Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Letters To The Editor

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

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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

Comments

Tuesday’s letters: Disgraceful tax proposals

Tax billDisgraceful, harmful proposalsThe very fact that the Congress of the people of the United States would propose, not to mention pass, the current tax bill is nothing short of disgraceful. What sort of representatives of the people support cutt...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers

Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14Stop laying blame on teachersI am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. Sh...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Nov. 17

Questioning fees draws snarky responseYou are probably aware of the new Pasco utility fees that became effective last month.Under the dubious title of "convenience fee" for making utility payments by credit card or e-check, Pasco Utilities adds $2.75...
Published: 11/15/17

Dollars need to stay at home if south Brooksville is to survive

As a member of the Moton High School Class of 1967, I grew up a poor but very happy child because of the love given to me by all. So all I had to do was be a child and not rush to be an adult.There were many black businesses along a four-block area o...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/18/17

Wednesday’s letters: Generosity makes all the difference

National Adoption MonthThe difference generosity makesAs a football coach, I always had to be ready to overcome unexpected challenges. With injuries, crowd noise and especially weather, the game plan is always adjusting to overcome adversity.Our stat...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17

Monday’s letters: Moore is not fit for public office

Woman: Candidate pursued her as a teen | Nov. 10Moore is not fit for public officeIt is sad that Roy Moore, a self-professed religious man, is running for a Senate seat when he is clearly unfit for any job involving the public for so many reasons...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/13/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t fall for the tax cut ruse

Tax billDon’t take your eye off the ballThe rush is on. The Republican Congress is rushing to pass a modest tax cut for the middle class while giving corporations a massive tax cut. While taking away some of the tax deductions from ordinary taxpayers...
Published: 11/10/17