Affordable Care Act
Health reform was sorely needed
For decades we have been forced to navigate impenetrable health care websites. We've seen our health care insurance canceled for the most specious — or even fraudulent — reasons when we got really sick. Thousands, if not millions, of us were sentenced to death, driven into bankruptcy or forced to suffer with treatable chronic conditions because it was just too expensive to provide us with proper medical care. We've paid billions to cover the costs for the uninsured, who showed up by the thousands at emergency rooms and received care because the law — and common decency — required it.
When asked before Congress if they would consider changing the practice of "recission" — canceling, for the most phony of reasons, the policies of people who suddenly needed expensive health care — the heads of the big insurance companies replied with a unanimous "no." And no Republican made a sound.
Now, a few weeks into the shakedown cruise for a plan that addresses all of these problems — using many ideas first proposed by Republicans — we are supposed to buy the idea that this is a "crushing burden" on taxpayers, an already failed program and proof positive that creeping socialism is taking over the country.
Buck Beasom, Tampa
Sink to seek Young's seat | Oct. 30
After reading the piece about Alex Sink, I went online to find her website. When I typed her name into a Google search, what topped the results list was a paid negative ad about her.
It is disheartening to see the big money come out so quickly to fight a candidate for Congress. There isn't even an identifiable opposition party candidate, and yet there they are posting paid online ads. No wonder we have such a problem with our Congress — negative ads begin even before there is a candidate.
Lynn Bosco, Clearwater
The last voyage of the Bounty | Nov. 3
Beyond the headlines
The loss of the HMS Bounty, which I had visited several times over the years in St. Petersburg, was tragic. And the loss of three lives in its stormy sinking was an even worse tragedy.
Michael Kruse's three-part series in the Times helps put it all in perspective. The Bounty and its captain and crew all lived for "sailing on the blue." Kruse's well-researched, spellbindingly written story of their last voyage was a fitting seafarer's tale that unfortunately had a sad as well as a happy ending. The Coast Guard's role in those last hours of the Bounty's voyage was nothing less than truly heroic.
As a former Coast Guard auxiliaryman who has seen their work up close so many times, Kruse's descriptions of their efforts was perfectly on target. Thank you, Tampa Bay Times, Michael Kruse and all the other contributors to this series. Well done. It is an excellent example of a good newspaper's role in reporting the story of life, particularly the "whole story" beyond the news headline.
Roy Bertke, Clearwater
I am a snowbird from New York and know of the devastation of Sandy, which is still evident today. I did not realize the situation of the Bounty that happened at the same time.
I found this story riveting and wanted to thank Michael Kruse and the Times for telling us this great story.
Jean Kauffman, Zephyrhills
Lessons from the sea
Michael Kruse did a fabulous job of depicting the ship's end. And of course our hearts are with the survivors as well as the families of those who didn't make it. Among other things, two come to mind foremost: the heroics of our Coast Guard when others' lives are in peril; and never try to outguess the weather.
Bob Lartz, St. Petersburg
Fairness and federal flood policy Nov. 5, editorial
Laws and consequences
Just the thought of what is going on with this new flood insurance legislation gives me anxiety, which I'm sure is the case for homeowners in the Shore Acres neighborhood of St. Petersburg.
We're being represented by out-of-touch politicians who write bills and do favors for each other while not really understanding the ramifications of their actions and how honest, hard-working people's lives are turned upside down.
A letter writer tells of how the Dutch fixed their flooding, even as their land is below sea level. I remember when America was a great nation like that, taking actions that improved the people's lives.
It's evident we are being played by power-hungry politicians and corporate leaders who are making policy decisions without fully understanding how it all plays out.
Daniel Orsello, Tampa
NFL confronts Dolphins hazing case Nov. 5
Culture breeds bullying
A Miami Dolphins player has been accused of bullying a teammate. The underlying sentiment is that this is being blown out of proportion because the hazing that goes on against rookie players is a time-honored tradition, or that the bullied player should have dealt with the issue other than by leaving camp.
Football players from an early age are more glorified than those from any other sport. Yes, not all football players grow into bullies. But the glory and the money that football generates — from high school level to college through the pros — breeds a culture that rewards bullies.
Lynda Caster, Zephyrhills