Monday, July 16, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Insurance practice hurts patients

Step therapy

Insurance practice hurts patients

This legislative session, patients in Florida saw to their great dismay that measures to roll back "step therapy" practices failed to become law. Under step therapy, a patient must try and fail on one or more drugs selected by his or her health plan — primarily based on financial considerations — before coverage is granted for the drug prescribed by the patient's health care provider.

Step therapy is used to treat a wide range of diseases and chronic conditions. In Florida, the National Psoriasis Foundation sees psoriasis patients struggle with the impact of step therapy on a regular basis, often suffering painful and debilitating side effects from less effective treatments.

SB 784 by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and HB 863 by Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, both attempted to reduce the influence of step therapy and improve physicians' ability to prescribe the best treatments available, regardless of the cost to insurance companies.

The National Psoriasis Foundation asserts that insurance company-mandated step therapy protocols are not in the best interest of patients. Subjecting patients to arbitrary, drawn-out and often costly step therapies compromises their well-being.

On behalf of our patients, we appreciate the efforts of Gaetz and Harrison, and we hope to see this issue at the forefront of our state's health care discussion in the future.

Krista Kellogg, chair, National Psoriasis Foundation board of directors, Palmetto Bay; Ron Grau, National Psoriasis Foundation board of directors, Boca Raton

Challenges for Tampa's new police chief May 9, editorial

Castor the crime-fighter

Your editorial points out that one of the most important challenges for Eric Ward, Tampa's new police chief, should be "declaring a halt to the city's practice of harassing black bicyclists in largely black east Tampa." I disagree.

Your use of the word "harassment" is inappropriate. The verdict is not yet in from a Justice Department review. If the conclusion is that this practice does not equate with racial profiling, I would agree with the assessment by Jane Castor, Tampa's departing police chief, that, at the end of the day, "the most important number is the number of people who have not been a victim of crime."

At the end of Castor's tenure, crime in the Tampa area was down by 30 percent since 2009.

Jorge E. Ponce, Trinity

Castor leaves a legacy that's shining, flawed May 9, Sue Carlton column

Chief will be missed

Tampa police Chief Jane Castor has given the citizens of Tampa over 30 years of her life and at least a dozen years of professional, ethical and progressive policing. I cannot help but believe the people of Tampa will find themselves down the road longing for the days of Castor.

It has not always been roses. But then all law enforcement agencies have internal issues from time to time. Castor has dealt with those issues as she did with everything. She has been the consummate professional.

I have watched her response to allegations that the Tampa Police Department has engaged in racist tactics while attempting to make high-crime neighborhoods safer for their residents. The Times' story on bicycle tickets seemed like a disingenuous attempt to capitalize on the subject of the day. Focusing resources where they are needed most is what a chief does.

For me, what Castor has been trying to say to the people of Tampa is that it's not who is getting tickets or arrested. It is why it is happening. If citizens in high-crime neighborhoods want a safe place to live, they must accept the consequence that people will go to jail.

Jane Castor is a person of great character with the confidence in herself and her policies that it takes to ask for a Justice Department investigation. She will be sorely missed.

Michael Jones, New Port Richey

What black moms know | May 10, Perspective

Painting with broad brush

Talk about painting with a broad brush. Black mothers are strong, authoritarian and work. White mothers are weak, seek advice and knowledge from books, and until recently were stay-at-home moms.

I'm white and grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood where most moms worked and were strong women who knew how to raise their children.

When we should be knocking down stereotypes, this article reinforces some of the worst. What an insulting article to all mothers, especially on Mother's Day.

Charles Bacchi, Palm Harbor

The pier's point, considered May 10, Perspective

Generational change

I want to thank Lennie Bennett for her heartfelt and informative essay about the past and future of St. Petersburg's pier.

I have fond childhood memories of the Million Dollar Pier. My snowbird grandparents made a trip to the pier a Sunday ritual after church and lunch at the Garden Cafeteria. In those days, my grandfather could drive around the building, ask a fisherman "are they biting?" and park his Studebaker for an hour while he and my grandmother strolled inside to observe the card players grouped at tables on the first floor.

It is a generational thing. My children's memories involve the inverted pyramid and visits to the Bounty. And if plans work out, I may actually live to see the Pier Park design come to life.

Christine R. Vaughn, Harbor Bluffs

Promise keeper, breaker or both? May 10, Perspective

Keep track of the dollars

Thank you for such a thorough investigation of the funding activities for Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. I look forward to many pages in the future devoted to equally thorough investigations of the sources of money for each of the Republican candidates and prospective candidates.

Esther Kirk, Riverview

Comments

Sunday’s letters: Stop burning of sugar cane near the Everglades

Florida’s land of black snow | Bill Maxwell column, July 1Don’t burn sugar cane, periodIn this column, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King got a lot of things right about how sugarcane burning negatively impacts the Glades communities w...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Saturday’s letters: The dangerous days before Roe vs. Wade

The reality of back-alley abortions | Column, July 11The dangerous days before RoeI am a 71-year-old retired nurse. I still remember when abortion was illegal and birth control was restricted to married women in the United States. In 1983, I set ...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/14/18

Thursday’s letters: The Rays’ Ybor City stadium will be magnificent

Rays’ big dream is small ballpark | July 11The new stadium will be gorgeousI had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of the Tampa Bay Rays "next-generation, neighborhood ballpark." I was blown away. As an 18-year resident of Tampa Bay, and ma...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/12/18

Wednesday’s letters: Let’s prepare Florida’s next generation for the jobs that have been created yet

Make Florida’s workforce globally competitivePrepare for jobs not yet createdIf you aren’t amazed by the speed at which technology is changing our world, just think back 20 years. Would you have imagined cellphones with the capabilities of a laptop c...
Published: 07/09/18
Updated: 07/11/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for July 13

Re: School meals for all students | July 6 storyParents should pay for their ownThat article really got me to thinking ... why can’t parents feed and care for their own children? When did it become others’ responsibility to do this? No one fed our th...
Published: 07/09/18

Tuesday’s letters: It’s great that Tampa’s Democratic mayor works with a Republican governor

Dems wary of Scott, Buckhorn bromance | July 8It’s not partisan to look out for TampaThe focus of a mayor should be on success in his jurisdiction, no matter the partner, for the citizens who live in his area of responsibility. Mayor Bob Buckhorn...
Published: 07/06/18
Updated: 07/10/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for July 13

Scaring birds with fireworks is a problemThe justification of buying fireworks to scare birds is the biggest problem with fireworks. My wife and I retired to a small pond across from a nature preserve. On a recent holiday, we were enjoying watching b...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/09/18

Monday’s letters: Let’s keep plastics out of the ocean now

Is a ban on plastic straws a step too far? | July 4 Plastic in oceanis not fantastic As a Tampa Bay native, I am thrilled to see a concerted effort to eliminate plastics pollution in the area, and encouraged to see small business and restaurant ow...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/09/18

Sunday’s letters: Keep the Rays in Tampa Bay

Ballpark site catches break | July 5Keep the Rays in Tampa BayLast month, the Tampa Bay Partnership led a delegation of nearly 20 Tampa Bay business leaders on a benchmarking trip to Houston, to explore the nationally recognized workforce develop...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/06/18

Saturday’s letters: Letter of the month concerns civility in public discourse

June letter of the month The winning letter addressed incivility in public discourseMud sticks to those who sling itI am an 83-year-old black, straight male. I lived with Jim Crow laws that deprived me of education, jobs, housing and service in publi...
Published: 07/02/18
Updated: 07/06/18