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  1. Letters to the Editor

Friday's letters: Don't drop insurance protections

Published Jun. 22, 2017

Health reform

Don't gut insurance protections

I am reaching out on behalf of the millions of patients with celiac disease, non-celiac wheat/gluten sensitivity and other autoimmune diseases. I am deeply concerned about the possible removal of key protections in current law that guarantee access to comprehensive and affordable insurance coverage for patients with pre-existing health conditions. As Congress works to replace the Affordable Care Act, there are four patient protections that are absolutely essential to ensure that quality, affordable coverage remains accessible for these individuals and their families:

• Prohibit pre-existing condition discrimination;

• Prohibit lifetime and annual caps on insurance benefits;

• Allow young adults to stay on family coverage until they are 26;

• Limit out-of-pocket costs for patients.

The patient protections laid out in the Affordable Care Act have provided a degree of security and certainty for Americans with serious illnesses that they now expect. Let's protect broad, equitable and affordable access to health care.

Brian Kelly, Dunedin

Teaching

Support and discipline

As a retired Pinellas County elementary school teacher and principal, I'm finding it more difficult to keep quiet about the reasons our schools are having trouble recruiting teachers to the profession. Yes, the pay is poor, but in my 32-year career my colleagues were all about teaching children to become confident lifelong learners. Money was not the reason to become a teacher; it was and is their heart. Many of my teachers took summer and evening jobs but didn't want to give up teaching. They still take pride in their work. They love the kids.

The real reasons should be examined more closely. Try the lack of discipline, support and respect they are receiving from students, parents and some administrators. No matter what job you hold, respect for others is important. When it isn't there, you lose heart.

Sue Kotchman, Seminole

FBI investigation

Words amount to a threat

There has been much uninformed speculation about the linguistic meaning of President Donald Trump's statement to James Comey: "I hope you will let the investigation of Michael Flynn go." Those who argue it was not a command are correct. It was, in truth, a threat.

There are several distinct contexts that determine what is meant when one person says to another, "I hope that …"

First, it could be an expression of a wish with uncertain result, when neither the speaker nor the listener has control over the outcome. For example: "I hope it will rain tomorrow."

Second, it could be advice in a situation where only the listener has power to effect the outcome. Example: "I hope you will seek help for your alcoholism."

Third, if the speaker has power over the fate of the listener, the "I hope" constitutes a threat of negative consequences when the listener has little or no choice but to obey. Example: A gun-wielding thief says, "I hope you will surrender your wallet without a struggle." Or a judge says to a first-time offender, "I hope you will never come before me again."

It is the last that applies to Trump's words to Comey.

David R. Wright, Tampa

No smoke, no fire

The repeated effort to find something on the new president is one of the many reasons he was elected — people are tired of politicians. Congressional Democrats are grasping for straws, desperate to come up with something to invalidate the new administration. They've tried to circumvent the Constitution by ignoring the Electoral College vote, they're busy trying to find scandal after scandal, but nothing sticks because there isn't any smoke, never mind a fire.

Democrats hope citizens fall for this feigned outrage and ignore the real scandals among their political elite, those who have been protected from scrutiny for the past eight years. We know there's corruption of the highest levels among the Clintons and anyone associated with them. Clean up your own mess before you start on someone else. With all that illegal activity, you'll be busy for years.

Debi Ford, St. Petersburg

U.S. militias not ready to lay down arms June 18

Changes through history

I am a little confused about the "being a Christian" as quoted by Yvette DeMaria. I was raised to believe that Christians are forgiving, willing to accept that which may make them uncomfortable. Yet DeMaria (a member of the Georgia Security Force) promotes hate. I always find it amusing when a militant states that we have "strayed from the intent of the nation's forefathers."

Unless DeMaria was sitting in that small, sometimes sweltering room in Philadelphia in 1787, she has no earthly idea what the framers "meant." They were basing their genius on the current times and looking to history in Greece, Rome and Great Britain to get a base line to create a "living document" — one that morphs and adapts to history and historical changes.

I have one question for DeMaria: Would she be willing to give up her right to vote and to publicly protest? Because without the 19th Amendment, which was nowhere on the radar of the framers, and a major change to the original Constitution, she would be the "little woman" sitting at home and baking bread. She also would not be allowed to own that gun that she is so proud of. That would be the property of her husband as would her home and her children.

Cathi Greene, Dunedin

Cuba travel

Trump's businesses

I guarantee you that if President Trump had a hotel/golf resort in Cuba he wouldn't be trying to limit Americans from traveling to Cuba.

Tim Haley, St. Petersburg

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