A pre-existing plea for good care for all | July 5, commentary
Living in the shadows of greed
Thank you for Tyler Hudson's opinion piece regarding the real problem many middle class citizens face because of insurance companies' refusal to cover pre-existing health conditions. Many critics of the Affordable Care Act try to convince listeners that it is only a contrivance of the Obama administration to aid the poor, the immigrants and others they want us to believe are a drain on society.
I am a member of the self-employed, productive middle class. My wife has a master's degree from one of the finest art colleges in the country. She has always been self-employed. She has never been able to afford the high cost of individual health care premiums. Seven years ago, before we were married, she discovered she had a life-threatening disease most likely caused by the negligence of a hospital 20 years before. The only recourse for treatment was through the community health care facilities of Pinellas County. Thankfully, like Hudson, her illness is in remission but always subject to possible recurrence.
We have estimated that through private care the cost of her treatment would have been $100,000-plus. Now that we are together we could afford insurance, but of course we cannot obtain it. If her illness resurfaces, I will bankrupt myself to get the necessary care.
So, to the critics of "Obama-Romney Care" I say walk in the shoes of Tyler Hudson, my wife and millions of industrious Americans who live in the dark shadows of the greed of the insurance conglomerates before you scream about the imagined trauma you will suffer when it becomes the law of the land.
Arthur Eggers, Tampa
Coherent alternative to Obamacare exists July 5, David Brooks column
A cynical, dark plan
David Brooks' essay is breathtaking in both its cynicism and its deception. He lays out a plan authored by James Capretta and Robert Moffit as based on Republican principles, and with a wink claims Mitt Romney is behind it but won't espouse it.
The plan boils down to an even more cynical version of Paul Ryan's 2012 budget proposal. Destroy Obamacare and simultaneously change Medicare to a voucher system. This is the Republican love that dares not say its name. Tax credits replace insurance. Americans should be "encouraged" to buy insurance, as if that coda would have any effect on Americans' buying insurance, even if they could afford it. And then comes the nexus of the "argument": "This approach would replace Medicare's cost burden with a defined contribution structure," more commonly known as a voucher.
So the Republican plan to end Obamacare is to destroy Medicare and Medicaid. Forget the 50 million uninsured — the Republicans want to double down and make it more equitable. They'd destroy everyone's insurance to save our freedom to be morally as well as physically bankrupt.
Thomas Hayes, Dunedin
Prescription for decline | July 2, commentary
Extremely valuable product
I would like to question a major underlying assumption in Will Marshall's piece that comes up in most health care system analyses, namely that regardless of how well or inefficiently money is spent, it is somehow inherently disastrous that health care costs are an increasing percentage of GDP.
So what? Why is keeping as many Americans as possible progressively healthier less valuable an economic activity than anything else? A strong economy doesn't care what specifically is produced and consumed in it. Would you rather have more consumer electronics in return for more people dying or living with physical suffering? We feed, clothe and house ourselves relatively well. After that what could be more important than health?
Remember, health care won't be expensive forever. Medical science is advancing at an accelerating rate. We will reach a tipping point of understanding relatively soon where we can expect medical costs to plummet. Agriculture went from accounting for most of GDP to a couple of percent by the end of the 20th century. In the meantime we all get sick. Isn't the fundamental point of civilization to solve problems that we all share?
R.H. Clark, Tampa
Weeny bit of smashing news July 6, Daniel Ruth column
Morsel of insight
Thanks for presenting at least a layman's humorous coverage of this magnificent event. But I must quibble with one point. The reason that the Higgs boson is often called "the God particle" is not because scientists think it is the key to the understanding of physical reality and therefore of God, but for a much more mundane reason. According to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon M. Lederman, author of the 1993 popular science book The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What is the Question?, his "publisher wouldn't let us call it the G--d--- Particle, though that might be a more appropriate title, given its villainous nature and the expense it is causing." So for purely commercial reasons, the publisher shortened the term to the God particle!
Shirley Copperman, Tarpon Springs
Enforce the laws
Why is it that any time officials, Gov. Rick Scott in this case, try to enforce laws on voting, immigration, securing public assistance and so on, certain people cry out with claims of discrimination, voter suppression, ad nauseam? One would think citizens would support the enforcement of our laws. Detractors continue to point to small percentages of those on the list who are illegally registered. Do percentages really matter? My feeling is that if just one name on the list is illegal it is worth the effort.
Regarding faulty lists of potential illegal registrants in Florida, if the Department of Justice had provided the data Scott requested, the state would not have needed to use info from the DMV. Even so, it is insulting to legitimate voters to assume that they are not able or willing to verify their eligibility to vote. Ditto for certain individuals' not being able to provide a photo ID at the polls, since this is a document required for many of the daily transactions we all conduct.
We, the people, need to wake up and demand that our standards be upheld and our laws enforced!
Marilyn Renner, Dunedin