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Monday, June 30, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Tone deaf: State Rep. Jim Christiana fails to see the inherent conflict of interest he had in accepting Highmark's tony invite to play in a pro-am event last week at the Fox Chapel Golf Club. More's the pity. The Beaver County Republican sponsored legislation favored by the insurance giant in its long-running battle with health care behemoth UPMC. Such cozy relationships are the epitome of what's wrong in Harrisburg, and in Washington, today.

The Highmark-UPMC “deal”: That five-year “transition” agreement inked by Highmark and UPMC is all well and good, we suppose, but it fails to address the fundamental underlying problem created by the Insurance-Medicine Complex. We like to call it “turf cutting.” Far from “competition,” the goal is to stifle competition by creating artificial barriers to service. Simply put, anyone with any kind of health insurance should be allowed to access service at any doctor's office or medical facility. Anything less is patently unethical.

Be careful out there: The busiest boating time of the year arrives with the Independence Day weekend. And local, state and federal law agencies will be out in full force to crack down on drunken boating. The effort is dubbed Operation Dry Water. The good news is that alcohol-related boating fatalities were down 31 percent last year. The bad news is that too many boaters still imbibe behind the wheel. Don't drink and boat. Don't do it. Period.

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