Friday, August 17, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Incentives can bring bad medicine

Medicare advice in stars | Nov. 23

Incentives can bring bad medicine

Conventional wisdom supports the concepts of health screenings and preventive medicine. So it is no surprise that Medicare is now rating Medicare Advantage plans on the basis of one to five stars, as outlined in this article. However, there is a darker side to this practice of rewarding health plans, and their physicians, for meeting such measures.

Recently, I saw a 90-year-old patient in my cardiology practice, who belonged to a highly rated plan mentioned in the article. She was cared for at home by a devoted daughter who accompanied her to the appointment. Her mother suffered with dementia, and therefore could not provide much history. However, the daughter was distressed that her primary care doctor had insisted, more than once, that her mother have a colonoscopy and mammogram. There is absolutely no evidence that these tests improve, or extend, the life of a nonagenarian. Indeed, doing these tests in this setting is not only a waste of money but potentially dangerous.

After reading the article, it is now probable that the incentive to order is likely based more upon physician and HMO monetary rewards than improved quality of care. Unless and until this issue is addressed, the Medicare system will continue to squander money on unproven so-called "pay-for-performance" goals. These goals still have unproven benefits in holding down the costs of Medicare, let alone improving the lives of its subscribers.

David M. Mokotff, M.D., St. Petersburg

Rays stadium

Problem of empty seats

I find it amusing that we talk about building a new baseball stadium when we cannot even sell out 85 percent of the seats to a Bucs game. If we can't even sell out a Bucs game when they are on a winning streak, what makes anyone believe we will sell out a Rays game? This is a football area, not a baseball area.

Chris Creus, Clearwater

Rubio's pander problem | Nov. 24

Molehills and mountains

The editorial on Marco Rubio's "pander problem" is just another example of the advance liberal scouts at the Tampa Bay Times beginning the assault on a possible Republican candidate for president. Creating a pathetic nonissue of Rubio not knowing the exact age of the Earth to build an image of the senator as a dolt is below even your normal standards.

Rubio is not a scientist. I would imagine the majority of your readers have no idea how old the Earth is, but I would wager most would know there are 50 states and not 57 as Barack Obama once stated. That was ignored by his fawning press.

If the Times would at least have the courage to have one conservative column each day, it would expand your readership.

Tony Suarez, Dunedin

Give him time

It looks like Sen. Marco Rubio is frightening the press now. With three articles in two days attacking him because he may believe the message from God, what will be next? Please just allow him time to prove himself. He may prove to be just what we need to correct the course of our great nation.

Robert E. Hagaman, Homosassa

Questionable questions

The next time you do a story on Marco Rubio, I want to do the interview. We have millions of people out of work and are in danger of a recession, and the big story is about how old the Earth is. If anyone wants to know how old the Earth is, look it up. Let's ask Rubio some real questions.

Henry Creasap, Clearwater

A tipping point on same-sex marriage Nov. 25, editorial

Tipping point reversals

The editors of the Tampa Bay Times are appearing cocky with their editorial predicting a tipping point in same-sex marriage.

If history can be a lesson, "tipping points" can quickly be reversed. One of these tipping points occurred with the 18th Amendment, establishing Prohibition, which passed with two-thirds of the states approving it. The other was the Equal Rights Amendment, passed by both houses of Congress. We know about the resulting reversals. It turns out most of Americans did not want either amendment.

The fact is that most people in the United States are not in homosexual relationships. Most marriages are heterosexual. Americans are showing their position on the issue by applying it to their personal lives, which is indeed poignant. Again, most Americans do not want homosexual marriages as the law of the land.

Christopher Martinez, St. Petersburg

Trouble bubbling | Nov. 25

Protect precious resource

This article written by Craig Pittman deserves an award; it was an eye-opener.

None of us can survive without pure water, so what once was a recreational use of our springs has become an issue of paramount importance for the survival of future Floridians.

In California there are coastal areas that do not allow any further development due to water issues. Probably other states do as well. Egypt has a growing problem with the countries upstream on the Nile that want to limit Egypt's use of their only water source.

Thank you for allocating the space in Sunday's paper that did this issue justice.

Yesnie Carrington, Seminole

Spotlight on key issue

Put simply, without clean water we cannot survive. Our government is in charge of providing us clean water. It is truly depressing to read Craig Pittman's well researched article to find out that our state is doing next to nothing to preserve our clean water supply.

Cities and counties continue to grant permits to private businesses without regard to the consequences. Providing clean water should be at the top of the priority list. Thanks to the Times for waking us up to this important issue.

Paul Riffel, Tampa

Drive-by hail of fire deadly | Nov. 25

Generation dysfunction

Being 18, I find it sad that my generation has taken "beefing" between two cities to such an extreme. When we reach the point where lives are taken over territory and pride, we have stooped to an ultimate low. This generation needs a major intervention.

Shira Simmons, Orlando


Friday’s letters: I’ve lived in countries lacking a free press; you wouldn’t want to

Striving to keep truth flowingfor democracy | Editorial, Aug. 16I’ve lived in places lacking free pressMore than half my adult life I’ve lived, worked or studied in countries governed by dictators or authoritarian rulers in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ukr...
Published: 08/17/18

Monday’s letters: Why I left the Republican Party

Where is the blue wave of voters? | Aug. 14Why I left the Republican Party I clicked the button. Instantly I was no longer a Republican. I had believed we were experiencing a horrible hiccup in the history of the Grand Old Party. My party had sto...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: Cigars are bad for your health

Tobacco rules don’t suit premium cigars | Editorial, Aug. 13Xyxyx xyxy xyxy xyxy xyxy xyxxxThe argument made in this editorial to exempt the premium cigar industry from FDA scrutiny is, in essence: They are not cheap, they are not fruit-flavored,...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/15/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Aug. 17

Re: County authorizes takeover of SunWest Park | Aug. 10‘A poor idea from the startWith no fanfare whatsoever, we now have a new park that no one I know ever seems to use or even know where it is. If it is bringing hordes of tourists to our cou...
Published: 08/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Habitat should help the poor, not hurt them

Habitat lender choice blasted | Aug. 12Help, don’t hurt, poorAs a Habitat for Humanity admirer, donor and volunteer, I was disappointed to read how Habitat for Humanity’s Hillsborough County affiliate reportedly stumbled in delivering its mission...
Published: 08/10/18
Updated: 08/13/18

Monday’s letters: A gun or a vote: danger is relative

‘I went off the deep end’ | Aug. 10A gun or a vote: danger is relativeAt the demonstrable risk of having someone lose his fragile temper, grab his guns, storm out his door and speed to my home to shoot me for saying so (and why NOT, Florida Legis...
Published: 08/10/18

Sunday’s letters: July’s letter of the month is ‘Time for more civil debate.’

July letter of the monthTime for more civil debate"Politics" is an activity which involves power and control, arriving at decisions based on differing interests. Normally, leaders weigh the needs of the individual with the abilities of the country. C...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Saturday’s letters: A team effort made USF preeminent

USF and preeminenceA team effort vaulted USF The University of South Florida’s designation as a preeminent state research university is a prestigious accomplishment and a tribute to the hard work of faculty, staff and students and USF System Presiden...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18

Friday’s letters: Don’t let pollution be our legacy

Algae blooms amid cuts | Aug. 8Brown can’t be the new greenThis headline should have said "Republicans continue to pave their way across Florida, pollute the water supply and destroy animals and their habitat." The Republicans have controlled Tal...
Published: 08/07/18
Updated: 08/09/18

Wednesday’s letters: Girl’s drowning death is one of two tragedies

Mother: Dead girl now ‘pure’ | Aug. 7Two tragediesThis is another tragedy of a parent who became overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for an autistic child. But an equally bad sequence of events is likely to happen in the days and months t...
Published: 08/06/18
Updated: 08/07/18