Health care reform Aug. 11 guest columns
Tort reform key to lower health costs
I read with great interest the two views on health care reform by Drs. Yacht and Musunuru. If I handed these guest columns to most people without the pictures or background of either man, it would take the casual reader only moments to define which doctor is in private practice and which doctor was a bureaucrat. I suspect that their political beliefs are evident also.
Nowhere in Dr. Yacht's commentary does he address the issue that is similarly shoved under the rug by the president and Congress — tort reform. The single biggest cost factor in health care costs is the need for defensive medicine as Dr. Musunuru defines it. All those tests, second and third opinions and skyrocketing malpractice premiums stem from excessive courtroom verdicts, precipitated by avaricious trial lawyers. That is the same crowd that showered President Obama with contributions and continually does the same for members of Congress.
To these politicians, a mere suggestion of a bill for tort reform will turn off the money spigot. Dr. Yacht did not face this issue as a public sector employee; Dr. Musunuru sees it every day in every way.
And neither man mentioned the other 800-pound gorilla in the room nor has most members of Congress or our president — illegal aliens, who pay no taxes, will be covered just like you and me but we get to pay the bill for the estimated 12 million people.
When the White House and Capitol Hill stand up like statesmen instead of politicians with spin machines, selective memories and accusatory conduct, I will consider supporting health care reform. Introduce tort reform with teeth in it and bar illegals from coverage and you will have my attention.
If this proposed plan is so darn good, why aren't members of Congress jettisoning the private congressional "womb to the tomb" coverage in favor of this proposal? Better yet, why don't they offer their plan to us?
Robert B. Ryan, Bayonet Point
Don't rush to fix our health care
I do not believe that we have a perfect health-care system at present, but the mad rush to push through a package seems to me to be a poor way to do things. It is still socialized medicine. We have seen that it does not work in Great Britain where anyone with any money buys private health insurance to get preferential treatment while the rest of the population waits in long queues for their turn. Sometimes there is a two-year wait for a heart bypass surgery. If you die in the meantime, the line gets shorter. Is this what we want?
I am not enamored of the government running health care or being a partner in it. We may look at Citizens Insurance in our state for a fine example of how well things run with the politicians involved.
The proposed health care program is characterized as similar to Medicare. What is not said is that the people receiving benefits from Medicare paid into the system for many years during their working careers and still pay a monthly premium out of their Social Security. For those who don't work, there is no contribution and may never be a contribution to health care.
A health care plan will be one that we have to live with for many years to come. Perhaps some time should be spent getting it right rather than getting it passed so that the administration can add a scalp to its belt.
I hear a lot of talk about taxing the rich to get the coverage for the poor. It makes it sound like having an income is somehow immoral. When you start taxing and taxing people to pay for those who will not work or are illegal immigrants, there is no end to who will be required to pay. Once the government starts taxing, there is no bottom to it.
Let's take our time and try to tweak our system which is not so badly broken as all that.
Lewis Corvene, Hudson
Government no health care plan
Creating one more government trillion-dollar bureaucracy with a willy-nilly universal health care plan in the middle of a steep recession, is hardly my idea of sensible federal legislating. I've tried to wade through HR 3200, and my impressions are quite unfavorable. The bill is incomprehensible to the average citizen, although it clearly puts the federal government in total control of our entire health care system, and would add higher tax and cost burdens to an already stressed private business sector.
The fiasco created by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is a good example of government interference in the free market. The results were massive government bailouts with taxpayer money, and a collapsed real estate market, contributing importantly to a seriously weakened economy, and forcing even more government borrowing. Our national debt is out of control, and the administration is being forced to raise the country's debt limit even further, with no relief in sight.
If this health bill is passed, our country will be thrown into an abyss of higher taxes, reduced economic activity, enormous government intrusion into our private lives and fewer personal freedoms.
Irene Giragosian, Hudson
Individuals must assume control
In case Dr. Yacht doesn't remember, we live in a republic (the most common definition of a republic is a state without a monarch) not a socialistic society. It is everyone's individual responsibility — not right — to maintain their health not big government. It is the individual who needs to be participating in the answer and not blindly following big governments mandates.
This country was built to protect ourselves from big government and now he is instructing the public "responsible politicians and advocacy groups must stop picking apart a long overdue fix to health care reform." Hardly, it is our responsibility to pick it apart. Hasn't our history with so many Ponzi schemes taught us to be vigilant with our tax dollars. Both Republican and Democratic failed in providing the answer to the general public; they only seem to be able to take care of themselves.
He also wrote "that no citizen of a country with universal health would give up their medical system for ours." I respectfully disagree as a home health nurse I have cared for many individuals who come here for their health care. I also teach as a online educator I have had many nurses who live in Canada but work in the U.S. hospital system. They would also disagree with you on both a personal and professional level. According to the most recent polls there are many who would not give up their health here in this country.
Wake up America and take back your country from these greedy progressives. Read your history otherwise you won't have any choices you will just be told what you can and can't do. There is no free health care; not only will we be paying for it but so will our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We have the power to fix the problem, but just handing out money is not the answer.
Regina Mirabella Hudson
Communication is first casualty in health care debate | Aug. 5 C.T. Bowen column
Let's return to civil discourse
C.T. Bowen makes a good point that communication is the first casualty in the health care debate. I would further suggest that democracy is the real victim here.
Well-funded organizers are getting those opposed to anything supported by President Obama and the Democrats to go to town hall venues and shout down anyone interested in a genuine debate on the issues.
We have legitimate concerns that we need answers to so we can make intelligent decisions. But we are being stifled by big money from the insurance, hospital, pharmaceutical and oil industries. The politics of fear are spreading misinformation on a daily basis by the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly.
What is next? It is time to return to civil discourse.
Alice Donovan, Port Richey
Boat fire leaves several questions
I read the story about the boat that burned on the Pithlachascotee river last week. The Port Richey Fire Department pulled their hoses through Hooters to get to the blaze, but couldn't reach the flames. The owner of the boat got 50 yards away from the Sunset Landing Marina before it started smoking and he dropped anchor. According to MapQuest, 50 yards from the marina is 250 yards from Hooters on the other side of the river.
I wondered why the firefighters didn't come over the bridge to get closer to the fire. Was it because it was in New Port Richey?
Also the first thing the manager of Hooters wanted to do was sue for a singed dock and lost revenue. That's pretty cold considering two people just swam for their lives in shark friendly water and the man lost a 20- to 30-foot boat. I doubt they had time to grab their keys, credit cards and personal papers.
I'm no lawyer but it seems two acts of God brought the boat to rest at Hooters — the wind and the tide.
Thomas Karcher, New Port Richey