Reform is not dead yet | Aug. 3, David Broder column
Confusion rules in health care debate
Thank you for publishing David Broder's informative column on health care.
Broder cites the Wall Street Journal/ NBC poll showing 41 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving of President Barack Obama's efforts on health care reform.
This poll is premature and flawed because Obama does not have a specific bill he's advocating, and Congress is in the middle of the "sausagemaking" in putting together final bills in the House and Senate.
All this creates confusion which results in those being polled not knowing the specifics of a bill that doesn't exist yet, while hearing all the reckless and baseless scare tactics of special interests opposed to health care reform, resulting in a negative response to the pollster.
Polling on a complicated issue like health reform should not be taken until a final bill exists in both houses. Then I would expect all journalists to adequately and completely inform readers and viewers of the specifics of each bill, their similarities and differences.
Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg
Optimism and pessimism
The juxtaposition of the two Aug. 3 columns on health care, one by David Broder (Reform is not dead yet) and one by Charles Krauthammer (Obamacare out with three strikes) made for an interesting read. As usual, the liberal-leaning Broder contemplates the issue with a "glass half full" attitude and the conservative Krauthammer adopts a "glass half empty" perspective.
I hope the tired "just say no" views of conservatives are contravened by the current efforts in Congress to forge a workable solution to our health care woes. I only hope our representatives keep an eye on the goal of this initiative — to provide health care for all Americans — and not capitulate to corporate interests.
President Harry Truman proposed a national health plan to Congress in November 1945, and to date nothing has been accomplished. Let your congressional representatives know your views, monitor their performance, and vote accordingly in the next election.
Gerard Meyn, Dunnellon
Social Security admits error: Widow doesn't owe $10,000 | Aug. 5, story
Government efficiency is on display again
Social Security Administration admits error, owes widow nearly $1,000!
Surely, most reasonable people read this and thought, "And these people could be managing my health care."
I wonder how they would remedy the error of denying or delaying health care discovered after the patient had died. And let's admit it: This poor woman would never have resolved this case in her favor alone. The Times got them to fix the problem. The government bureaucrats would have summarily dismissed her.
Darrell W. Katz, Valrico
I have had two government health insurance policies for several years, Medicare and Tricare For Life. I have always picked my own doctors and I have never had one question asked about anything that has ever been done for me or prescribed for me.
My son-in-law just last week had terrible stomach pains and had to get an okay from his insurance company before tests were done.
That is why I can't understand why there is any question about the type of health insurance everyone should have, if they want it. I have no question as to why private insurance companies are against it.
J. Turner, Tampa
Some hope in hard times | Aug. 1, story
Giving away our money
In this story, Daphon Baker is quoted as saying: "I'm trying to provide for my family, my son, and I don't want to go without," she said, "so I'm depending on the state's help."
Well, I am the state (a taxpayer). Isn't it nice that Baker, by my math, had a child at 14 years of age and I (we, the taxpayers) get to pay for her welfare benefits out of my paycheck (40-plus hours a week). It would be nice for the state, i.e., government (taxpayers) to help me pay my power bills, water bills, insurance bills, etc.
When do I (a taxpayer) stop giving away my money (not the state's) to others and keep some for myself and my family? We "go without" to stay within a budget.
Tim Auty, Largo
1.5M jobless to exhaust their benefits this year | Aug. 2, story
Aid gets too costly
I am not without compassion for those unfortunates who are unemployed. However the already accomplished extension of payments to 79 weeks from 29 by Congress was a very generous move and a costly one.
Considering the current deficits, another extension for the reported 1.5 million jobless seems to be, in my opinion, excessive and overindulgent.
We don't want to transform unemployment insurance into another entitlement to be exploited. As a taxpayer I am concerned. I do not foresee another extension as a problem-solver.
Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole
State workers bonus | Aug. 1
It's the people's money
This little article was about the surplus of revenues in the state of West Virginia. The state has a $65 million surplus and Gov. Joe Manchin wants to use half of the surplus and give $500 bonuses to 51,000 full-time state employees. This surplus came from lottery proceeds and taxes.
It is fine and dandy to think of your employees (full-time only) and reward them with the people's money. This is a typical picture of what is wrong with this country. Gov. Manchin is a politician buying votes for his future re-election.
The surplus money belongs to the people of West Virginia and not to the governor and state employees. They should be thankful that they have a job provided to them with revenues collected from hard-working West Virginians. If anyone should get a share of the surplus it is the taxpayers, collectively.
Dragoslav Kirjas, Spring Hill
A flag flap forces flip-flop | Aug. 4
Too many protests
We have to decide how serious we are about reducing government spending. Every time a spending cut is proposed, someone jumps up and screams. They have got to realize that the government exists to protect our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
I love the flag, and fly it often. I do not think, however, that it is a proper function of government to use money that they take from us to maintain the numbers of flags that they have flown in the past while they are making the cuts that they are making.
Everyone wants cuts to be made, but not to anything that is on their priority list.
It seems that the flags are back. I guess that they will be cutting something else, and maybe I will be the one screaming!
Jerry Pell, St. Petersburg
Hangar is not the only problem | Aug. 3, story
Confidence long gone
I got quite a chuckle reading the finding by House attorney Steve Kahn that "the method he (Rep. Ray Sansom) used to create, fund and plan for construction of a facility … could reasonably have caused (the public) to lose faith and confidence in the integrity of the Florida House."
A more taxing investigation would be to find someone in Florida who still has any faith or confidence in any of our elected officials. I wonder how much it cost the taxpayers to be so enlightened.
Almost funnier is the fact that five of Sansom's "peers" now get to decide what to do with his political career. Any punishment given out will probably be due to the St. Petersburg Times uncovering the deeds. Remember, it's never a crime until you're caught, and with the right connections and a good lawyer, sometimes not even then.
Gary Avila, Trinity
Curb teen driving | Aug. 3, letter
Older drivers are worse
Although I agree that teens should take driver education, I do not feel they are the only problem drivers on the road. As an emergency medical technician for 20 years, I can tell you that the older generation of the half-deaf and half-blind are far worse and cause many more hazards — yes, the ones driving in the passing lane at 35 miles per hour.
Maybe everyone could benefit from driver safety courses, or they could just drive your golf cart and stay in your 55-and-over community.
Philip Canniff, New Port Richey