Friday, November 24, 2017
Letters To The Editor

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Editor's note: Letters to the editor offer a significant contribution to the discussion of public policy and life in Tampa Bay. To recognize some of that work by our most engaged readers, the Times will select a letter of the month and the writers will be recognized at the end of the year. We will choose the finalists each month based on relevance on topical issues, persuasiveness and writing style. The writer's opinion does not need to match the editorial board's opinion on the issue to be nominated. But clarity of thinking, brevity and a sense of humor certainly helps.

Help us choose the letter of the month for November 2013 by reading through the three nominated letters and voting on the ballot at the bottom of the web page.

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New dispute arises: policy cancellations | Oct. 30

Medicare for all is the solution

All the recent hoopla about the Affordable Care Act has generated a lot of heat but not much light. In all the angry finger-pointing, both parties have missed the main point. Obamacare is flawed and cumbersome for the same reason that our existing "system" doesn't work: It is a health insurance system, not a health care system. The obvious answer is a single-payer health care system, Medicare for all.

The administration is running into problems with technology and with cancellation of existing policies precisely because Obamacare is an insurance-based program. So we have to navigate insurance exchange websites, that must then connect up with insurance company databases, that must then correlate with existing insurance coverage, and so on. It's bound to be inefficient and confusing, and also costly.

Insurance companies take at least 20 cents out of every dollar Americans spend on health care; Medicare takes only 2 or 3 cents on the dollar. Health insurance companies are massively profitable, yet most Americans either can't afford health insurance or are very dissatisfied with the coverage they have, which is not only expensive but often not there for us when we need it most.

Those Americans fortunate enough to be on Medicare are very happy with it. Most of us, including President Barack Obama, knew that a single-payer Medicare for all system was by far the best way to reform American health care. But it didn't happen because it wasn't "politically doable." Most of our congressmen and state legislators are more responsive to the corporate interests who pay for their election campaigns than the people they claim to represent. This is true of both Republicans and Democrats. So single payer was never on the table because the health insurance lobby is simply too powerful.

If Obamacare ever gets off the ground, it will be helpful to many low-income Americans who will be able to afford health insurance. But it is a huge windfall for the health insurance industry, just as the Bush administration's prescription drug benefit was a huge windfall for the pharmaceutical industry.

Andrew Rock, Tampa (Nov. 3)

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No fair deal in lowland | Nov. 4

Flood claim maps can mislead

This article about flooding in the Shore Acres neighborhood of St. Petersburg raises the issue of how misleading the statistics are in the flood insurance program.

Our house is shown on the map as one of those with repeated losses. In fact, the paperwork provided by FEMA shows two losses about 30 years ago totaling less than $5,000 combined. One was for the no-name storm of June 18, 1982, in the amount of $1,086.61, and the other was for Aug. 31, 1985, in the amount of $3,739.40.

We bought the house five years later, in 1990. Since then, a low-level Florida room on the back of the house was replaced by an elevated living room, and the front carport was replaced with a two-car garage and new entrance. We have had no flooding or losses since owning the house. We get about 6 inches of water at the street end of the driveway during some downpours. Nonetheless, our house appears with a bad boy marker on the flood history map.

Richard E. Oliver, St. Petersburg (Nov. 8)

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For honor roll, D's don't make the grade | Nov. 16, editorial

Disservice to students

I believe it is a terrible idea to disqualify a high school student who makes a C or below from the honor roll. It is demoralizing to hard-working students.

This would mean that a student could get five A's and one C for the quarter and not be recognized as an honor roll student. This student would have a grade-point average of 3.66.

Another student could get four B's and two A's and make the honor roll with a GPA of 3.33.

In many cases, bright, hard-working students have deficit areas. Suppose a student is weak in math and gets a 79 for the quarter. This is a C. He or she could earn five A's in the other classes but still be excluded from honor roll status.

I hope the school board reconsiders this proposed policy. In this day and age, to not reward a hard-working student who earns a 3.4, 3.5 or 3.6 grade-point average in a quarter to me is professional negligence.

Andy Kern, New Port Richey (Nov. 19)

Comments

Friday’s letters: Find private investors for a new stadium

Opening offer from Rays on stadium sounds too low | Nov. 17, editorialFind private investors for stadiumThe Rays "offered" to pay 18.75 percent of the costs? How outrageously presumptuous to say that they offered! Put another way, they demanded t...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Thursday’s letters: Tax plan won’t help wages

Tax billThis won’t help stagnant wagesThe unfair tax proposal that cuts taxes for the rich and most powerful and cuts the ability of working people to claim any comparable deductions is no more than another greedy power grab by the rich and powerful....
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Wednesday’s letters: Breaking down health data

Don’t let news on blood pressure raise yours | Nov. 17, commentaryBreaking down health numbersThank you for publishing the timely commentary by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch on blood pressure. The point he makes about relative risks versus absolute risks ...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17

Tuesday’s letters: Disgraceful tax proposals

Tax billDisgraceful, harmful proposalsThe very fact that the Congress of the people of the United States would propose, not to mention pass, the current tax bill is nothing short of disgraceful. What sort of representatives of the people support cutt...
Published: 11/20/17

Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers

Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14Stop laying blame on teachersI am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. Sh...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Nov. 17

Questioning fees draws snarky responseYou are probably aware of the new Pasco utility fees that became effective last month.Under the dubious title of "convenience fee" for making utility payments by credit card or e-check, Pasco Utilities adds $2.75...
Published: 11/15/17

Dollars need to stay at home if south Brooksville is to survive

As a member of the Moton High School Class of 1967, I grew up a poor but very happy child because of the love given to me by all. So all I had to do was be a child and not rush to be an adult.There were many black businesses along a four-block area o...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/22/17