A rightful place for Delbert Hahn | Dec. 17
A heartwarming story of caring
I read the article about Delbert Hahn with sadness and then with joy. What a heartwarming story that began with finding his military service papers (a much-decorated veteran) then his and his wife's and her mother's remains in a trash pile. I cried as I read of the lack of compassion to whomever threw away the "junk."
My father was a World War I veteran; my husband was in the Merchant Marine in World War II; my son is a Navy veteran; and my grandson is serving in the Air Force. I certainly would not want any of my family to be thrown out, so to speak.
Along came two special young people, Mike Colt and Carol Sturgell, who took the time to try to locate relatives of this couple. I cried with feelings for this young couple who took the time and energy to continue looking for the family. It has certainly renewed my faith in the youth of today.
As I read the paper and see the heartache of so many tragedies that seem to befall us, I am joyful that these young people took the time and energy to brighten America at this time of the year.
Thank you Mike and Carol for caring. You are special and you will make a difference in our world.
Carol N. Monas, Clearwater
Carol Sturgell and Mike Colt, the two teenagers who found the urns of Barbara and Delbert Hahn, are to be highly commended for their efforts to get involved and follow through.
The front-page article touched us immensely and brought tears to our eyes — to think these young people really cared that much.
The 56 people — including police officers, National Guardsmen and cemetery workers — attending the funeral services of a man they did not know, standing at attention while taps was sounded, must have been an awesome sight.
Carol Sturgell and Mike Colt, you did an excellent job! Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year to you both.
Carol and Jerry Van Buskirk, Zephyrhills
The value of prevention not just measured in dollars
The statement by David Brooks that preventive care does not save money, rated as true based on Congressional Budget Office figures, tells me that PolitiFact should look more closely at the CBO.
Was this judgment based on the cost of doing something vs. doing nothing? Preventive care is very broad and it's difficult to measure long-term savings to society by CBO's shortsighted standards.
If the CBO is right, then why not stop all preventive measures? No vaccines, no AIDS testing, no annual physicals or lab studies, no infection control measures and so on.
The savings to society from preventive care go much further than most can imagine in dollars.
Edward Moriarty, Largo
Lie of the year | Dec. 20
Health care is rationed
This article is a bit misleading. I was a chief urology resident in Atlanta from 1971 to 1972. Medicare reimbursements had been available for two to three years. Renal dialysis and transplant surgery had just become available.
I was on a panel to decide who would get dialysis. If you had another major illness, were over 65 years old, or were not a major society contributor, you would probably not be eligible for dialysis.
Now, no one was saying that this person should die and that one should live, but the message was clear.
It is a fact that most of our health dollars are spent on the "hopeless." You can't take any more away from doctors and hospitals, so the only way to cut costs is to somehow ration care. Whether you call it death panels or creative financing is your choice.
Gary K. Keats, M.D., Clearwater
Insurance 'death panels'
A letter writer continues to claim that the pending health care legislation will lead to rationing and "death panels," even after you found this to be a "lie of the year." To all who defend the current health care mess in this country, we already have rationing and "death panels." They are called insurance companies.
There are endless stories of people denied coverage because of existing conditions or of those who have their policy canceled because they have reached their limit. A study recently found that 45,000 people die in this country every year because they can't get health insurance. Sounds like death panels are already firmly in place.
P. McLean, Riverview
A political ploy
If health care reform is so important, why wait until 2013 to have it begin? We are not starting this "very important reform" until after the next presidential election. Why? I can see the ads already. We got health care reform passed — Vote Obama in 2012. He is the man of change.
If we enacted this reform in June 2010, we would have about 18 months of this new program to base our next presidential election on. We would have a year of expenses to track, a year of tax increases under our belts. We might have a good idea of what we are being forced into. I think the powers in Washington are afraid of the fallout from this new health care bill. If it starts after the next election, guess what: Too late America.
If this plan is so great, why not let all those in the House and Senate fall under the same reform? They think they have a great new plan; let them use what they have enacted. Congress knows what is best for everyone but themselves.
I am hoping for a Christmas without "reform."
Pete Greeley, Hudson
Look to others for ideas
Anyone in this country who is interested in putting together a better and cheaper health care system should read T.R. Reid's The Healing of America. Reid, a first-rate journalist and correspondent, looks at the successes and failures of other countries' health care and distills it into an understandable 250-page book.
It is striking how many similarities the successful countries have. For instance, all other rich nations have a single system for everyone. Ours is a hodgepodge of many, depending on whether you are over 65, in the military, a native American, working for a large company, a small company, or without a job.
Also, every other rich country has made it a moral mandate to have universal coverage as the first priority. And they all have some sort of government involvement all the way from the single-payer British system to a more market-based plan like Japan's, where the government sets the fees.
We really need to get over the paranoia of "a government takeover" and pragmatically design a system that benefits all with 10 percent or less of GDP (rather than our 17 percent and growing), like all these other countries have or we'll eventually bankrupt this nation. We can learn a lot by listening to others.
George Chase, St. Pete Beach
Letters responding to story on clinic for Canadians | Dec. 7
Fortunes on misfortunes
Did anyone ask these Canadians how much they earn or what they are worth? I'll bet they are in the upper class. Canada, though not as mean-spirited as the United States, is a class society. I don't think a grocery clerk could afford a summer, or even a week, in Florida, never mind the $3,000 insurance.
They are a free, democratic society. If our for-profit health system is so great, why don't they change to it? How come civilized democratic countries in Europe, who generally provide health care for all, are not changing to our system?
Making fortunes on the misfortunes, sickness and illness of fellow citizens is sad, sick, ghoulish!
John Culkin, St. Petersburg
Christmas spirit is alive
The Christmas spirit is alive and well! A friend of ours has an adult son in a wheelchair who needs to be helped with his meals. The man's father takes him everywhere, and the son has had all the experiences and fun things possible for him.
This week, they were having dinner at a nice restaurant with family and friends. When the father tried to pay the bill, he was told that it had already been paid by a fellow diner who wanted to remain anonymous.
The next day, father and son were in a small restaurant by the beach, and another stranger asked if they had ever gone deep-sea fishing. The man said he had a daughter in a similar situation, and they had been on a boat that would welcome them. When the father said no, he hadn't thought of the possibility, the stranger called the boat owner, the father made arrangements, and next day the delighted son caught four fish! Merry Christmas.
Gail Borden, Clearwater