Sunday, June 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Sunday's letters: Medicare for all is the solution

New dispute arises: policy cancellations | Oct. 30

Medicare for all is the solution

All the recent hoopla about the Affordable Care Act has generated a lot of heat but not much light. In all the angry finger-pointing, both parties have missed the main point. Obamacare is flawed and cumbersome for the same reason that our existing "system" doesn't work: It is a health insurance system, not a health care system. The obvious answer is a single-payer health care system, Medicare for all.

The administration is running into problems with technology and with cancellation of existing policies precisely because Obamacare is an insurance-based program. So we have to navigate insurance exchange websites, that must then connect up with insurance company databases, that must then correlate with existing insurance coverage, and so on. It's bound to be inefficient and confusing, and also costly.

Insurance companies take at least 20 cents out of every dollar Americans spend on health care; Medicare takes only 2 or 3 cents on the dollar. Health insurance companies are massively profitable, yet most Americans either can't afford health insurance or are very dissatisfied with the coverage they have, which is not only expensive but often not there for us when we need it most.

Those Americans fortunate enough to be on Medicare are very happy with it. Most of us, including President Barack Obama, knew that a single-payer Medicare for all system was by far the best way to reform American health care. But it didn't happen because it wasn't "politically doable." Most of our congressmen and state legislators are more responsive to the corporate interests who pay for their election campaigns than the people they claim to represent. This is true of both Republicans and Democrats. So single payer was never on the table because the health insurance lobby is simply too powerful.

If Obamacare ever gets off the ground, it will be helpful to many low-income Americans who will be able to afford health insurance. But it is a huge windfall for the health insurance industry, just as the Bush administration's prescription drug benefit was a huge windfall for the pharmaceutical industry.

Andrew Rock, Tampa

The price of punishment Oct. 27, Robyn Blumner column

Punishment is a bargain

Robyn Blumner uses a straw man argument (prison vs. education) to make her point that incarceration is too expensive for society to bear. She states that California spends $47,000 to incarcerate a person for a year compared to $8,500 to educate a public school student. This is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

The question before a criminal court is to jail or not to jail a particular convicted offender. According to the U.S. Justice Department, more than 23 million criminal offenses were committed in 2007, resulting in approximately $15 billion in economic losses to the victims and $179 billion in government expenditures on police protection, judicial and legal activities, and corrections. If we divide $194 billion by 23 million, the cost is $8,435 per crime. Using Blumner's preferred comparison, if imprisonment prevents just one crime, California will save approximately what it costs to educate one child for a year. It is difficult for people behind bars to commit crimes against society, be it rape, burglary or embezzlement. The preamble to the Constitution lists "to insure domestic tranquility" among the duties of government.

Our house was burglarized and the investigating officer explained to us that many offenders travel from town to town, break into houses, buy drugs, travel to another city where they pawn the stolen goods and repeat. If we make a lowball estimate that this happens once a week, the cost to society is $210,835 per year — more than a four-to-one return on our investment in incarceration. But this does not measure the intangible loss of peace of mind and our freedom to do what we would otherwise do but for the fear of crime. The price of punishment is a bargain compared to the cost of crime.

William L. Bassett, Clearwater

The importance of the afterlife | Oct. 27

Time flies

This article raises the question of what one would do if faced with imminent death and the perishing of humanity. It was the writer Isaac Asimov, I believe, who, when asked what he would do if he knew he had 10 days left to live, answered: "Type faster."

Keith McCulloch, Tampa

Red-light cameras opposed | Oct. 28

Red means stop

After reading this article it is clear to me that the people who want to get rid of the red-light cameras are the ones who run red lights.

One person the Times quotes is against cameras because "she knows dozens of people" who have been ticketed. Another person said it caused him to change his behavior after the city installed them: He bought software for his GPS that will tell him when he's approaching a red-light camera.

What is wrong with these people? Can't they stop at a red light? Is that too much to ask?

Robert G. Bond, St. Petersburg


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