Sunday, June 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Free market failures

Cycle of addiction moves in next door and In London fire, cost put ahead of safety | June 25

When the 'free market' fails

Two front-page articles were tragedies that could have been averted with just the most minimal of regulations.

The fire in London had its roots in the cost of manufacturing and installation of an exterior cladding. An American manufacturer that can't sell its product here pushes it around the world. Add in a British governmental attitude of eliminating at least one regulation for each new one imposed, and you have the makings of a perfect storm. Take the top person in charge of the building safety guidelines. He stated that the use of "noncombustible" material on a building's exterior "limits your choice of materials quite significantly."

Then we read about the opioid crisis in Delray Beach. Here again it is partly due to Florida's disdain of regulations. This disdain helped the growth of our prescription drug epidemic and allows anyone to open a "sober house." The article notes that we license haircutters but not supervisors of people with substance abuse issues. Add in the fact that Florida is the training ground for insurance fraud and you have our next cottage industry.

These are prime examples of allowing the "free market" to police itself. Can anyone remember Big Pharma, insurance carriers or medical professionals lowering their prices to open affordable health care across the board? Some regulations and restraints on the "free market" are needed for the health and safety of all of our citizens.

Robert Spencer, Dunedin

Health care bill

Get rid of the middleman

True universal and affordable health care will never happen unless we eliminate the middleman — the insurance companies. Hospitals are failing and doctors are not getting paid, but the insurance companies are always rich, fat and happy. They don't insure patients — they insure that they will always make billions.

The premiums are determined by actuaries — very smart people who can manipulate data to guarantee the insurance companies will always come out on top. It's similar to a casino — they let you win a little, but the odds are stacked in their favor. The middleman will be hard to delete because insurance companies are rich and they pour millions into lobbying efforts — to insure that politicians always vote in their favor.

We need a government-run organization, with every working American paying the same percentage of their pay that they do now (or maybe even less). That would generate enough revenue to pay for 100 percent of all health care expenses on 100 percent of Americans — even those who are not working. Because the billions that now go to the middleman would be funneled into a single-payer system that insures all Americans instead of lining the pockets of rich scam artists who are getting in the way of health care.

John Ficca, Tampa

Aspects of a decent society

It took me a long time to understand what drove the conservative view of health care. Then after reading Pope Francis' encyclical I started to see what was driving their views. Conservatives are guided by principles like small government, low taxes and what the pope calls the techno-economic paradigm where economic growth fueled by innovation is the key to continued success.

This paradigm does not include considering the common good of mankind. This allows the GOP to produce a health care bill that lowers taxes to the rich, causes millions of Americans to lose their health insurance, allows the health care industry to increase rates on the most vulnerable Americans and do this with a clear conscience.

Progress, in the conservative view, is the automation of our manufacturing industry, which has eliminated millions of middle-class jobs; allowing business enterprises to move millions of jobs overseas; and, in the case of health care, eliminating sick people by denying them access to health care or charging them more then they can afford.

I agree with the pope's assertion that the main purpose of our government is to promote the common good of all of its citizens, which includes formulating policies that provide meaningful employment, affordable universal health care (meaning single-payer Medicare for all), a public school system that provides all citizens with a sound education, and safety nets to protect vulnerable citizens.

Robert Powell, Spring Hill

Rubio's act of sabotage

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., took steps to sharply raise health insurance premiums for Obamacare users and hurt individuals and families. What did he do? In December 2014, he gutted the risk corridor provision that basically allowed insurance companies with larger-than-expected losses to receive a share of profits from companies that had large profits. It was designed to carry insurers during the early years until things were more established nationwide.

Maybe Obamacare would have had big premium increases anyway. We'll never know. What we do know and should remember at Rubio's next election is Rubio sabotaged Obamacare and hurt millions of citizens by causing their health insurance premiums to sharply increase. It's like he slashed the tires of a new car and then said it's a bad car because the tires are slashed. Shame, Rubio, shame.

Howard Taylor, St. Petersburg

ACA helps millions

The top topic on Meet the Press last week was the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. They had bits of comments from citizens, including one woman who stated, "We elected Trump and we have to take what he says and believe what he says."

Well, while the office of the president demands and deserves respect, this is still a democracy and the office of the president does not mean blind trust. This is not a dictatorship.

I am fortunate and don't rely on an ACA plan, but if they are so sure the ACA is so bad we can only hope that our congressmen and women will start to work together toward something that will continue to help the millions it already helps.

Dawn Rinaldi, Tampa


Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18