Health site serves only 30 | Aug. 29
Both parties' reforms fall short
I am a lifelong Republican who has operated a health insurance business in Ocala for over 33 years.
I was opposed to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) since I believe it does nothing to reduce the actual cost of health care. It puts money in the pockets of medical providers and insurance carriers, but does not rein in medical inflation. This was forced upon us by the Democratic politicians in Washington.
But alas, the Republican politicians in Tallahassee have forced us to spend almost 1 million taxpayer dollars on a program called Florida Health Choices. What do we get for our million? Thirty people with health discount plans.
The Republican politicians in Tallahassee are no better than the Democratic ones in Washington.
Robert E. Taylor, Ocala
Presidential failure to engage | Aug. 28
Lawbreaker in chief
Will wonders never cease? I was stunned to read an editorial in the Times criticizing President Barack Obama. Among other issues, the article addresses Obama's blatant criminal acts. Yes, criminal. He broke the law when swapping prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl without giving the required 30-day notice to Congress. Then, to make matters worse, he broke another law by using funds not appropriated for such activity.
Those are two crimes committed by this administration, and yet no punishment given to this lawbreaker. One can surely believe that if a "common" citizen broke two laws of this magnitude, he or she would certainly have to pay the price. Why is this man still occupying the White House? Why is no action being taken by this dormant, self-serving, gridlocked Congress?
I am not disputing whether these criminal acts are justified by the return of one of our own. That is a discussion for another day. The fact remains that Obama does whatever he chooses with no consequences attached. As pointed out in this article, he picks which laws he wants to enforce and which laws do not apply to him.
Kudos, finally, to the Times for addressing Obama's ineptness.
Jim Rechtin, Sun City Center
Threat to retirement
Recently, Congress again demonstrated its callous disregard for retirement income security by supporting legislation to fund national highway projects on the backs of retirees through an accounting gimmick known as "pension smoothing." This gimmick helps big government while doing nothing to protect company retirees by directing corporations to reduce the legal amounts of funds they must put aside to pay pensioners.
Lawmakers say that "smoothing" will make corporate earnings seem bigger, producing higher tax payments that could be used to fund repairs to U.S. highways and bridges. What's next? "Paycheck smoothing" for those lucky enough to have jobs? Isn't this really "pension risking"?
Terry Yates, Cocoa
Congress' mandated recess isn't vacation Aug. 30, PolitiFact
Free time is a vacation
I think PolitiFact got this one wrong. The Times claims "many members will be campaigning, visiting offices and town halls." We do not pay them to run for re-election. If they wish to spend their vacation campaigning, that is their choice, not part of their job.
As the Times said, "Members who aren't up for re-election might enjoy family time or a vacation." If you're getting paid to not do what you were hired to do, that's a vacation.
Gareth Fales, Temple Terrace
Trips to China draw scrutiny | Aug. 30
The degree of hypocrisy and negativity that Sen. Marco Rubio and his Cold War advocates display never ceases to amaze me. This time it is sending staff on an all-expense-paid trip to China — paid for by Beijing. Meanwhile, Rubio and his allies oppose lifting the Cuban embargo, criticize all who visit there and condemn efforts to improve relations.
Cuba has a health care system that is respected worldwide, free education and one of the highest rates of literacy (99.8 percent) in Latin America. There is so much that our two countries could share and learn from each other, if we could just look past the constant propaganda barrage and negative elements.
I recall that the "son of immigrants" led us to believe his parents fled Cuba during Fidel Castro's rule when, in actuality, they had emigrated during the Batista regime. And I have yet to hear a negative word about that tyrannical, corrupt dictator, who did nothing for the Cuban people and would have given the country over to the Mafia if the price was right.
Claire McCarthy Lutzmann, Dunedin
Flip-flop on Florida land | Sept. 1
'Tis the season
They say that the campaign season officially begins on Labor Day. And, sure enough, you were right there with a front-page, above-the-fold item calling Rick Scott a "flip-flopper."
I guess this is just the first of many biased items we will be seeing between now and Election Day.
Ray Kelly, Spring Hill
Israel settlements | Sept. 1
Punish Mideast land thefts
This item reports that "the Israeli government said Sunday it would appropriate 990 acres in the West Bank that could be used to build homes for Jewish settlers."
Israel continues to steal Palestinian land and build illegal settlements. The international community and the United States condemn these settlements. It's about time that we place sanctions against Israel for stealing and colonizing land that does not belong to it.
This is against international law. Just as we place sanctions against Russia for taking over land in Ukraine, the same should be done to Israel. There is no difference — stealing is stealing.
Mona Pepe, Brooksville