Monday, June 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Monday's letters: Higher costs don't mean better care

Trauma care outcomes should be focus, not fees | March 12, commentary

Higher costs don't improve care

HCA executive Darwin Noel Ang carries on the for-profit hospital Kabuki dance with the public by conflating the outcomes of trauma care with the charges. Trauma systems do save lives and decrease morbidity — this has been well-documented for decades. The public should expect a similarity of quality of care at any Florida hospital that has a trauma center designation from the oversight body, the American College of Surgeons. Quality of care within each hospital is monitored by that institution's specific process, which, for the most part, is legally protected from public inquiry.

I have experience as a neurosurgeon who spent much of my 26 years of private practice in the emergency rooms of various Hillsborough County hospitals caring for such trauma patients. Higher charges for health care have been shown, across the delivery spectrum, not to correlate with better quality of care. In my opinion, the outlier charges and billing practices of HCA are meant for two purposes only: to maximize shareholder return on investment and to highly compensate its executive leadership.

Donald L. Mellman, M.D., Tampa

All would benefit from increase March 12, letter

Inflationary effects

The letter writer, like most of the folks in Washington, appears to be unaware of the law of unintended consequences. A 39 percent increase in the minimum wage sounds great, but what about the experienced workers already making $10 per hour — wouldn't they then expect a raise, based on their seniority and experience? What about the supervisors making $15 per hour — would they sit quietly when others have gotten such a large raise?

The cost increase to businesses would indeed result in higher prices, but they certainly would not be "minimal and hardly noticed." When everyone has to suddenly pay more for the same goods and services, it's known as inflation, which works its way throughout the economy, up to the interest rates paid on bonds, loans and even the national debt. If the interest rate rose only 1 percent, that's an additional $170 billion per year added to the national debt. Believe me, we'll all notice.

Peter Ford, St. Petersburg

Five observations about the special election March 13

Early voters hurt process

This article should have included a sixth observation: the problem of early voting. It is evident that significant numbers of early voters cast their ballots in a knee-jerk decision that skews election results. In addition, I think a significant number of early voters would have cast their ballot differently as more was learned about the candidates through debates and news as election day approached.

This problem can be extended to include all elections in Pinellas County and elsewhere that allow early voting far in advance of actual election day. Worse yet, election campaigns exploit this early information gap to the detriment of the integrity of the voting process.

David White, Clearwater

The ad made a difference

David Jolly's late-arriving commercial with his mother and aunt defused the Alex Sink commercials that tried to show him as a threat to Social Security. Coming toward the end of the campaign, it had to be a major factor for his election day voting margin.

Tom Miller, Clearwater

Time for Sink to move on

This excellent article succinctly breaks down the congressional election for Bill Young's seat won by David Jolly. But I am beginning to think that the Democratic Party is becoming a bunch of crybabies. I mean, enough already. Alex Sink ran for governor and lost, and now has made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. House and lost. When is enough enough?

The article also points out the possibility of Jessica Ehrlich, who lost to Young in 2012 and who legitimately lives in Pinellas, eyeing the job. Politics is kind of like basketball: You get the ball, maybe miss a dozen or so shots but you keep shooting until you make a basket. I guess with unemployment remaining at high levels, elected office continues to be the direction to go.

My vote is, let's give Jolly a chance to show his mettle.

John Osterweil, Tampa

Libertarians, conservatives

Overlooked or ignored in David Jolly's 48 percent win over Alex Sink's 47 percent is Libertarian Lucas Overby's just under 5 percent, which were de facto conservative votes. This means 53 percent of the votes cast could be considered to be conservative. Sink's 47 percent looks worse when analyzed in this perspective.

David P. Carter, Seminole

Big flood insurance rate hikes reversed March 14

Politics and deficits

It's great that the flood insurance rates were reversed. Now the question is: How do Republicans justify supporting federal subsidies for flood insurance, which will increase the deficit, while refusing to expand health care for approximately 1 million people in Florida, which the Congressional Budget Office has said will decrease the deficit?

Howard Taylor, St. Petersburg

State court throws out damage cap March 14

Too many lawsuits

This Florida Supreme Court decision reopens the "Florida Medical Lottery" by doing away with caps on "pain and suffering."

No one will argue that trying to define how much pain and suffering are worth is arbitrary at best. What the article failed to mention is that actual medical costs are covered and have never been reduced, and that plaintiffs' attorneys make a percentage, often 30 percent to 50 percent of awards, thus reducing what the plaintiff receives.

This will again open the floodgates for lawsuits to try to win over juries where there were adverse medical outcomes, based on healing and patients' overall health, rather than true medical malpractice. Look for malpractice premiums to rise and surgeons to stop doing high-risk procedures.

David Lubin, M.D., Tampa


Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18