Health care law
Health law delivers wide benefits
There seems to be a lot of complaining that the requirement in the new health care legislation for people to buy health insurance is "unfair." Well, it is unfair to the rest of the taxpayers when these uninsured go to an emergency room and expect to be treated at taxpayer expense.
There are those who call the requirement to buy insurance an imposition on their personal rights or freedom. So is wearing a seat belt or a motorcycle helmet. In most places you can be ticketed or even jailed for not complying. Drivers with decades of spotless driving are still required to have auto insurance. Why is this health care insurance requirement any different?
Let's amend the law so that those who choose not to buy health insurance are excluded from any help at any ER that is taxpayer supported in any way. But wait. I forgot — we are a nation that takes care of our citizens. Or at least ought to.
The health care legislation is giving the country many benefits, such as: not denying insurance to millions of people with pre-existing conditions; extending coverage to those previously excluded; closing the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole"; and allowing more than 24 million young adults to stay on their parents' coverage.
Bill Balmer, Seminole
Public option a better way
To all those criticizing the health care law: If the bill had passed including a public option, we would not have had the mandatory charge to an individual.
If you were against the public option, then you have no one to blame but yourself.
All politicians, Republicans and Democrats, are responsible for this. They are all beholden to the health care industry.
D.J. Holding, Dover
Nelson sided with decency
For those who have not informed themselves about the Dream Act, it is for those people who came here as children, through no fault of their own, to have a chance at citizenship through either military service or going to college.
Children are innocent and should have a chance to gain legal status and become full, contributing citizens. I applaud Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., for voting on the side of decency and fairness. When did we become such a mean and hateful country? Are not most of us descendants of immigrants?
Y. Osmond, Dunedin
Too many so-called secrets
The government's unprecedented challenge to WikiLeaks cannot be understood without a realization of the manner in which a specialized corps of reporters and a few hundred American officials make use of so-called secret and top-secret information. It is a cooperative, competitive and antagonistic relationship.
We have been taught to think of secrets as essential to the private conduct of diplomatic and military affairs and detrimental to the national interest if prematurely disclosed. This is an antiquated and romantic view, since practically everything the government plans or does is stamped secret — and then unraveled by that same government, Congress or the press through cooperative and competitive exchanges of information.
There is no greater safety valve for discontent about the affairs of government than freedom of expression through a free and unbiased press. This has been the genius of our institutions throughout history.
Perhaps a more important issue is the type and amount of information that our government brands as secret. I did not find huge portions of the data released threatening to our national security interest, either domestically or abroad.
Betty Latimer, Port Richey
Segregation impossible to forget | Dec. 26, commentary
Like it was in the '60s
Maybe Mike Littwin of the Denver Post needs to be educated about civil rights and racism in the South in the '60s.
I concur with Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's statement concerning him not remembering how bad integration was in Yazoo City.
I was raised in a small town in southwest Arkansas, about 40 miles from where Bill Clinton was raised. We had a klan presence, the same as in other states.
I remember seeing Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine on television. I remember seeing the 101st Airborne troops guard these children as they were escorted into the school.
Being a teenager from a small town, I did not know what all the uproar was about. Our town was about 100 miles south of Little Rock, and we got along very well with the blacks and never had a problem with racism.
We worked and played with blacks and never thought about what was happening in the big towns.
Barbour said he did not remember it being that bad, and neither do I.
Colin Kelley, Largo
Tampa Bay Rays
Money for millionaires
The sad truth is that Tampa Bay cannot, without government subsidies for a stadium, be a moneymaking venture for the millionaire owners and their millionaire players.
Athletes who perform in these games are nothing more than talented entertainers paid on a par with Hollywood performers, yet Hollywood performers work venues that are for the most part not subsidized with public funds.
If Tampa Bay residents are asked to subsidize a new stadium, we will be forced to help these millionaires get richer. Could it be that these players are overpaid for their skills?
I would be just as happy to watch and root for the Omaha Rays if it meant that my hard-earned tax dollars aren't making the millionaire owners and their millionaire players even richer.
Wayne Cooke, Sun City Center
Lack of hurricanes doesn't keep rates from rising | Dec. 27
Our friends in the property insurance business are at it again, seeking large rate increases because they can't make a profit. Anyone who thinks has been wondering why, with no storm damage since 2005 to pay out, the industry has claimed it is losing money.
Well it turns out that since 2005 Florida insurers have taken in $18 billion more than they paid out in claims. It also seems like these folks report millions in profits to shareholders while crying poverty to their Florida suckers and regulators.
What happened to Kevin McCarty, the insurance commissioner who at one point seemed to be on the side of the consumer? When seeking answers, just look to the Republican-dominated Legislature, a paid branch of the insurance industry. And with Tricky Rick Scott coming on board, don't look for much to change except for an increase in the size of your property insurance bill.
William Adams, St. Petersburg