Once more, with feeling

Those of you who have been reading my monthly column for a few years know that I occasionally write about my parents’ experiences with healthcare, finances, moving and the like.

Out of pocket, Part II

Last month, I wrote about rising prescription drug costs, and made the point that a considerable portion of the cost of new drug development is borne by taxpayers (from the U.S. and other developed nations). I also noted that many drugs, including some of the newest “breakthrough” drugs, are available in other countries for a small fraction of the cost charged U.S. patients and insurance companies.

Plane thoughts

What I didn’t tell you in my column last month, about the future of print media, was that I wrote it partially in preparation for a speech I was to give on that topic at a national conference. It so happened that I flew to Chicago for the conference on March 24, the very day Germanwings Flight 9525 was intentionally crashed into the French Alps by its co-pilot.

Political musings

If you’ve picked up your copy of the Beacon this month at any of our 300+ sites throughout Baltimore County, you will find inside a Voters’ Guide to the Primary Election, prepared by the League of Women Voters of Baltimore County. We feel honored to have been chosen to publish this important League product, and encourage you to read it, especially if you live and vote in Baltimore County.

Power of the people

I have great news: It looks like any potential plans to dissolve the Maryland Department of Aging have been dropped, at least for now. As many of you know, last month the Beacon helped promote a grassroots campaign to urge Governor Martin O’Malley...

Privacy for sale

There was a time we spoke about our “right to privacy” or our “reasonable expectation of privacy” as though we understood what those phrases meant. It was a given of American values that every individual had a fundamental right to be left alone to pursue his or her own form of happiness as long as the rights of others were respected.

Reporter for a day

I’ve been a publisher and editor since my wife and I started the Beacon newspapers 24 years ago. Still, it’s a rare thing these days when I actually “report” on anything myself.During the quiet days at the end of 2012, as I was reading about the fiscal cliff negotiations and Congress was being called back into session over New Year’s Eve weekend, I had a realization.

Should we spend it all?

For the past two months, I’ve been writing in this column about the financial pit that we are digging for ourselves as a country. At least, that’s one way of looking at the trillions of dollars of expanding deficits embedded in our federal and state government budgets.

Sober reflections

Whenever I write about my parents (Dad is 92, Mom is 83), I get a larger-than-usual number of comments from readers. Many identify with me as the “adult child” trying to help my parents cope. Others identify with my parents and what they are going through at that moment.

The pendulum swings

Recently, there has been an explosion of studies, lawsuits and newspaper articles highlighting what many are calling America’s opioid crisis or epidemic. While the term opioid includes illegal drugs like heroin, it also encompasses a variety of prescription painkillers, including OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), referring to our nation’s “opioid overdose epidemic,” notes that deaths from overdoses of these types of drugs have more than quadrupled since 1999. Some of these deaths are of abusers who steal prescription drugs from family members or pharmacies, obtain prescriptions illegally, or buy the drugs on the black market. But it appears that...