Health care reform
Divisive tactics hurt America
I participated in the telephone town hall meeting that was held by Rep. Kathy Castor on Thursday evening. The invitation to participate came because I went to the town hall meeting in Ybor City the week before. I didn't get into the meeting myself but put my name on a list asking for contact information. The telephone town hall meeting was scheduled as a way to help structure a more civilized discussion of the health care reform issue.
People from all sides of the issue were invited to ask questions and state their concerns about health care reform. Rep. Castor answered all their questions in a calm, respectful manner and I found the discussion very informative, clarifying many points and dispelling much misinformation.
Castor is on the Energy and Commerce Committee that has had a primary role in writing the health care reform bill, so she should be considered an expert on what is or is not in the bill — at least more of an expert that the right-wing TV/talk radio hosts and Internet bloggers who have been putting out loads of propaganda on this issue. Divisiveness may be good for increasing their listener base but it is not good for our country.
As Americans we are at our best when we are working together, but the divisive tactics are tearing us apart. As citizens we have a duty to get accurate information on issues as important as health care. We cannot count on what is often a biased media to provide us with that information. Rep. Castor invited citizens with questions or comments to contact her. She can be reached through her Web site: www. castor.house.gov.
Mary Bright, Tampa
Rushing into reform
would be a mistake
Our national health care debate is reaching a critical phase and we need to take a step back and have a serious, not simply a high-decibel, debate.
We need to remember that American health care is currently the world gold standard for care and that a safety net is currently in place for the elderly and needy among us. We need to call on our elected representatives to seriously deliberate on the plans being advanced and not simply try to rush a vote to "do something."
We don't want to break the outstanding quality care delivered by our current system, so our representatives need to take the time to carefully read the proposed bills and ensure they are carefully crafted to do what is intended. We then need to carefully reflect if this expansion of government control of a major part of the economy is what we really want.
Dale Hill, Valrico
Health care fix: What Tampa Bay folks want June 15
Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida, noted in the St. Petersburg Times that "the bulk of medical expenses are generated in a patient's final months of life. … We can't achieve health care reform without giving up at least some of that care."
As a senior on Medicare, these kinds of statements are frightening to hear. Does it mean treatments to prolong life will be withheld (hip operations, cancer treatments, etc.)? Does it mean we will not be offered home care and/or hospice in our homes? Does it mean we will be offered assisted suicide? Will all future doctors at USF be instructed in "Euthanasia 101"?
It's not surprising that so many seniors in the town hall meetings seem to be bordering on hysteria. We seniors in America have been so blessed with such excellent care, and we are deeply grateful for it. Please don't allow us to lose this wonderful care!
Mary Lou Kavallierakis, Largo
I find it unbelievable that some people insist that the government will pull the plug on senior citizens. I am a senior citizen with a living will. It states that if the situation should arise in which I am in terminal state and there is no reasonable expectation of my recovery, I direct that I be allowed to die a natural death and that my life not be prolonged by extraordinary measures.
Those who claim that the government will make this decision are delusional.
Sol Helfand, New Port Richey
Help with last wishes
After reading the letters to the editor and especially Daniel Ruth's column Friday (Facing death with facts, not fear), I was prompted to write my own letter. This is in regard to the "death panel" buzzword that is going around. The real issue here is coming up with a "living will."
My 84-year-old mother had a living will and had given it to me years previously for safe keeping. When her time came, she was in the hospital and hooked up to a feeding tube. One day I went to visit her and her arms were strapped down because she had taken out the feeding tube twice during the night.
I had completely forgotten about her living will, and when I came across it after she had died I found that she had requested no feeding tube to help keep her alive. I felt so bad (and I still do) that I had not granted her wishes. Maybe if more people had been in on the requests made in her living will this would not have happened.
This reminds me of Daniel Ruth and his grandmother, who stated that she wanted to die. After all, it was her time, so why prolong it?
Also, to address the waste that President Barack Obama talks about, I have another comment. My dying mother was sent by ambulance to another hospital related to the first one to have an MRI. For what, in God's name? She was dying. What was the point? I believe it was greed. So there you have it.
Kristin T. Goitia, Tampa
Facing death with facts, not fear | Aug. 14, Daniel Ruth column
Hallelujah! It's TGIF when Dan Ruth's column appears. Ruth's column last week shot my Friday right to the stars. Let's hope that those promoting the "ageist blather" read it, then report accurately and set the record straight on the health care reform plan.
Is it just a coincidence that Ruth rhymes with truth? How can you not love a guy who lauds his grandmother.
Barbara Hunting Hanley, St. Petersburg
Preserve public option
Do not abandon the public option for health care reform.
Without the public option, health care reform is meaningless. Since when do we bow to the "terrorists" who represent the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and others profiting from our health care system?
Democrats were elected to change this system! By killing the public option, who are they serving?
Jean Cifelli, New Port Richey