Friday, September 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday’s letters: Transplant bill will help Medicare patients

November Letter of the Month

The winning letter addressed the unresponsiveness of elected officials.

Representatives arenít listening

For whom do our legislators work? I ask because my Florida senator doesnít appear to work for me. I drove 27 miles on Nov. 3 to talk to the Hillsborough County legislative delegation for three minutes about commonsense gun laws. My senator never once looked at me during that three minutes.

On Nov. 8, about 30 people took a bus 240 miles to Tallahassee to meet with our legislators for the same purpose. My state senatorís aide informed us that our senator would not be available to meet with us until March.

Surveys show that the majority of Floridians want criminal background checks. My senator doesnít. Polls show the majority of Floridians do not want open carry. My senator does. University officials, campus security and professors oppose campus carry.

Are our legislators supposed to represent us? Are our legislators supposed to be responsive to the taxpayers? How do we get our voices heard before the next legislative session and not in March?

Elizabeth Corwin, Tampa

Medicare

Reform transplant policies

I was diagnosed with leukemia over 26 years ago and have received two bone marrow transplants to survive. After my first transplant, I was inspired to become a nurse with a lifeís mission: helping others facing similar life-threatening diagnoses find their paths to recovery.

In Medicare, the transplant payment polices for bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cell and cord blood transplants for patients diagnosed with blood cancers and other life-threatening blood disorders are often misunderstood and underfunded.

The process can cost much more than Medicareís reimbursement, leaving hospitals with two options: absorb the extra costs, up to tens of thousands of dollars, or deny Medicare patients treatment. Current Medicare payment policies not only hurt access, they put lives at risk.

Now, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, and three co-sponsors have introduced the Protect Access to Cellular Transplant Act (HR 4215) to update Medicareís stem cell transplant payment policy.

If implemented, bone marrow, peripheral blood stem cell and cord blood transplants would parallel solid organ transplant. Currently, solid organ acquisition costs are reimbursed on a reasonable cost basis, which allows for a separate payment for the actual transplant and its related care. This policy would allow hospitals across the country to continue offering transplant as a treatment option for Medicare patients without excessive financial burdens. These types of transplants have already saved 2,536 Floridians; imagine how many more could be saved if this bill were made into law.

Becky Dame, Plant City

The writer is a bone marrow transplant recipient and a nationally certified transplant nurse.

Sexual misconduct

Strong responses needed

I came of age in the early 1970s, a time when women were making their voices known on matters of respect and other important social issues. They marched and let their voices be heard.

Lately, a whole crop of sexual harassment claims have made the headlines, all pleading for "justice." Sexual harassment is not a new topic; just look to history. Whatís different today is that a woman can stand up and speak up in her own defense, and should do so, without whining!

For instance: No. 1: "Iím sorry, could you repeat what you said so the whole office can hear you?" No. 2: "Letís you and I take a walk down to HR so you can repeat what you said." Or No. 3, "Your personal touch is not welcome or wanted. Touch me again and youíll have to learn to eat with hooks!"

Debi Ford, St. Petersburg

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3

Early Christmas for rich

The Senate has sent an early Christmas present to the 1 percent. Corporations will receive 71.6 percent of the $1.4 trillion tax cut. Corporate profits and cash reserves will balloon, justifying larger bonuses. Companies will buy back more stock, increasing their dividends and swelling their estates, more of which can be passed forward with no tax. For the 99 percent, our children and grandchildren will be burdened with an unsustainable federal debt, jeopardizing their future security.

Tom Cummings, Sun City Center

Corporate, not public, push

Ever wonder who asked for a complete overhaul of our tax system? Was there an outcry by the middle class demanding lower tax rates for large corporations and wealthy Americans? Did we wake up one morning and decide itís time to eliminate the estate tax, which benefits about 0.2 percent of the richest Americans? Does it matter that 36 million middle class and working families will experience a tax increase under the House plan?

Letís be honest about the attempt to reform the nationís tax code. Itís being pushed by big banks, large corporations, Wall Street and the richest Americans who benefit the most. And, never mind that it adds $1.4 trillion to our nationís deficit.

Anthony Edl, Odessa

Racing good for state, dogs | Nov. 30, letter

End to racing long overdue

Many years ago as a reporter for the Tampa Tribune, I covered a gruesome story: The bodies of several greyhounds had been dumped at a slaughterhouse near Balm. It was unclear how the dogs were killed, but what was apparent was that whoever dumped them no longer found them useful.

As that incident reveals, many racing greyhound owners care only about money. Note the letterís comments: "All athletes, human or animal, can get injuries and even die" and "greyhound owners do not get paid unless the greyhound comes in first, second, third or fourth in a race."

Greyhounds are neither athletes nor earners; they are domestic pets and should be treated as such, and the bill proposed by state Sen. Tom Lee to end greyhound racing in Florida is long overdue.

Deborah Van Pelt, Tampa

Comments

Saturday’s letters: We need stats that reflect our lives

We’re measuring the economy all wrong | Column, Sept. 18We need stats that reflect our livesMajor news outlets have uniformly declared the U.S. economy to be sizzling, on fire. This column was correct in wanting us to take a second, hard l...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Dr. Robert Judson made great contributions to Pasco-Hernando State College

A pioneer in Pasco-Hernando education | Sept. 19Robert Judson pushed education forwardI had the pleasure of working with the late Dr. Robert Judson, the former president of what is now known as Pasco-Hernando State College, for many years. During...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Sunday’s letters: Inequality hurts democracy

We’re measuring the economy all wrong | Column, Sept. 18Democracy needs equalityEconomic inequality and the concentration of wealth have achieved levels beyond the comprehension of most American wage earners today. Income inequality has ri...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Friday’s letters: Florida’s workers aren’t reaping benefits of a booming economy

Scott didn’t put them to work | Sept. 16Florida workers not reaping the benefitsFlorida has just surpassed a GDP of $1 trillion. However, workers in Florida are not reaping the rewards. A new report released by anti-poverty organization Ox...
Published: 09/21/18

Thursday’s letters: For the sake of all involved, don’t rush the Kavanaugh vote

Delay Senate vote on Kavanaugh | Editorial, Sept. 18Don’t rush something that will last a lifetimeThe Senate Judiciary Committee finds itself in a sticky wicket. The committee should take a slow measured course of action. Trying to rush th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18

Wednesday’s letters: How home rule can help fight Red Tide

Red Tide on march | Sept. 18How home rule can help fight Red TideAt the end of 2005, as Red Tide ravaged the beaches and intracoastal waterways of Southwest Florida, volunteers from the Suncoast Sierra Club formed a coastal task force to begin de...
Published: 09/18/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18

Mondayís letters: Are we paying for the wrong kind of military today?

$1 trillion here and there | Letter, Sept. 16Are we buying the right defense?I am weary of politicians of all persuasions handing our military a blank check ó in particular the conservatives who rail against budget deficits and want to cut discre...
Published: 09/14/18

Sundayís letters: Many laws increase our liberty

ĎGeneral welfareí includeshealth | Letter, Sept.15Someone will pay for itMany politicians are making Medicare for All the cornerstone of their campaign. Many think tanks even say the government will save money, but they neglect to say how.Medicar...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18