Health reform benefits obscured
I recently contacted U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite concerning the health-care reform legislation. Her response to me was as follows:
"President Obama recently told Democrat leaders in Congress that any bill proposing reform of the health care system must include a new insurance plan run by the federal government, akin to Medicare or Medicaid. If this option is available to all, it will likely underpay physicians and hospitals the same way Medicare and Medicaid does. Therefore, it will be much less expensive than private insurance, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says Americans will rush to join this new system. This will cause employer-based insurers to lose business and many will be forced out of business altogether. While President Obama has called these claims 'scare tactics,' a recent report by the CBO confirmed that a government run plan will move people off private insurance and into the government's plan.
"There is no country in the world with government-controlled health care that does not ration care. We are constantly told by President Obama that the quality of care in these countries is so much better than our own, yet he conveniently neglects to share with you any of the horror stories. Trust me, they are not too difficult to find and serve as an excellent reminder that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the street. Furthermore, Americans have become accustomed to a health care system that spares no expense even in the face of grim odds. This fact leads me to believe that Americans would have a difficult time adjusting to the inevitable rationing of health care services."
There are too many misconceptions in her statement that I will not try to argue the points.
On Aug. 11 the Times published guest columns from Drs. Marc J. Yacht and Rao Musunuru. Yacht explained once you take the political posturing out of this debate you cannot deny the need for a radical fix to health care delivery. Musunuru gets into the question as to how much it is going to cost. Neither doctor will tell you that the current system doesn't need reform.
The House of Representatives published a report of the Committee on Energy and Commerce in July 2009 titled "Benefits of America's Affordable Health Choices Act in the 5th Congressional District of Florida." The report states the following:
"America's Affordable Health Choices Act would provide significant benefits in the 5th Congressional District of Florida: up to 15,100 small businesses could receive tax credits to provide coverage to their employees; 22,600 seniors would avoid the donut hole in Medicare Part D; 1,600 families could escape bankruptcy each year due to unaffordable health care costs; health care providers would receive payment for $46 million in uncompensated care each year; and 99,000 uninsured individuals would gain access to high-quality, affordable health insurance."
I think the evidence is very clear. I don't think U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite wants you to know how the legislation would help this district.
Harvey Martin, Spring Hill
Shoot-first law is vague, dangerous | Aug. 14 letter
State law allows 'reasonable' force
The shoot-first law is not vague and obviously the writer did not take the time to fully read the contents of the law. This law is not the National Rifle Association's self-defense law. In April 2005, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 436, which was a substantial revision of Chapter 776 of the Florida Statues.
One thing that should be perfectly clear is that the Legislature was not very happy with the retreat rule, and had great concern about people being prosecuted for using legitimate self-defense. To try to remedy the situation, the Legislature enacted some new laws and amended some old ones. Florida Statue 776.012 states a person is justified in using nondeadly force to the extent that the person reasonably believes such conduct is necessary to defend himself or another against another's imminent use of unlawful force. It goes on to authorize the use of deadly force, and abolishes the retreat rule if certain predicates exist. It states a person may use deadly force if necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.
What you reasonably believe the facts to be — and/or what you need to do to protect yourself, family, or property — means just that. It must be objectively and subjectively reasonable under the particular circumstances, as they reasonably appeared to you at the time, even if you were mistaken. "Subjectively" means what you think. "Objectively" means how others will analyze your actions later on based upon reason.
If and when the case mentioned in the letter is tried, the jury must decide if he reasonable believed his conduct was necessary to defend himself against another's imminent use of unlawful force.
Nicholas Di Guiseppi,
New Port Richey
Statute is clear: Protect yourself
The letter writer suggests that Florida law does not provide measurements for those times when deadly force is justified. If the letter writer would take the time to read Chapter 776 of the Florida Statutes, he'd discover that the law provides for the use of deadly force without retreat when someone believes there is an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. It clearly defines forcible felony by listing those crimes that fit the definition.
While the writer argues that we should have an obligation to run as fast as we can from a violent criminal, the law now provides that we no longer have to flee criminals. This law was enacted to protect those citizens who have an ability to protect themselves and their families with something other than a pair of good sneakers.
It's unfortunate the writer incorrectly suggests in his last paragraph that Gregory Stewart gunned down an unarmed man and walked away. In fact, Stewart was arrested because authorities said his use of force was not justified. Our laws are clear, they work, and in this case they were professionally applied to an unjustified shooting.
However, this crime by Stewart proves that no matter how strong our laws are, we are still going to have criminals that break them. The solution is for our courts to stop releasing criminals, our lawmakers to fund more prison beds, and our citizenry to learn how to protect themselves when our law officers are not available.
Scott Factor, New Port Richey