an avid bike rider also become irritated by bicyclists who hog road lanes, seemingly just to make the point that they have the right to do so. In the end its foolish for cyclists to ride in a manner that risks their safety by ignoring basic courtesy to others.

Doug Weiskopf



In response to Michael James’ letter and to others inconvenienced at Starlight Bowl: A few years ago, I attended my son’s graduation there. Walking out to our car, I inadvertently stepped on one of the large rocks littering the entire parking lot. I went down hard and broke my ankle badly.

It took an ambulance more than 45 minutes to get to me due to the stacked parking and hundreds of exiting cars. And it took another 30 minutes for the ambulance to get out of the parking lot.

I can now laugh about it. You can all thank me for the lights that now illuminate the parking lot as they weren’t there for me. Nor were the emergency lanes painted throughout the lot. Also, you’re welcome for the nearly rock-free surface.

Lastly, as a 27-year hillside resident, us “residents down the street” don’t have any more power to vote for anything in Burbank than you do.

Paula Dresser



Re: “Why we fight for universal healthcare,” commentary, July 8. Congressman Schiff details the need to expand healthcare to millions of Americans, and while this is an admirable goal worth full-throated support, any healthcare reform effort maintaining the status quo of insurance companies covering so many Americans must address the tactics used by insurance companies to inflate their profit margins.

Reforming the nation’s healthcare system requires scrutinizing the tactics insurance companies use to slash covered benefits, while bilking patients out of more money. It gives patients little peace of mind if they purchase insurance to prevent bankruptcy from a single medical crisis, only to find their insurer won’t pay for necessary treatments once a crisis hits.

Insurance companies are refusing to cover a growing number of prescription medications, now including treatments for leukemia and prostate cancer, through a tactic called “formulary exclusions,” pathways and restricting access to oncology care to the lowest bidder. The number of prescriptions excluded from health plans has quadrupled in the last five years, yet a 2015 Kaiser study found that Americans with employer-sponsored healthcare saw their premiums rise by 255% since 2006.

Insurers try to save money by excluding the most expensive drugs, preferring cheaper alternatives. While several drugs can treat similar illnesses or symptoms, doctors make choices based on both a drug’s specific characteristics and a patient’s physiology. In too many cases, the treatment the insurance company will cover isn’t as effective as the treatment a doctor preferred, or the covered treatment introduces complications that could have been avoided, had the insurance covered the preferred medication.

Americans should not have to doubt whether their insurance will cover treatments their doctors say are essential to continued health and well-being.

Mariana S-B Lamb


The writer is president of Efficient Physician, Inc., executive director of the Medical Oncology Assn. of Southern California, Inc.; president of the National Oncology Society Network, Inc.; advisory board member of the Community Oncology Alliance, Inc. and editorial board advisor to Oncology Practice Management magazine