Health care reforms are working | Oct. 3, editorial
Help for pre-existing conditions
One important thing missing from many accounts of federal health care reform is how Florida residents with pre-existing conditions can apply for coverage at PCIP.gov, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.
The application process is simple, the premiums fair, the deductibles and co-pays expensive but standard in the industry. The program is under the auspices of the national government because the current governor of Florida, who pays less than $400 a year for coverage, sent back the federal money allocated to implement this insurance here. We pay that monthly and live in a much less grand neighborhood than Rick Scott and his family.
After leaving an insurer that raised premiums to $1,400 a month, my husband has been insured under the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan since August. He has been able to see various doctors and obtain tests and procedures previously unavailable to him because of cost. The health care reforms are working, and shame on those who are attempting to take away this much-needed program for uninsured and uninsurable citizens.
Genie Redd, St. Petersburg
B of A to add debit charge | Sept. 30
'Reform' hurts consumers
In June, this paper accused me of putting "the financial interests of the nation's biggest banks before small retailers and consumers" when I voted to delay an onerous regulation that I feared would increase banking fees and hit the wallets of Americans who are already struggling in this economy.
Last week, Bank of America announced it would implement a $5 monthly fee for those using debit cards. If you use your debit card just once — to buy groceries, gas or school supplies for your children — you will be charged the $5 fee. Bank of America is not the first bank to charge for checking accounts, as SunTrust started charging a $5 fee on its checking accounts this summer and Regions Financial will start a $4 fee next month.
At a time when Florida's unemployment rate remains above 10 percent, we should be easing the burden of government regulation and lowering the costs of financial transactions in the process. Unfortunately, consumers are feeling the costs of a government that has extended its reach further into the economy with the so-called Wall Street "reform" bill.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Quality help is available
As more patients enter the health care system, many are being told their doctor is "booked out" weeks or even months for an appointment. As the impact of the physician shortage is increasingly felt in hospitals and clinics, who will provide care to those who need it?
Fortunately, physician assistants stand ready to provide this care. PAs are licensed to practice medicine, under physician supervision, with the flexibility to provide care in a variety of specialties and settings. PAs have the skills to not only conduct physical examinations, but also to diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions. Physician/PA teams are in successful operation throughout the Tampa Bay area, providing an answer to the physician shortages through high-quality, collaborative care of our sick and elderly.
In every medical setting, PAs practice and foster a team-based, coordinated approach to health care that has been shown to improve outcomes and reduce costs.
Eric S. Smith, PA-C, MMS, Clearwater
Biden schools kids on jobs | Oct. 5
Demand means more jobs
Vice President Joe Biden is right to advocate the passage of the American Jobs Act, because more jobs equals more people making and spending money, which increases demand, resulting in businesses hiring more employees. Also, extending unemployment benefits increases demand even more, as all of that money is usually spent.
The mindless mantra of the Republicans that jobs are not being created because of too much regulation is bogus. It was inadequate regulation of Wall Street and the banks that created this economic meltdown in the first place.
Anyone who took Economics 101 knows that a free market economy is dictated by supply and demand. More Americans getting jobs results in more people spending money and increasing demand, causing employers to hire more workers to meet that demand.
Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg
Throwing money away
As we've seen before, throwing stimulus money at an issue is no way to generate a sustainable, long-term solution. Yet in a visit to Oakstead Elementary School on Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden noted that the administration's plan would create new jobs in schools across the country. His remarks failed to mention similar efforts from the last stimulus bill, which did little to add jobs or improve the economy.
The administration should be working to create an environment that is conducive to small-business growth. Right now small businesses are overwhelmed with the number of federal regulations they are forced to address. Worse, they're expected to make long-term businesses decisions while literally hundreds of new regulations are looming in Washington. By President Barack Obama's own admission, there are immediate steps that can be taken to streamline this tangled regulatory process and help put people back to work.
When small businesses do well, our local communities thrive. And when we see that success, the resources needed to put teachers back to work and give our children the education they deserve soon will follow.
Alan Sayler, Pinellas Park
Plan at USF Poly: a campus that will turn heads | Oct. 3
Video too expensive
USF spent $140,000 to produce a YouTube video on their plans for a new Poly campus. Couldn't the school have found one of its freshman to make the video? If it spent that much on one video, think what it will spend building the campus. This is one project the governor should veto right now.
Roger W. Gambert, Palm Harbor
Chris Christie? Big mistake Oct. 3, commentary
Michael Kinsley should be ashamed. I was horrified reading his article on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. At first I thought the writer was trying to be funny, but I quickly realized he was not.
Judge Christie on his behavior, character and policies, not on his appearance. Obese people face enough discrimination. This article was tasteless.
Judith Manowitz, Tampa