Loaded words mar Medicare debate | March 22, commentary
Insurance competition is fantasy
Once again Robert Samuelson demonstrates his ignorance of the real world. A voucher system would in fact "privatize" the payments to providers by putting that activity in the hands of insurance companies. The idea that vouchers would result in competition among insurance companies and reduce premiums is absurd. The insurance companies have amply shown they will not compete. In fact they don't want to insure many of those on Medicare and would have to be forced to do so.
The idea that insureds would be able to wisely choose the best coverage is at best naive. Again, absent strict regulation of the process, the data would be very difficult to evaluate. The insurance companies are experts at false and misleading advertising and promotion. Even under Medicare, the selection of supplemental and prescription carriers requires a great deal of effort.
There is no reason to add the additional insurance company overhead and administrative costs to the present costs. These costs at every insurance company are much higher than at Medicare, and of course there is the profit to be added on.
Anyone who thinks that a voucher system will allow people to choose their doctors doesn't know anything about insurance companies. My company changed insurance companies over a four-year period and I had to change doctors three times.
Joe Crites, Clearwater
Trayvon Martin case
Crimes against blacks are disproportionately committed by other blacks — not whites, Hispanics, Asians, or members of other groups. Where is the outrage against black-on-black killing? Where is Jesse Jackson when this happens? Why is Al Sharpton's mouth shut when a black boy is killed by another black? Not enough TV cameras? No race card to embrace?
If they really want to save the lives of a large number of blacks, and to make communities safer and more secure, black-on-black crime must be addressed. And residents need to be more cooperative with law enforcement.
Hardy W. Bryan, St. Petersburg
Too much heat; little light
John Adams said it best: "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
At this point, the only thing that is certain in this tragedy is that no one knows all the facts and evidence. When the investigations have run their course, and the findings are disclosed and evaluated, judgments — legal and otherwise — can then be made.
Until then, public outcry contributes much detrimental heat, but surely no light, to the pursuit of justice.
Morry Bornstein, Seminole
Leave it to investigators
I read that Trayvon Martin was suspended from school for having marijuana residue in his book bag. Well, if it shows disrespect to Martin to bring this to light, then it would also be showing disrespect to George Zimmerman to bring up his past altercation with police.
This is where a high-profile case gets dicey. You have two high-profile people on the scene (Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson) who are usually around racist situations. In this case, they should be home doing what they do and not here raising tension.
Knee-jerk reactions always cause problems. People need to step back, not inject their own scenarios, and let common sense and investigative evidence come forth.
Rolland Blodgett, Dover
Right of self-defense
It seems that every day we are confronted with news stories of home invasions, police killed by armed teenagers and carjackings. Now Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson arrive in our state tell us that self-defense is a crime. These two opportunists need to go back to where they came from and Floridians should continue to defend their homes and lives. I will.
Richard Boyett, Lakeland
How a watch should work
As a former president of the Rainbow Lakes Crime Watch in Marion County, I am concerned that the reputations of all crime watch organizations in Florida are being damaged by the publicity surrounding the Trayvon Martin killing. I haven't read the charter of the Sanford group, but basically the rules boil down to, "Watch for crime, don't try to combat it."
Most of what crime watch volunteers do is to check on the homes of people who are away for significant periods of time and who have requested that their homes be put on a watch list.
Volunteers walk around the outside of the building looking for signs of forced entry. If one is found, the volunteer is required to retreat to a safe distance and call the sheriff's department dispatcher on a nonemergency line. The dispatcher sends a deputy to investigate.
Volunteers can also call in on the same line to report what they believe to be "suspicious" persons. Again, they are required to retreat to a safe distance and call the dispatcher. If they feel it advisable, they can observe the subject until a deputy arrives, always maintaining that safe distance. They are absolutely forbidden to carry any kind of weapon in the patrol car, to enter a house on the watch list or to confront a suspect. In a well-run crime watch, any of those offenses would result in immediate dismissal.
Most crime watches are well-run, and most volunteers are just good citizens trying to help their neighbors.
Tom Parsons, Dunnellon
Both sides need to be heard
I read the Times every morning and generally find it to be an interesting and informative newspaper. However, many of the political articles and almost all of the guest editorials conclude nothing is wrong with President Barack Obama and the Democrats and nothing is right with the Republicans and their candidates.
Come on. Both sides of the aisle have good ideas and I would hope for a more balanced reporting of these ideas. Congress will never come together on bipartisan solutions as long as influential newspapers such as the Times continue to promote only one side of the many issues.
Thomas W. Klein, Tampa