1. Archive

Humana's return to county raises many questions

Re: Humana returns services to county, Jan. 21 Times.

Editor: We have lived in Florida for many years. It was our understanding that the state of Florida had an insurance commissioner to protect the public from insurance companies that prey on people just to make a fast buck.

We had just such a company, Humana, some years ago, which, after a few years of "service" to the public, pulled out and left thousands of people without insurance. Perhaps the title HMO gives them privileges that private insurance companies don't enjoy. We understand they left because they didn't get enough money from Medicare to keep going. It seems strange that other HMOs could remain active, like the one we belong to now.

If we still have an insurance commissioner, we think it would be appropriate for him to explain, in this newspaper, why Humana has been allowed to begin operating here again.

Clayton Thomas, Brooksville

Residents will be better off without Humana's services

Re: Humana's pullout not forgotten so easily, Jan. 27 letter to the editor.

Editor: Yes, we well remember what Humana did to the people of Hernando County, so I'm sure we don't want to see them here again.

I totally agree with Grace Macmillan's letter. We have done just fine without Humana since then. As a matter of fact, we're much better. Goodbye, Humana.

Raymond Belanger, Spring Hill

County Commission actions resemble a three-ring circus

Editor: Often asked what I stand for, I say "It's not so much what I stand for, it's what I won't stand for."

No. 1 is the tax-and-spend mentality of Hernando County staff and commissioners, who demonstrate a total lack of fiscal accountability and responsibility. Watching the way they manipulate budget figures to achieve their goal of taxation without representation is like attending a three-ring circus.

County Attorney Garth Coller is the ringmaster; his whip is the threat of lawsuits. Staff are the trainers experienced in keeping their charges in line. The performers are the county commissioners. When the whip cracks, they are herded into submission and behave as directed. Granted, the ringmaster may change, and the performers, as well, but the trainers remain the same.

I think it's time for taxpayers to step into the ring and crack the whip. Remember, everyone in county government can be replaced, but the taxpayer can never be replaced.

Say "No" to the half-penny sales tax; say "No" to the half-penny school tax; and say "No" to the three commissioners running for re-election. We have the power. It's our vote. They can't stop us, but we can stop them.

Jean C. Marin, Spring Hill

U.S. drug industry should

work to tighten quality, prices

Re: Medicare users question imported drug ban, Jan. 27 Times.

The article about the imported drug ban needs some clarification.

Our U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, cites safety as the major reason for banning the importation of drugs from Canada. I totally agree with that assessment. However, we must further explore the term "safety."

The idea of a safety net of federal drug protection agencies is flawed, and there are many examples of altered or diluted drugs reaching the consumer from the home-grown American drug industry.

The article cites a difference of approximately 45 percent, or $605, saved annually. One can reason that the real safety issue is the $605 in extra profits the U.S. pharmacy industry will place in its coffers. These extra profits not only line the pockets of the fat cat legal drug merchants, but also provide a source for the contributions to the fat cat politicians.

Overall, Medicare drug benefits can be likened to an expression that my dad used when I was a kid. He said that they are giving us the sleeves from their vests. My naive response was, "Dad, vests don't have sleeves!"

Patrick J. Conrey, Spring Hill

Brown-Waite can teach Bush

how to treat our veterans

Presidential George W. Bush has not fulfilled his campaign pledges to veterans. When Congress attempted to right some glaring wrongs involving the veterans, Bush threatened to veto the legislation.

I voted for both Bushes, twice for the father and once for the son. As a career Navy man and disabled veteran, I support the president in his foreign affairs policies, the Iraq liberation and on some domestic issues. But what he has done to, and not for, veterans may well fuel the energies of those who would build a Veterans Party. Yet, let's face it, years will pass before any viable party could achieve true legislative clout. Veterans, at best, might demonstrate to both parties little more than the strength of the numbers they no longer could count on.

Oh, and lest we forget, the Democrats had years and years to correct the same inequities about which so many of us are now exercised.

Regarding U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, nobody knows better the numbers of veterans she represents and their importance to her re-election. She and her staff are making headway in trying to acquaint themselves with our problems on a collective and individual basis. Remember, this is the lady's first term and we should recognize the realities of being a first-term representative in the U.S. House. It's a time of one's loyalties being tested again and again by the leadership. She started out well, and it was no accident she was given a seat on the the very committee that oversees us and our problems, Veteran Affairs. Additionally, she serves on the subcommittees for Veteran Benefits and Medical Care. These are strategic appointments by which she can do something that truly matters for all of us who served the United States.

I have sent my concerns to our 5th District Representative on several diverse issues, usually at odds with the Republican leadership. I have always received a thoughtful explanation of why she votes as she does. Furthermore, at the December meeting with the Veterans Council in Spring Hill, she demonstrated a willingness to listen to what most is upsetting her veterans' constituents. And to ensure she and her staff heard the complaints accurately, she followed up with a letter to the participants, detailing her understanding of what needs attention.

Perhaps with our understanding and support in her efforts to help us, she may well do just that.

John C. MacKercher, Weeki Wachee

Chances of receiving bad medicine exist anywhere

Editor: I would like to know how U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite claims imported medicine cannot be sold because of safety issues, claiming counterfeit drugs sold on Internet are not regulated.

How about the druggist in Florida (I think it was last year) who cut medicine strength in half or even less? How was that regulated? What makes anyone think we're buying good medicine here in the United States?

My chances of getting bad medicine are the same whether from Canada or a crooked druggist in America.

Mary Voiles, New Port Richey