GOP politics trumps policy | Oct. 25, editorial
Expanding health coverage is a priority
Your argument that the Florida Legislature's attempts to expand health care coverage are "more politics than policy" just shows how far you will go to not give credit to legislative efforts made to assist individuals in securing health insurance coverage. The Legislature can create all the programs it wants, but if businesses or individuals choose not to enroll in them then that is something that is beyond the Legislature's control.
As a lawmaker, one of my top priorities has been to make health care affordable and available to as many people as possible. Community health care has long been something I have championed. In prior years I have helped secure funding for programs as diverse as the Good Samaritan Clinic and dental care for children through the Pasco County Health Department.
In Pasco County I chaired the Pasco Primary Care Access Network, which was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the currently under construction health clinic in Hudson (which will double as a hurricane shelter as needed). The clinic, to be run by Premier Health Care, will provide medical service to the uninsured and the underinsured in our community. A similar health care program exists on the east side of Pasco and has received legislative support for many years.
While the Democratic leadership in Washington continues to force a bill that will not provide health care to all, as well as infringe upon the ability of many individuals to choose the coverage they want, concerns on both side of the political aisle have been pushing for an opt-out provision for states. Despite what eventually may come down from our nation's capital, I will continue to work on behalf of the constituents I represent to expand the availability of coverage to as many people who are in need.
Mike Fasano, state senator, District 11, New Port Richey
Showing a disregard for the disadvantaged
It is interesting that the idea of opting out, to move the public option in health care through Congress, is gaining momentum among some Blue Dog Democrats and those conservative Republicans whose constituencies lie mostly in the Southern states and a few in the far West. Opting out says that states can refuse public option health care so that existing insurance industries have total access for health care.
Many of these states have the lowest per-capita funding for children in public schools, Medicaid and scores of other funded programs meant to help the most disadvantaged and those least able to help themselves.
There appears to be total disregard among some political circles for people who are struggling in our economy. There is a bootstrap mentality that no matter who we are or what our circumstances we can achieve monumental successes in the workplace through persistent, dogged perseverance and competitive zeal. In America, they say, everybody has opportunities that can place them at the head of the company.
Tell that to the more than 40 million Americans without essential health care. Tell that to workers displaced as jobs go to the cheapest labor forces around the globe. Tell that to racial, ethnic and other minority peoples struggling to find their way down paths paved with the legacies of old families in familiar surroundings. Tell that to single mothers begging to find their way in our society. Separate the haves from the have-nots and just don't worry about anything.
Deron Mikal, Brooksville
Not for profit
I've thought about this for a long time, even throughout my years with PacifiCare Behavioral Health (a health insurance company which is now part of United Healthcare).
Beyond employee payroll (from CEO to janitor) and reasonable overhead costs, health care, in this country, absolutely should not be a "for-profit" enterprise.
Unless you are an investor, an executive or lobbyist for health care providers, your "common sense" should tell you that your health should not be held hostage to these companies. Common sense.
David M. Childress Sr., Palm Harbor
In their mad dash to stop much-needed health care reform, the big insurance companies and their lobbyists are trying to scare me and other seniors into fighting to protect more than $100 billion in subsidies for them over 10 years.
Of course, that's not what they tell us. They try to scare us into thinking that our health benefits are at risk. One insurance company even sent letters with the misleading, bold-faced warning that "millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many important benefits" if health care reform passes.
The truth is that by reducing overpayments to private insurers in Medicare Advantage, President Barack Obama's health care reform plan would increase the money available to lower prescription drug costs, pay for preventive care and improve the long-term stability of Medicare.
Seniors certainly have nothing to fear from that. But insurers do — and they want to scare us into helping protect their profits.
This senior will not be tricked. I hope seniors are able to see through the fearmongering and support this legislation that is in their best interest and in the best interest of their fellow Americans.
Barbara Pitt, Sun City Center
Mike Luckovich cartoon | Oct. 26
I opened Monday's paper to the editorial page and was stunned to see the cartoon concerning the pope's invitation to disaffected Episcopalians to join the Catholic Church. While I understand that some may view this move cynically, the cartoon goes way beyond the bounds of good taste and is very insulting to me personally.
This kind of sleazy journalism is what gives the media a bad name.
While I defend your right to publish this cartoon, I question the judgment of your editors in printing it. At a time when newspaper readership is declining, offending a good portion of your readers does not seem sensible. An apology would be appropriate.
Richard Vanni, Seminole
Vatican woos Anglicans | Oct. 21, story
As a seventh-generation Episcopalian/Anglican, I think I'll pass on the Vatican's not too original offer. The Roman Catholic Church has been trying to proselytize us since 1534.
As reporter John Barry points out, in the Episcopal Church the laity is encouraged to think for itself.
As an individual who has been happily married for 41 years, I cannot understand how the life commitment of another couple, gay or straight, has any effect on me whatsoever.
Similarly I find it hard to understand a rationale that seeks to beatify a holy person such as Mother Teresa but is unwilling to grant her and all others of her gender the full authority of the church through the priesthood.
I would much prefer to be counseled by a person comfortable with his or her own sexual orientation than by a person living in fear of her or his spiritual superior.
I'll stay an Episcopalian, thank you very much.
R. R. Campbell, St. Petersburg