Friday, December 15, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Help's available in navigating health care

Major safety net at stake | March 25, editorial

Help in navigating health care

This editorial notes that "Americans are often confused about the Affordable Care Act. Six in 10 don't know how it will impact their lives."

While this plays out on the national level, SHINE, a state-run agency, continues to provide free, unbiased and up-to-date information. Yet compared with private insurance companies, SHINE — Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders — has relatively limited financial resources to promote its services. Nevertheless, the number of clients has grown dramatically and the organization needs many more volunteers.

As we await the Supreme Court's ruling, we appreciate even more our access to SHINE volunteers. Whatever the court's ruling, SHINE volunteers are on the front line, available to help us and our families understand Medicare and Medicaid and all the other services we may need but not know how to get. SHINE can be reached at 1-800-963-5337 or

Debra Sheldon, Dunedin

Major safety net at stake | March 25, editorial

Managing chronic diseases

As the Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the provision in health reform mandating insurance coverage, we as Floridians need to remember that health reform also provides solutions for rising health care costs.

Chronic diseases, like diabetes, are a main driver behind the rising health care costs that are drowning Floridians. Floridians spend $16,551 a minute on health care costs associated with diabetes, and this is estimated to increase to $76,922 per minute by 2025. The number of Floridians with diabetes has nearly doubled in the last 15 years and is expected to double again by 2025.

Fortunately, community health worker diabetes management programs offer high-talk instead of high-tech solutions. Community health workers providing diabetes management services empower diabetics to improve their diet, increase their physical activity, adhere to self-care behaviors and access needed health care services, thus reducing poor diabetic health outcomes and unnecessary urgent care expenses.

Evaluations of these programs have shown reductions by about one-third in expensive emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

We cannot afford to drown in diabetes-related health care costs. We should support health reform and in particular the development of community health worker systems.

Heather Williamson, Tampa

Death panel may be reality

It seems the Republicans were right: There is a death panel in American health care. If the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare, it will be the death panel for millions of Americans who have no health care and millions of children with preconditions.

Edward White, St. Petersburg

Obama ad on the money about Medicare drug savings | March 28, PolitiFact

Someone pays, now or later

This PolitiFact on Medicare drug savings was, at best, misleading. Just because the government is paying for the drugs doesn't make them cheaper. It just means somebody else is paying for them: either current taxpayers or, since we're borrowing a lot of the money, future-generation taxpayers.

Larry Alter, Seminole

Florida Polytechnic

Veto the new university

For the sake of financial sanity, it is imperative that Gov. Rick Scott veto the new 12th university in Polk County and the roadway to nowhere.

The taxpayers are already stuck with a judicial Taj Mahal in Leon County, and now the Legislature wants to stick the taxpayers with a collegiate Taj Mahal in Polk County and a road to nowhere.

Student debt is at an all-time high and reportedly equal to the national credit card debt. While tuitions are rising, the Legislature adds the extra expense of a new university. It does not make sense to start a new university when the state's budget is already stressed.

Roger H. Wilson, Seminole

Flawed economics | March 27, letter

Investors should pay more

In defending the lower tax on capital gains vs. wages, a reader wrote: "(Warren) Buffett's tax is paid on capital gains, not wages. The income is based strictly on his investments."

Which, of course, is true. Wages are paid for actual work — producing goods or providing services, which benefits the economy and the community. Investment income is simply the result of manipulating markets for the purpose of diverting more money into one's hand, which benefits no one but the investor.

Obviously, wage income should be taxed at a much lower rate than investment income, since it provides greater benefit to society as a whole.

Robert Sterling, St. Petersburg

Escaping debt, decline March 27, commentary

Hardly working

In this column, I noted Rep. Paul Ryan's use of the term "hardworking taxpayers" twice. President Barack Obama used the term "hardworking Americans" twice and "hardworking students" once in his State of the Union message. In fact, I doubt if there's a politician who doesn't use some form of "hardworking" someones at every campaign stop.

Therefore, I suggest that a form of the term "hardly working politicians, looking for handouts" be used by all of us "hardworking Americans" to describe our ruling class of elite contribution queens who traverse our "hardworking country" with their "Open for Business" signs, sweet-talking us bumpkins as they collect contributions for their super PACs.

Jay Cooper, Riverview

Fill in the details

When I saw Congressman Paul Ryan's article in the Times, I was hoping for a clear explanation of his much talked about budget proposal.

Unfortunately, all he said was, "My ideas are better than yours, but I'm not going to tell you why because I know better than you."

Please, congressman. I see the bun; where's the beef?

Ronn Ginn, St. Petersburg

Cheney in recovery following heart transplant | March 25

The heart of the matter

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has a new heart beating in his chest. If he were without insurance, that new heart would likely be beating in someone else's chest.

Robert Bucklin, Zephyrhills


Friday’s letters: Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes

GOP plan favors owners | Dec. 11Perils of small business ownersI wonder if the author of this article has even a clue about owning a business. Businessmen — especially small business owners — risk it all. They risk their savings, their car, their...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17