Thursday, May 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Medicare bill fights abuse

Prescription drugs

Medicare bill fights abuse

Amid the tense partisan atmosphere and budget wrangling in Washington, U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, and Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., have taken an important step in the fight against prescription drug abuse and fraud.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared prescription drug abuse a national epidemic that costs 20,000 lives and $72 billion a year. For every death, there are 10 admissions for drug treatment and 32 emergency department visits for misuse or abuse. In 2011, prescription drugs surpassed automobile accidents as a leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.

In Florida, the scourge of prescription drug fraud contributes to one of the highest drug overdose rates in the country.

In their bill, the Medicare Part D Patient Safety and Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2013, Bilirakis and Luján want Medicare prescription drug plans to have the same authority to prevent fraud and abuse as plans in other parts of Medicare. The bill also directs Medicare drug plans to create "safe pharmacies" to dispense controlled substances to those beneficiaries at high risk for abuse.

These changes would protect patients' access to needed medications but prevent "drugstore shopping," which occurs when abusers go to several different drugstores until they are able to obtain the drug.

On behalf of pharmacy benefit managers, the organizations that administer pharmacy benefits for government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association is pleased to offer its support for this bill, which can help save lives and reduce costs in Medicare.

Mark Merritt, president and CEO, PCMA, Washington

Consumer outlook brighter | Nov. 27

Brighter and dimmer

The Times article on rebounding consumer confidence, based on a University of Florida report, blamed a previous "dismal reading" on "the federal government shutdown (that) was fueling pessimism."

In other words, the story's lead went out of its way to prominently refer to a politically contrived event in Washington that most people have forgotten or now realize has had little effect on our economy.

But the article waited until the last sentence to begrudgingly concede that the "bedeviled rollout of the Affordable Care Act," as well as slower hiring and lower pay, were among the factors responsible for a decline in a considerably more important national number issued the same day.

This is how the Times chose to prioritize its response to the Conference Board's index of consumer confidence, which dropped to its lowest level in seven months.

Mike Kersmarki, Tampa

This is faith for this scientist | Nov. 24

Finding hope in education

Jerry Coyne presents a view of faith shared by many scientists, myself included. Belief, of which faith is the most extreme example, is a substitute for knowledge. We human beings desire control over all aspects of our lives. That desire is manifest in both religion and science and is their only point of congruence.

For most Americans, the workings of evolution or subatomic particle physics are so complex they might as well be magic. It is ignorance that requires faith. At every turn, science has improved our lives while religion has cured no diseases, saved no lives in the face of disasters or prevented disasters.

There is some hope, and it is in education based in the technical disciplines as well as logic and ethics. Our children can be viewed as consumers, giving their resources to the marketplace while unable to discern false promises, or they can be viewed as knowledge sponges whose care and education is truly sacred.

Wesley M. Johnson, Tampa

Obama's unraveling may rub off on Sink Nov. 24

Breaking down poll results

Your writers (and conservative politicians) continue to distort the level of voter support for the Affordable Care Act by misreporting the poll results. The referenced article states that a Quinnipiac poll found that Florida voters opposed the ACA 54 percent to 39 percent. However, most polls break down the opposition into those who think it's too liberal and those who think it's not liberal enough, which tells a different story.

A good example is a CNN/ORC poll released Nov. 27 that indicates 40 percent say they favor the law, with 58 percent opposed to it. However, of those opposed, 41 percent say they are against the law because they think it's too liberal and 14 percent say it's not liberal enough. That means that 54 percent either support the law or say it's not liberal enough, vs. 41 percetny opposed. You should ask your writers to clarify this relationship in future articles.

Jim Cribbs, Clearwater

Carving into Friday sales | Dec. 1

A great holiday for Beijing

All the hype has concluded for this year's Black Friday event, where people stood in line for hours, if not days, pushing and shoving to save a few bucks on presents made in China. The benefit this produced for the Chinese government, in addition to the billions that our government already owes to them, will embolden their military even more. This is shown by the threats they are exhibiting over Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea.

Until the American public gets their priorities straight, we can look forward to becoming more and more of a warmed-over power, with increased taunts and boasts by other nations.

Marc Duval, Pinellas Park


Wednesday’s letters: Thanks to jurors for fulfilling civic duty

May is Juror Appreciation MonthThanks, jurors, for your serviceTrial by a jury of one’s peers is among the bedrock guarantees that make our representative democracy exceptional. Without it, the courtroom fates of defendants and civil litigants would ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Thursday’s letters: Heated chemotherapy won’t treat most ovarian cancers

Heated chemotherapy has promising results | May 16Cancer treatment not a cure-all While we were pleased to see the story about ovarian cancer treatment, we are concerned that the article could mislead many patients. The treatment described has be...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Wednesday’s letters: A princess gives us a lesson to live by

Royal treatment | May 21Princess offers advice for us allThe radiant and joyful Princess Anna Noela Lokolo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recent Eckerd College graduate, has given us a huge gift in her parting words. "If people have a negat...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/23/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Central High School bomb threat suspect to be tried as adult | May 4Angry mob rhetoric not helpfulWe have observed the public discourse surrounding the case of Mizella Robinson with increasing unease. A sampling of the more common sentiment...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 25

Re: Proposed TECO Solar Plant Opposed to the TECO solar plantAs a 21-year resident and property owner, I am writing in opposition to the proposed Tampa Electric Company solar plant in rural northeast Pasco County.The solar plant will be .2 miles from...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Tuesday’s letters: If you don’t like the Electoral College, then amend the Constitution

The popular vote | May 20, letterIf you don’t like it, amend ConstitutionA recent letter supports the idea that a state should be able to change its Electoral College vote to match that of the national popular vote winner as opposed to the result...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

Texas high school shooting | May 18Criminals, angry people kill peopleSchool shootings are a distinctly American phenomenon. But shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1 percent of all yearly gun-related homicides in ...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18