Monday, December 11, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Saturday's letters: Renew funding for youth health care

Children's Health Insurance Program

Renew children's insurance fund

As a pediatrician in training, I have seen how essential the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, is in keeping our nation's children healthy. Yet Congress missed the Sept. 30 deadline to extend CHIP funding, and now 9 million children are at risk of losing insurance. That is why I stand with the American Academy of Pediatrics in urging Congress to extend CHIP funding for five years immediately.

CHIP, known as KidCare in Florida, is a federally funded program that provides affordable, high-quality health care coverage to children across the country. Nearly 375,000 Floridian children rely on CHIP because their families do not qualify for Medicaid but also do not earn enough to buy private health insurance.

Since CHIP was enacted 20 years ago, the share of uninsured children nationally has been cut in half. In Florida, health insurance coverage for children is at an all-time high of 93 percent.

As a former mathematics teacher in a low-income neighborhood, I witnessed firsthand the effects of inadequate health coverage on my students. Many missed school due to their own illnesses or injuries, and often needed to stay at home to care for an ill younger sibling because their parents could not afford to miss work. Parents had to decide between buying groceries or picking up the prescription given to them by the emergency department for their child's ear infection or sore throat.

Because of CHIP, my students could get routine checkups and sick visits, immunizations, affordable prescriptions, diagnostic testing, in-patient medical and surgical care, dental and vision care, mental health services, and the list goes on.

I thank Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., for co-sponsoring the Keep Kids' Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act of 2017 to extend CHIP funding for five more years, and I urge Sen. Marco Rubio to join him.

Dr. Saira Ahmed, Bethesda, Md.

The writer, a second-year pediatrics resident, grew up in Belleair Beach.

Las Vegas massacre

Seize killer's wealth

In the aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre, all our thoughts are on the "why" — which we may never know. The issue of the NRA and weapons possession is another issue for our politicians to struggle with.

All our hearts ache for the victims. I think that the wealth of this reported multimillionaire — every penny of it — should go to the injured victims who will need financial support for their medical and emotional recovery and to the families of those he killed. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

Patricia Knees, Sun City Center

Problem with large events

After the heinous act of a radicalized serial shooter in Las Vegas, we will hear many politicians offer prayer, condolences and deepest thoughts for the victims. That is well and good, but we need legislative action to bring the sale of assault weapons under control. Recent history tells us we will not see any such action.

In absence of gun control, it is time to rethink how we live in this society. The victims and survivors alike were cordoned into a concert by temporary fences — caged if you will. This circumstance made shooting them easier and rescuing the injured much more difficult. I ask our local and state leaders to immediately ban the caging in of our citizens at local concerts such as those periodically at Straub Park in St. Petersburg or Coachman Park in Clearwater.

The NRA will not come after our leaders for such actions, and thus they may find the courage or spinal column to act on simple legislation like this. Then we can start talking about how to prevent large gatherings of more sitting ducks, like stadium sporting events. Sure, there will be repercussions for such legislation. What concert organizer would want to organize a concert with "open boundaries"? But such are the costs living in a society without the ability to control instruments of mass casualty simply because industry leaders are unwilling to sacrifice the profits they make from them and because politicians fail to honor the 2nd Amendment's requisite of a "well-regulated" militia.

Brad Rosenheim, St. Petersburg

Restrictions have support

As a former hunter and member of the NRA, I say that today is the day to discuss legitimate firearms restrictions. It is time for the NRA and our elected representative to stop making excuses about the purported evils of gun registration and restrictions.

The Second Amendment was not approved by the Founders so that all Americans could have the use of any class of firearm they desired, whenever and wherever they wished. (The murderer in Las Vegas could probably have defeated the Continental Army single-handedly with his cache of killing machines.) Requiring background checks for gun sales is not aimed at building a shadowy governmental database to spy on all gun owners and eventually seize all their guns. Semiautomatic and automatic rifles are not hunting tools; they were developed for war and are strictly people-killers.

A vast number of NRA members approve of legitimate gun restrictions.

Arthur N. Eggers, Tampa


Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Saturday’s letters: Don’t inject political money into churches

Tax billKeep political cash out of pulpitA provision buried in the 429-page House tax bill, Section 5201, nullifies the Johnson Amendment, which protects houses of worship from partisan politics by prohibiting them from endorsing or opposing politica...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Friday’s letters: Most unpopular tax bill ever

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3The most unpopular tax bill ever"Democracy dies in darkness" is the motto of the Washington Post. At 2 a.m. on the dark morning of Sunday, Dec. 3, 51 Republicans approved the most wildly unpopular tax bill in U.S. h...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Thursday’s letters: Give your child the gift of reading

Fatherhood Involvement in Literacy CampaignGive your child the gift of readingPart of a successful game plan in sports is identifying plays that can put points on the scoreboard. Whether I was playing quarterback at Florida State or running the point...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Wednesday’s letters: Bill gives small businesses tax relief

Tax bill clears Senate | Dec. 3Small businesses get tax reliefThe Senate and House have now passed their respective tax bills. Once Congress sends a final package to the White House, President Donald Trump will deliver us the most powerful tax re...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/05/17

Tuesday’s letters: Transplant bill will help Medicare patients

November Letter of the MonthThe winning letter addressed the unresponsiveness of elected officials.Representatives aren’t listeningFor whom do our legislators work? I ask because my Florida senator doesn’t appear to work for me. I drove 27 miles on N...
Published: 12/04/17

Monday’s letters: A citizen’s heroic act

Suspect arrested | Nov. 29A courageous citizen’s actOn Nov. 28, a courageous act occurred in the Tampa Bay area. It was one that law enforcement professionals applaud and hope becomes more frequent. An ordinary citizen did the right thing and spo...
Published: 12/01/17

Saturday’s letters: Historic preservation process needs fixing

A preservation problem | Nov. 25, editorialApplication process needs fixingThere is a reason why smaller rather than larger groups of property owners are getting together to seek historic district designation: It is St. Petersburg’s application p...
Published: 11/30/17
Updated: 12/01/17