Lawmaker calls PIP law flawed | May 22
Insurers pitted against doctors
As a physician who treats auto injuries, I was pleased to read the letter by Rep. Rick Kriseman to Gov. Rick Scott regarding the new PIP law that will soon go into effect. Most people are not aware of the negative consequences that will occur if they are in a crash. Florida law requires that all drivers carry a $10,000 PIP policy to cover their own medical expenses, regardless of fault. For many people in this state who are uninsured or underinsured, PIP is the only insurance that pays their medical bills if they are in a car accident. However, under the new law, the injured driver can only receive $2,500 in PIP care unless an "emergency medical condition" is diagnosed. The problem that will arise is that the definition of an EMC is unclear to doctors and hospitals. Does a herniated disc or rotator cuff injury (which can require treatment far exceeding $2,500) constitute an EMC? How can a doctor order X-rays, MRIs and other necessary tests and then treat the patient, all for only $2,500? Even though the law says that the treating medical physician can make the EMC diagnosis, it is the insurance company that will approve or disapprove of that diagnosis once the bills are submitted. Since approving the EMC diagnosis will potentially cost the insurance company $7,500, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what will likely happen.
The law also forces an injured person to see a doctor within 14 days of the accident or he cannot receive any treatment under PIP. I have been treating injured patients for over 12 years, and many of them do not begin to feel severe pain for weeks or even months after an accident.
Last, drivers in Florida shouldn't hold their breath that their rates will go down. This bill was crafted by insurance company lobbyists in Tallahassee who found willing partners in the Florida Legislature and a bullying governor. The result is a law that limits or eliminates quality care and puts every driver in Florida at risk if he or she is in an accident.
Dr. Marc J. Rogers, Largo
Rubio's ridiculous red-meat rhetoric May 22, Daniel Ruth column
Man of no substance
Daniel Ruth hit the nail on the head. Sen. Marco Rubio is a lot of talk with no substance. He should go back and study high school history and he would know that Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush were the two worst presidents in the last 60 years. What has Rubio done to make things better for the people of Florida? His voting record is ridiculous when it comes to jobs, taxes, veterans, health care, women's issues, immigration, etc. Thank God we have a moderate senator, Bill Nelson, to look out for the interests of the citizens of Florida.
Glen Copeland, Wesley Chapel
Polytech looks worse up close May 24, editorial
Bring on lawsuit
I agree that the Legislature and governor's decision to create Florida Polytechnic University may not have been wise. And I can't help but wonder what happened to Michael Long, the student representative to the Board of Governors. Many of us were impressed, back in November, with his courage in taking on Sen. JD Alexander. So which governor is going to have the nerve to stand up before it's too late and ask the courts to stop this nonsense?
Joseph Nixon, Dunedin
Romney's real goal at Bain | May 24, column
Yes, he created jobs
Steven Rattner's left-leaning commentary suggests that Mitt Romney's track record of job creation is just GOP smoke and mirrors. Companies like Staples, Sports Authority and even that vacant GST Steel mill directly or indirectly benefited from Bain Capital. Now let's flip the coin. How many private sector jobs has Barack Obama created? For that matter, how many has he worked at?
Mark Campbell, St. Petersburg
Romney: Stop the spending | May 17
A push for plutocracy
As we all know by now Willard Romney was in town last week pandering to the tea party by declaring that the federal government must stop the spending and suggesting that we need to consider following Greece's example of austerity programs. He goes on to state that as president he will repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something else. But he provided no details about the new secret health care plan or when the 30 million people who will suddenly lose their health care insurance will be covered again.
This is all red meat for the tea party. After all, what do they care if some poor soul or family loses health care insurance; they have their Medicare, and Romney says that is safe. You have to wonder if any of these people are aware of the Republican plan Paul Ryan has been trying to get passed for the last two years that turns Medicare into a voucher system.
Taking from the poor to give to the rich by reducing food stamp funding, eliminating Meals on Wheels, and introducing massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid goes a long way toward creating a plutocracy. Which I believe is the Republicans' real agenda.
Chuck Wolowitz, Largo
For teen moms, it's poverty, then pregnancy May 20, commentary
A vulnerable group
Matthew Yglesias of Slate concludes that "teen motherhood is much more a consequence of intense poverty than its cause." Whether these young women are poor because they were teen moms or are teen moms because they were poor is a question that merits further research and discussion. But that trajectory does not have to be set.
For more than 30 years, Alpha House of Tampa has offered teen moms and homeless pregnant women and mothers safe housing and the tools they need to become self-sufficient and responsible parents. We work with over 100 community partners to provide pre- and postnatal medical, dental and mental health care, and counseling.
As Hillsborough County's only licensed maternity residence, we strive for four goals:
• Healthy births (each baby born at normal birth weight saves the community $29,000).
• More educated and employable mothers who will be more likely to achieve economic independence.
• Healthy child development for the babies of these at-risk mothers.
• Success living independently in safe, appropriate housing after leaving the program.
Alpha House of Tampa is committed to changing the trajectory of lives for the mothers, their babies and for our community.
Ed Mierzjewski and Tonja Brickhouse, Alpha House of Tampa Board of Directors