Affordable Care Act
Site worked, but insurance costly
I had the talk recently with my 26-year-old daughter, who had aged out of my company medical insurance plan and with great trepidation went to www.healthcare.gov.
The website worked seamlessly and was no different than Amazon or eBay, and after about 45 minutes we selected a plan (including an inexpensive dental plan) that fit our needs. She was able to keep her same doctor and dentist.
But was the bottom line inexpensive? Not really. Total cost was about $340 per month because she has no subsidies available. Last year she made too much (about $30,000 as a veterinarian technician) and this year she has no income as a full-time college student studying to become a veterinarian. (And Gov. Rick Scott has refused to expand Medicaid.)
I consider this an investment in America, so if in a few years you have an ailing puppy or kitty and find a convenient and affordable veterinarian, please thank the Affordable Care Act.
By the way, I served my country as a Peace Corps volunteer and unlike the military we have no lifetime medical benefits — and in my group our casualty rate exceeded that of our military brothers.
Arnold Goldin, Redington Beach
There's help available
While the Affordable Care Act's website struggles are a constant in the news, trained navigators are readily available to help consumers. In Pinellas County alone there are 16 offices.
Money was spent to staff these offices and train the workers. It would be a shame if these resources were not used because people got the false impression they had to go it alone on the website.
Bonnie Agan, St. Petersburg
Scott's chief of staff lied about degree Dec. 7
A teachable moment
As a high school teacher, I think that Adam Hollingsworth admitting he lied about his education is a great teaching experience.
What have we learned? Well, you can lie and still get a great job. Keep the lie to yourself until you get caught. Then, all you have to do is "apologize" for lying, except you don't call it a lie; it is a "misstatement."
After the apology, everything is hunky-dory. The governor, who himself is well-versed at making "misstatements" about his former job, assures us that his chief of staff is "a man of integrity and character."
If you lie or cheat in high school, you get a written referral. If you do the same in politics, you just smile and move on. Shameful.
Ronald Medvin, Tampa
Tracing the money that spread the lies Dec. 6, editorial
Children needed that help
Kidz Club, described as "a center for children with special needs in St. Petersburg," contributed $10,000 to the recent mayor's race. Who would authorize this donation and why? Surely the children need this money, and the politician who received it should quickly send the donation back.
Ed Cadden, St. Petersburg
The minimum we can do | Dec. 8
Revolution in the air
The real question is: What are we going to do as the relentless replacement of humans by machines eventually eliminates most jobs?
In five years cars and trucks will drive themselves — no more taxi drivers or truck drivers, so the middle class takes another hit.
Smartphones, and smartclothes with sensors connecting to robot surgeons, will put pressure on doctors. Engineers too. Computers will be solving political and environmental problems, which might be a good thing unless they want to eliminate the problematic carbon-based units: us.
Computers are already making decent music. With virtual reality banging at the door, many people won't want to interact with real people. The revolution has started. Worry.
William Gilbert, Weeki Wachee
$44,000 for flood insurance? | Dec. 7
Worse than a flood
I've never been as frightened for my family's future as I am now by the ticking bomb known as the Biggert-Waters act.
After paying $200 for a required survey, I learned that my flood premiums will rise from about $1,500 annually to $9,009 per year.
While the rates will be phased in for those who can afford growing escrow payments, the impact is immediate for homebuyers.
In short, my cost of living goes up and my property value drops. Nobody will pay the value of my modest home plus $9,000 a year for flood insurance.
Unless Congress acts to postpone this action or modify its impact on homeowners, the consequences could be more disastrous than an actual flood.
Nice homes in our middle-class Dunedin neighborhood already stand empty. We've lived and invested hoping to retire here, but truly don't know if we'll lose everything because of something none of us could see coming.
Please join me in imploring Congress to save our homes and our futures before this man-made tide sinks us.
Ken Lynam, Dunedin
Bureaucratic bungling | Dec. 6, letter
Most are dedicated, able
I take issue with the letter writer's characterization of the work of U.S. federal government employees.
As a 35-year federal government employee in Washington, D.C., who supervised and worked with many government employees, I found the vast majority to be dedicated, hard-working and intelligent people who were every bit as good as employees in the private sector whom I have worked with over the past 15 years.
Where would this country be without dedicated government workers such as air traffic controllers, meat inspectors, National Institutes of Health researchers, FBI agents, etc.
Yes, there are some incompetent government employees, but you will find those in all large organizations.
I agree with the letter writer that the Affordable Care Act website is a mess, but keep in mind it was built by a private contractor.
Ronald L. Piencykoski, Clearwater