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Friday letters: Our health care system is irrevocably broken

Matter of life, death | Dec. 9, commentary

A system irrevocably broken

This opinion piece by Robert Steinback says it all. Unfortunately his is not an isolated case. This scenario is played out repeatedly day after day. People are denied health care for a variety of reasons. Many are denied because of pre-existing conditions, others because they cannot afford to pay and still others — especially children in Florida covered by Medicaid and Healthy Kids — because the reimbursement for providers is so poor that many refuse to see them. And hence equal access to care is denied.

Day in and day out I see uninsured children who are unable to receive appropriate medical care because their parents cannot afford to pay for it. These people are not lazy. They are not "bums." They are hard-working, struggling families who simply do not have adequate income.

As a country we must hang our head in shame. One does not have to be altruistic to desire real health care reform. One only has to look at a system that is irrevocably broken. This adversely affects each and every one of us.

It is a system that needs true fixing, not the junk and politicking that is going on now in Washington. Our government, including the president and members of both parties, are missing an opportunity to strengthen the country economically and improve the quality of life and health of all of our citizens. They have taken a simple solution and made it complicated, convoluted and more expensive than it need be. From Day 1 Sen. Max Baucus would not even allow discussion by advocates of a single-payer system.

We are failing as a people. We are failing as a nation. If we continue down this path of greed and profit our children and grandchildren will pay a very high price. The current makeup of our legislative bodies, the way they conduct business and the worship of the dollar to the exclusion of the well-being of our fellow man, is the biggest threat our country has ever faced.

David Cimino, M.D., St. Petersburg

Matter of life, death | Dec. 9, commentary by Robert Steinback

Insurance options available

I presume that Robert Steinback is a resourceful and intelligent person since the St. Petersburg Times feels his opinion is worthy of publishing.

I presume that, as an intelligent person, he did not wait until last week to figure out what was going to happen to his insurance. And as a resourceful person (with many contacts at the Miami Herald, and who knows what other newspapers) I presume that he asked many contacts about his options. Given those presumptions, I am certain that somewhere, sometime, someone mentioned Florida Small Group Reform.

This state legislation was passed in the mid '90s, and essentially puts all small employers on the same footing, in terms of pre-existing conditions, price, guaranteed issue, etc., and small group in Florida is any employer between 1 and 50 employees (or a self-employed person).

I see there is a Robert He is a freelance writer, and I presume he doesn't usually write for free. He receives compensation and therefore should be eligible for Small Group coverage in Florida. There are some limitations and requirements in Small Group, but it would be hard to imagine how a self-employed writer, receiving income, could not qualify for this coverage (including for pre-existing conditions) if he didn't wait until the last minute.

There are many insurance brokers in his community to contact for more information. Further, he could contact any of the major insurance carriers in Florida directly, and they will be happy to answer any questions.

Jay J. Pierce, Registered Employee Benefits Consultant, Dunedin

Matter of life, death | Dec. 9, commentary by Robert Steinback

A selfish nation

Robert Steinback has written one of the best and most poignant articles yet about the health care debate in this nation.

America has become a nation of selfishness. We fight wars that we refuse to support with our children and treasure. We demand that our borders be closed and those who are here without the proper paperwork be sent back to whence they came. We educate our children as if they are worth nothing to our future. And we refuse to provide health care to those in need -— most through no fault of their own.

Is it the baby boomer generation now in power that has made us so selfish? After all, this generation has been selfish from the moment we opened our eyes. I do not have the answer.

I do know this, however. Whenever and wherever in the history of mankind a nation has turned to selfishness, that nation has disappeared in a matter of just a couple of generations. .

Bless you, Mr. Steinback. And good luck to you. I am in the same boat.

Martin Daugherty, St. Petersburg

Matter of life, death | Dec. 9, commentary

We need to act

Robert Steinback's opinion piece regarding his diabetic condition and inability to obtain insurance coverage should be required reading for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, the president, and all the leaders of both national parties.

This letter very clearly illustrates many of the serious problems with the current health care system. It is unconscionable that our country allows anyone to find themselves in Steinback's situation. And his case is only the tip of the iceberg.

It is imperative that each one of us contact our elected representatives in Washington (and Tallahassee) to end partisan bickering and to demand action to provide access to affordable care for each of us.

Dr. Willis Warrender, St. Petersburg

A fearful price | Dec. 9, Bob Herbert column

A duty to serve

Bob Herbert's column about less than 1 percent of Americans being called upon to serve in the military in our two wars was so to the point. How can this nation support two wars that have been going so long and expect so few to do the fighting? Three, four and even more tours of duty have to be performed by a single American.

If Congress and the American people want to support the troops, rhetoric isn't enough. Does any elected figure dare touch that third rail — i.e., involve all Americans in this effort via a military draft? I can hear the far-left liberals, along with many conservatives, running for cover.

What we are doing to less than 1 percent of our fellow Americans is indefensible. To paraphrase George Washington, "Every citizen who enjoys the protection of a free government owes not only a proportion of his property but his personal service to the defense of it."

Perry Dahl, Tampa

Bring back the draft

The current policy of sending other people's children to fight and die in the desert is disgusting and immoral. If this war is important enough for Americans to make the ultimate sacrifice, then it is important enough for all of us to be invested in it. Reinstate the draft!

Jim Porter, Clearwater

Nation follows Tampa case | Dec. 7, story

It's about rights

I was surprised to see Deputy Attorney General Joe Jacquot quoted as saying, "The goal of Miranda is to ensure voluntary confessions."

Actually, no. The intent of the Miranda warning is to ensure that suspects know their rights prior to an interrogation. No matter how many times other courts have watered down the specific language that is used in the Miranda warning, its original intent still remains the same.

Stacey Kroto, Pinellas Park

Friday letters: Our health care system is irrevocably broken 12/10/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 2009 7:16pm]
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