Standoff on health care gets critical | May 31
Sick children deserve better
Our daughter, McKinley, has been undergoing treatment for leukemia for two years at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. Recently, United-Healthcare failed to reach an agreement for a new contract for services provided there. Since we are currently undergoing treatment, we will be covered as in-network for the next six months. However, there are thousands of other families in the area who will need treatment at this hospital soon, so this dispute needs to be addressed immediately.
Since the expiration of the contract, we have already encountered issues with our daughter's scheduled treatments. One treatment she missed likely contributed to her having to be admitted to the hospital for two nights and her being put on a chemo hold for a week for her immune system to recover. This is unacceptable, and the families and children of southwest Florida deserve better. Being told that certain services may not be covered or that we need to seek treatment elsewhere is not an option.
We have no intention of taking our daughter anywhere else for her care but to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. Taking her away from highly specialized physicians who know her two years' of medical history so well is simply not an option. They are family to her.
Increasing the financial, mental and emotional burden on these families is not an option. We need your help in making our voices heard. Our primary focus is the treatment of our children. We should not have to be concerned with insurance contract negotiations that I can only assume have failed because a private company is more concerned with the value of its stock than the quality of treatment and services available for children and their families.
Casey and Karen Moore, Bradenton
Horrors of WWII still vivid as veteran turns 100 years old | May 30
A history of bravery
In these days of assumed outrage, where most of the news and public interest is critically focused on daily politics, this story about Harvey Lentz stood out due to its wonderful subject and his positive message.
Mr. Lentz reminds us that we Americans have a history of bravery, of achievement. His story was captivating and encouraging. The events described in the story are a great description of his time in Europe: I felt I was there with him. I thank him for his service.
Andrew DeWeerd, Clearwater
Trump's faithful: Give him a chance | May 28
No simple solutions
Four out of the eight Trump supporters interviewed for this story were first-time voters, all in their 50s or 60s. What does this say about them and their unwavering support for the president? First of all, it boggles the mind that these highly opinionated people reached middle age and never bothered to vote.
Were they too busy? Were there no candidates put forth in the three decades or more of their voting eligibility that these people felt deserved their vote?
Or is the answer that these are intellectually incurious people who never bother to read a newspaper or history book, never take time to learn about the issues facing their local, state and national governments. Hence, they also were too indisposed, uninterested or just plain lazy to vote.
Apparently these non-voters aren't cognizant of the hundreds of thousands of their fellow Americans who died in defense of this democracy whose greatest gift is the right to vote. They also seem to be ignorant of Russia's long history of brutal expansionism at the expense of its neighbors.
Why did they turn out to vote this time? Probably because of the simplicity of Donald Trump's message. Our shuttered factories and sinking wages are someone else fault: immigrants, Muslims, blacks and Latinos. More complicated answers like automation, a global economy and a greedy, corrupt Wall Street aren't part of the Trumpian explanation for the country's woes. He is a man of simple solutions, a perfect candidate for the uninterested, apathetic American.
Mike Salinero, Tampa
Criticism is part of liberty | Letter, May 28
Go directly to the source
The letter writer says, in part, that the right of media to criticize and even mock the president is the foundation of our free society. I don't disagree, but just ask that the media report facts and not information from "sources." The writer says that Trump revealed classified information to the Russian ambassador. What classified information? He then fired FBI Director James Comey to end an investigation. How do we know that? The information came from "sources" of the New York Times and Washington Post. Remember that "sources" also have an agenda and I suggest we wait for the results of the Robert Mueller investigation before making assumptions based on information from "sources."
Bob Butler, Tampa
All grads raise your hand | May 27
After attending several graduations this year, I noticed something I'd never seen in the 30 years that I taught in Hillsborough County schools. Our superintendent, Jeff Eakins, the same man I've seen at multiple school and community events in the last few months, the same man who turned down a raise to exemplify his commitment to our schools, attended the graduations for all 27 high schools, along with the graduation for the adult high school programs and technical colleges. He shook the hand of every Hillsborough County public school graduate who crossed the platform and received a diploma.
Furthermore, when he arrived a few minutes early for the graduations, he mingled with faculty and students who were awaiting the ceremonies, congratulating them, thanking them, praising them and listening to them. The character traits that Eakins displays speak volumes to us about his pride in our schools, his desire to ensure our students' successes, and his commitment to show continual improvement within our schools.
Judi Briant, Thonotosassa