Health bill clears first hurdle in Senate | Nov. 22, story
Centrists should look beyond partisan politics
While I'm pleased to see that the Democratic caucus showed unity to bring the health care reform bill to the floor for debate, a group of centrist Democratic senators voiced opposition to the bill's public option provision.
These centrist senators don't seem to realize that on some issues it's not a matter of left, right or center, but a matter of right and wrong.
They were wrong to cut $133 billion from the stimulus bill, which has slowed the economic recovery and delayed the turnaround on unemployment.
They are now wrong on being against the public option, which will compete with private insurance companies to lower premiums and improve coverage for all policyholders, both private and public.
On the public option and the stimulus, the centrist Democrats remind me of an incompetent lifeguard who rescues a drowning swimmer from the bottom of a pool but only swims three-quarters the way up from the bottom, causing a failing and fatal effort.
These senators have to get it right on these critically important issues if we're going to have affordable health insurance for all Americans and a fast-growing economy that results in full employment, because right now we're drowning.
Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg
A good start, but more to do on health reform Nov. 20, editorial
Medicare commission is no way to govern
I am a supporter of reform but object to a Medicare commission. I have spent the last 30 years in Washington, D.C., a large portion of which was on Capitol Hill. In almost every case a commission is established by the Congress or administration, in which their recommendations are automatically enacted into law unless one of the two governing bodies reject their recommendation.
This is nothing more than an after-the-fact ruse for them to shirk their responsibilities and seek political cover. No law should ever be enacted unless voted on by our elected representatives. The voters should have the right to express their support or objection to the position of their representatives on the issues at the ballot box.
A commission should be a recommending body, not a governing body that can enact laws or policies by the absence or neglect of our Congress.
John Peterpaul, Madeira Beach
A leap toward better care by Peter Orszag and Health reform bills are budget-busters by David Broder | Nov. 22
Siding with skeptics
So whom are we to believe? Two articles about health care, placed adjacent to one another on your Opinion page, are in conflict. Peter Orszag lauds the proposed bill and assures readers that the reform bill will, indeed, reduce the deficit by billions of dollars. And further, that deficit neutrality is achieved in both the House and Senate version of the bill.
David Broder, on he other hand, makes no bones about stating that health reform bills are "budget-busters" and that promised savings may never materialize. In fact he suggests that federal costs for health care would increase rather than decline.
The sponsors of these bills are able to manipulate the numbers to reflect whatever argument they wish to pursue, by the use of beguiling, misleading wording. Broder refers to the use of "budget gimmicks" to attain the wanted results. And so I ask again, whom are we to believe?
I have made up my mind that this bill will increase health care costs, raise taxes, and cut health care for seniors. It will move us into a Medicaid-for-all system, and every American will be at the mercy of a government-regulated plan. And it seems there is nothing I can do about it!
Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole
Preview of rationing | Nov. 21, letter
Is this letter writer kidding me? He thinks this news about new mammogram advice is a "preview of Obama government health care reform"? Does he think the insurance companies — who have been rationing our health care for decades — are going to say, gosh, golly, we're going to let you get all the mammograms you and your doctor think you need?
They are simply going to use these new recommendations — as they have in the past — as an excuse to not pay for mammograms. Does this letter writer think the insurance companies do not make decisions based on cost/benefit? Yes, let your elected officials know you do support a government-run program! People, don't listen to the scare tactics!
Cynthia Clark, Tampa
Health care reform
An inside view
In September, my husband was told he had cancer. We were sent to USF, where we were told that he had six to eight months to live. I can not express the shock we both felt to hear these words.
My husband began treatment at the most wonderful cancer center, I feel, in Florida. He has a very caring doctor and staff that work together. The medicines cost about $25,000 per month. We are blessed to have insurance that covers most of this cost.
I think about the people who are not as fortunate as we are. I now know why many families have to file bankruptcy to get the care for their loved ones.
This nation needs to overhaul its medical system. I speak not as a person who has been told about the problems, but one who is going through the system and sees the problems firsthand. Please tell the people in Washington that we need health care reform.
LaTreetha E. Sharpley, Spring Hill
Health care reform
Copy an existing plan
It is embarrassing to live in the only industrialized country in the world that does not care enough about its citizens to provide them all with modern health care. The United States is the only country where there are bankruptcies due to the costs of medical care and many going without any health care. It's shameful!
Our members of Congress are not going to do the right thing and pass health care legislation. They are too busy trying to be politically correct in their own misguided way that they will never reach an ideological agreement. It justifies the old joke that the opposite of progress is Congress.
Let's stop trying to reinvent the wheel and simply adopt a successful system used by another country. We can tweak from there, but let's get something going now that is a proven success. I suggest Australia as a model. Their people are very much like us. It sure as heck will work a lot better than what we have now.
Bill Balmer, Seminole
Health care bill has fewer words than "War and Peace" | Nov. 21, PolitiFact.com
But is it understandable?
Your PolitiFact comparing the length of the health care bill to the length of War and Peace brought back painful memories of 11th-grade English class where we spent two long months analyzing Tolstoy's novel.
You can make arguments that one is longer with regard to number of pages or that one is longer with regard to number of words, but the main concern should be which one is understandable. I understood the first sentence of War and Peace, but truthfully I didn't understand the first sentence of the health care bill.
Lori Degaetano, Largo
Playing the name game for dollars | Nov. 20, Daniel Ruth column
Ease off on the overkill
Daniel Ruth's column needs a scrubbing for his tasteless and offensive innuendoes about the Patels and David Straz, who are active philanthropists whatever their motivations. Ruth's column is a low in journalism for the Times and perhaps even for Ruth whose mother clearly didn't use soap and water to improve his instincts of overkill. I don't know the Patels or Straz, but will take their gifts for the public benefit even if ego and naming rights are involved. These are normal human motives along with altruism.
Unlike Western Europe where the state acts pervasively, philanthropy is an honored and fruitful tradition in America whether by individuals or businesses. Let Ruth take a refresher on some of the tenets and best practices of journalism and also say a good word for numerous fine charities that do fine work for humankind.
James R. Gillespie, St. Petersburg