1. Letters to the Editor

Sunday's letters: Medicaid column ignores key facts

Published May 15, 2015

Here's why expanding Medicaid is a bad idea | May 13, commentary

Medicaid essay ignores key facts

George LeMieux's arguments against expanding Medicaid are familiar. First, certain doctors refuse to treat Medicaid patients, and our overreaching federal government's contributions to program funding will drop from 100 percent to 90 percent after 2016 but it can't be trusted to continue doing so indefinitely. Second, the Obama administration is blackmailing Florida for not expanding Medicaid by discontinuing funding for the Low Income Pool that helps defray the costs hospitals incur by treating the poor. According to LeMieux, this is just the latest example of a power grab by the federal government that the Founding Fathers warned us against.

But ignored in this partisan essay are the 800,000 low-income Floridians who would gain health care coverage with Medicaid's expansion. Not mentioned is the fact that the Low Income Pool has been scheduled to be phased out on June 30 for some time. Sidestepped as well is the fact that the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not offer its citizens some form of universal health care coverage. And, like all Republican diatribes against Obamacare, no alternative program that would provide health care for the approximately 30 million Americans who remain uninsured is being proposed.

But an expensive alternative, whose costs are eventually borne by all citizens in one way or another, is inadvertently implied: a visit to the nation's overcrowded hospital emergency rooms by those who have no other recourse.

Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center

Here's why expanding Medicaid is a bad idea May 13, commentary

Column didn't deliver

The headline of this opinion piece is unfortunately a very poor description of the text that follows.

George LeMieux's column is not an explanation of why Medicaid expansion is a bad idea. Instead, 90 percent of it is a description of basic legislative, legal and procedural facts, followed by a 10 percent summary of why he will not agree with anything the federal government does unless he personally thinks it is a good idea.

Based on facts instead of predetermined ideology, there is only one logical conclusion: Medicaid expansion is a financial and compassionate positive for the state of Florida.

LeMieux's essential argument seems to be that the cost of expansion is too high for the state of Florida to afford. A reasonable estimate of the cost of this program over the first 10 years is $5.4 billion out of a 10-year gross state income of approximately $10 trillion. This would cover 800,000 Floridians. To compare this to the perspective of a single family, this is equivalent to a family earning $50,000 spending less than $14. After absorbing these real numbers, please ask yourself if that is really unaffordable.

Brad Hodge, Palmetto

Military service

Duties of citizenship

On May 8 we celebrated V-E Day, marking the end of World War II in Europe fought by the youth of the "Greatest Generation" who went on to live productive lives.

Observing the youth of today at spring break in Panama City and rioting in Baltimore, exhibiting completely irresponsible behavior, presents a stark contrast. They seem to have no obligations except to themselves. One could refer to them as the entitled generation.

What distinguishes the youth of the Greatest Generation from today's youth? Military service.

I was an irresponsible college athlete only keeping minimum grades to stay eligible to play. After graduation as an Air Force fighter pilot, I went to law school and graduated in the top 10 percent of my class. I often wonder where I would be today if not for military service.

We are now in a war with radical Islam that will continue for years. Is it fair that the burden be borne by a small volunteer military with multiple deployments? As a duty of citizenship, every able-bodied person should have to share in the defense of our country.

A draft requiring two years' active service and six years in the reserves would provide a larger military at minimum cost as draftees, as in World War II, would receive only subsistence pay.

Harold H. Dean, St. Petersburg

Brady sacked for 4 games | May 12

Others must have known

Surely there are other members of the New England Patriots who would have been aware of the difference in feel of footballs if they were deflated.

The center handles the ball on every play, and before it is snapped he picks up the ball and places the laces in such a way that they will be where the quarterback wants them. In addition, the running backs must hold on to the balls tightly and I would think would feel the difference.

Finally, and most significant, would be the pass receivers. After all, it was a defensive back who intercepted a Tom Brady pass who noticed the difference. For Brady's own receivers not to have felt that would be stretching credibility unless it was the norm.

Thomas I. Hayes, St. Petersburg

At 102 mph, train derails, killing 7 | May 14

Infrastructure failures

I am very sorry, and it is very discouraging to hear of the train derailment in Philadelphia with its loss of life and the many injuries sustained.

It is a poignant example of what can happen when there is so little concern and support for maintaining modern, safe and reliable transportation infrastructure in this country. The fact that Congress is in the process of cutting millions of dollars from the Amtrak budget just before this accident is an indication of how backward and irresponsible this Congress has been toward Amtrak and toward our infrastructure overall.

Of course, contributing to the problem is the inefficient and unfair tax system, which does not produce the desired amount of money. This, the richest of all countries, has not used its wealth wisely.

Carl Hansen, Clearwater


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