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WellCare shows the perils of health care for profit

WellCare will pay $80M | May 6, story

The perils of health care for profit

WellCare is a prime example of private health insurance for profit. It funneled millions of taxpayer dollars into its own pockets while denying care to children. So now the company has to pay the state $80 million. Big deal! That money came from the state and the state's taxpayers to begin with.

WellCare is a private, for-profit company that was contracted by the state to deliver specific care to Medicare and Medicaid recipients. The state allocates a certain amount of money for each person. The company makes its profits by giving as little care as possible (rationing care) and keeping whatever money remains. That's the way all the HMOs operate.

We need a national health care system. It would combat fraud such as this while offering health care to all our citizens. We could have Medicare for all. Such a system would not be "socialized medicine" as the providers would be private and independent. A single-payer system would cut out the large amounts spent on paperwork (30 percent of the health care dollar) and the huge salaries and bonuses of the corporate CEOs.

Health care for profit is immoral. The nuns taught me that back in 1960, and it hasn't changed today.

Fern Williams, Zephyrhills

WellCare will pay $80M | May 6, story

Privatization lets

the children suffer

Two things bother me about this new example of corporate greed and corruption. The first is that they denied health care to children — to make more money for themselves. If that isn't a perfect example why all the efforts to privatize government services are never going to work, I don't know what is. Imagine if Medicaid had gone private, or Social Security. What is our government thinking?

Second, we see how much they settled the case for, but how much money did they steal from our children? And is the settlement going to go help those who were hurt or be used to help balance the state budget? What exactly does $40 million in "civil penalties" mean? Who really gets it and why isn't it all going to help our kids?

And on Page 2A of Wednesday's Times is a story about the insurance industry being afraid of a universal health care plan (Regulate us, say health insurers). Afraid of what? That they won't be able to take money from our children, our elderly, our disabled, our hard working middle and lower classes, and jet off to their offshore corporate tax havens?

Do you trust them? Do you even care?

Kris Gonynor, Port Richey

WellCare will pay $80M | May 6, story

A double standard

I read in the paper how WellCare stole millions of dollars from Florida Medicaid and Florida Healthy Kids Corp. for health care it did not render, and how the company is able to pay $80 million in retribution and continue to have contracts with the state and federal government.

If I, as a doctor, were to act that irresponsibly and dishonestly, not only would I have to pay back all the money that I took, but I would also be banned from working for Medicare or Medicaid ever again.

I do not understand this double standard, since there surely are many other insurance companies that could serve the public just as well as WellCare and do it in an honest way.

Stanley S. Moles, M.D. Largo

Baby killed, tossed on I-275 | May 6, story

Don't blame the victim

Please allow me to clarify your coverage of the horrible tragedy of a child being thrown from a car. This unimaginable crime has only one person to blame, and it is not the mother of this child. She was clearly also a victim of this man, a victim of domestic violence. The first sentence in your article says, "If she had gone to court Monday, maybe the domestic violence charge she had filed would have stuck."

First, filing an injunction is not a "domestic violence charge," it is a civil process. And even if she had gone to court, she would have gotten a piece of paper that said he should stay away from her. Clearly with his arrest history, it is not likely that he would have abided by this order.

From all reports, Richard McTear Jr. is a dangerous man. I trust that the women he victimized knew this, and knew that an injunction would not stop him and may even have made the abuse worse.

Domestic violence is about one person taking coercive control of another person. Leaving a relationship, filing an injunction and filing for divorce all let the abuser know he has lost control. That makes this the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence, when she is most likely to be killed. We need to stop asking why she does not leave, but ask instead why he is abusive. Let's stop blaming the victim! This victim, and many others in our community, needs our support. What can you do to help?

Nikki Daniels, Family Justice Center, Tampa

A day to remember

Along with thousands of World War II veterans, I well remember V-E Day, Victory in Europe, May 8, 1945. That was 64 years ago, and we commemorate this day every year because half of World War II was finally brought to an end.

I was 20 years old at that time, flying with a B-17 bomber crew attached to the 486th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. We were based in Sudbury, England, flying missions over Germany and France. On V-E Day we witnessed the English people dancing in the streets — they would no longer have to tolerate the wrath of German Luftwaffe planes bombing their cities. What a great and joyous day this was!

V-E Day was a blessing and meant that most of us veterans who were living could return home. The war was still raging in the South Pacific, but Japan capitulated in August after President Harry Truman authorized the use of the atomic bomb. This proved to be one of the great decisions in our country's history.

Jack Keller Sr., charter member, World War II Memorial Society, Belleair Bluffs

Jack Kemp

A good defense

As a lifelong liberal Democrat I must say that the passing of Jack Kemp is a very sad occasion. He lived a life most of us can only envy. He was an expert on national tax policy — hardly an easy subject to master but he knew it inside and out. And while some might consider this to be a small thing, something he said 20 years ago has always stuck in my mind as the perfect attitude toward our national security: "I'm a dove! A heavily armed dove." Our task today, of course, is to decide what "heavily armed" means. Blank checks for any and all weapons systems cannot be sustained. We are played out. Counterinsurgency training, linguists, and development programs that improve people's lives will do far more to achieve our aims than simply sending troops and guns into Middle Eastern countries. All you need to do is switch roles and ask yourself how we would react if all we got was a well-intentioned but incompetently run invasion by people who don't speak English.

James McGill, St. Pete Beach

WellCare shows the perils of health care for profit 05/07/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 7, 2009 6:38pm]
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