Medical groups want doctors to include costs in decisions | April 18
Care shouldn't be based on costs
There is something inherently flawed with the prospect of doctors making health care decisions based on the cost of drugs. Every American should have the appropriate care available for his or her illness based on best medical practice decisions, period. The situation becomes even more spurious when one considers the source of the suggestion — the American Society for Clinical Oncology.
As noted in your editorial April 10 regarding Medicare reimbursement rates, oncologists were among the highly reimbursed specialties with, according to doctors (not the Medicare report), much of the cost attributed to drugs and expensive equipment rather than salaries. One could therefore argue that if oncologists follow the ASCO's suggestion and utilize a lower-cost drug, their total Medicare reimbursement will be lower, quite possibly without any reduction in salary. Thus, is the suggestion by the ASCO one of fiduciary responsibility, or is it one meant to enhance the image of oncologists with no attendant impact on salaries?
As a patient, an American citizen and a health care communications specialist, I humbly request we allow doctors to make informed health care decisions based on what is best for the patient and leave fiduciary oversight to those responsible for payment and reimbursement. This will help reduce potential conflicts of interest in medical practice and, hopefully, keep us focused on fixing our system to ensure optimum affordable health care for all Americans.
Kim Pepitone Cottrell, Spring Hill
Private flood rates drop | April 18
Private policies, public pain
For months, residents of Florida have been told by Federal Emergency Management Agency administrators that Florida flood insurance policyholders have premiums that were being substantially subsidized by the federal government. They assured us that the true actuarial rates for Florida's flood policies should be much higher, an order of magnitude higher, than what we were paying before the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act. Never mind that Floridians paid four times in flood premiums what they received in claims.
Well, leave it to private insurance to offer flood insurance premiums approximately 10 percent below FEMA, pre-Biggert-Waters. It's great news for Floridians, but bad news for the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA will likely see a large percentage of its distrusting 2 million flood insurance customers run to Lloyd's of London. And all those Florida premiums used to subsidize the rest of the country?
Well, now FEMA and Congress will truly have a crisis on their hands. Irony has rarely been so beautiful.
Rick Perry, Treasure Island
Sheriff warns against medical pot | April 18
Comparison doesn't hold up
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri should not compare the prospects of medical marijuana with the dark history of pill mills. When people think of pill mills, they think of addicts and overdose deaths.
Unlike the narcotic painkillers dispensed by pill mills, marijuana has never caused a single death by overdose, and is hardly addictive. To draw a comparison between the two is intellectually dishonest.
Ryan Conley, Tampa
No more stalling on springs April 22, editorial
Restore natural Florida
In June 1950, my mother loaded the neighborhood kids up in the station wagon and drove to Kissengen Springs near Bartow for the annual opening of the swimming season. The springs were closed with a chain across the entrance. We kids jumped the chain and ran down to the springs to see what happened.
We found the springs, which had been as clear and beautiful as any spring in the state, were now a mud hole. A well on adjacent property had sucked all the water out of the aquifer in that location, leaving a pool of green slime. It was a shock for an 8-year-old to see how thoughtless development destroyed one of the most beautiful features of our state.
What is Florida? A gaggle of houses built around roads and shopping centers where asphalt is the distinguishing feature? It should not be. We need to preserve the natural part of Florida that is our heritage, starting with spring restoration. House Speaker Will Weatherford should release Senate Bill 1576 and get on with the job.
Russell J. Watrous, Land O'Lakes
Call it the Easter Dragon | April 19
'Where' was missing
One thing that I heard repeatedly when I started a career at newspapers was to be sure to tell the reader what, when and where. But after reading the paragraph on the front page in the In the Know column and then the report on the rocket launch elsewhere in the front section, I still didn't know where the launch took place.
There wasn't a dateline on the report or a mention anywhere in the article that the launch took place at Cape Canaveral.
Jack Mangus, Ocala
U.S. delays final call on Keystone pipeline April 19
Obama, fundraiser in chief
Finally, an article that openly acknowledges that President Barack Obama is more interested in his performance as "chief fundraiser" than he is in improving the economy and creating jobs.
Now that billionaire liberal donor Tom Steyer has been exposed, maybe we will hear less about the Koch brothers.
Ed Germond, Apollo Beach
Don't let Koch near integrity of FSU April 20, John Romano column
University integrity at stake
Florida State University should be ashamed and embarrassed for allowing any donor to have veto power over the hiring of any professor.
Allowing Charles Koch, an ultraconservative, this kind of power over the economics department would be akin to allowing the leader of the Christian Scientists to make hiring decisions within the school's medical department.
No public college should allow any interference from any person outside the college administration. Public education should never be for sale to the highest bidder.
Ray Day, Spring Hill