Feud reveals prices of medical care | Nov. 22
Fix what drives up health costs
The public debate on health care has been centered on how to pay for increasingly expensive health services. While important, it doesn't address the real question: Why does health care cost so much in the first place?
In the Times recently, the thousands of dollars in multi-full-page ads exhorting seniors to assign their Medicare coverage to the advertiser are an indicator of the riches accruing to the medical insurance industry. Read the 10-Ks of the 10 largest public health insurers and see what their top execs earn. Unseen is the immense wealth being accumulated by the owners of the private health insurers that have grown the last 15 years.
Then there are the top execs at the major hospitals and health systems. In Tampa Bay, none of them earn less than $1 million except the lone woman in St. Petersburg in charge of the largest charity care server here.
Doctors are also a part of the problem. Except for those foolish enough to go into pediatrics, gerontology and general practice, who are woefully underpaid and underappreciated, these are the guys buying the homes that the "98 percent" can only dream of.
Today's newest hospitals rival Ritz-Carltons in amenities in the drive to attract patients' insurance dollars. Meanwhile, U.S. mortality rates are ridiculously high given the dollars spent.
We need to start asking the right questions and promoting citizen health education that could lead to a rational approach to controlling the cost of surviving into our 80s and 90s.
Scott Wagman, St. Petersburg
He talks of race but not remorse | Nov. 21
Cases not comparable
I am a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights, "stand your ground," and the right of self-defense. I also have a license to carry.
But any attempt to compare the Trevor Dooley case to the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case is a real stretch. The latter happened at night, in an area where there had been recent criminal events, and involved a neighborhood watch captain. While I regret the outcome, I can somewhat see how it could happen.
Dooley chose to carry a weapon into a quiet, safe neighborhood park in broad daylight to confront a young boy on a skateboard and a father shooting hoops with his young daughter. The little girl's father is gone forever.
Dooley chose first to try to use "stand your ground." Failing there, and being found guilty by an impartial jury, his next move was to claim racism. The jury acted responsibly. I hope the judge will do the same.
Howard Parker, Brandon
Sometimes people forget about the jewel they have in their own backyard. The bay area has more than a few — the Pier, the Dalí Museum, the Tampa Bay Rays and the TECO streetcar. No matter what you feel about the streetcar — yes, ridership has not been what anyone hoped for — it has a place and can be a starting point for something better.
While some would like to expand highways in Tampa or, even worse, create toll lanes on the Howard Frankland Bridge, the TECO streetcar sits there screaming to be used.
Growth, a better way of life in the downtown area and a easing of traffic woes are possible if we use and improve the TECO streetcar.
Todd J. Goodman, Tampa
Obama, Morsi connect on need to reach a deal | Nov. 22
Steady hand in a crisis
The article about President Barack Obama and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi connecting to reach a deal in the Middle East crisis was a pleasure to read, in view of the fact that I was hoping I made the right decision voting for Obama.
This was Obama's first new problem since being elected, and he displayed true presidential ability in how he handled it, resulting in the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
If he has the ability to straighten out the mess in the Middle East, he should be counted on to do the same for us here in America.
Morris Grossman, Sun City Center
Egypt's helpful role
I'm pretty sure a cease-fire wouldn't have happened as quickly a few years ago as it has today. It seems like everybody in the United States was thinking the worst would happen when Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, was elected. But I don't think Hosni Mubarak would have intervened or worked with the diplomatic mission from the United States as quickly and effectively as Morsi and his foreign secretary. The Muslim Brotherhood has credence with Hamas and Hezbollah and the Palestinian nation.
The United States has tried for decades to help lead the way to an equitable peace in the region. I think the goal of peaceful coexistence may be achievable with the help of our friends in Egypt.
Jeff Cutting, Brandon
Day of gratitude, family, friendship Nov. 22, editorial
Creator was left out
I was saddened to see that the main reason, in your opinion, that we should be thankful is "that we are united in a common purpose to give thanks for each other." The first national proclamation by our first president, George Washington, given on Oct. 3, 1789, includes words like "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer … by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God."
If we are thanking only ourselves, and not the creator who gave us the inalienable rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," then we shall fail. From a business standpoint, if all your subscribers who believe in God stopped buying your newspaper, you would soon be out of business.
John M. Edgerton, Tarpon Springs
Transit merger could boost savings Nov. 18, editorial
Seek merger savings
This editorial discusses the possible savings with a merger of HART and PSTA. The savings in such a merger aren't obvious to me except for inter-county routes. We should start with that, and I think they already are coordinating those routes.
What really struck me is the obvious merger in Hillsborough County that no one seems to be seriously considering — consolidation of city and county water and wastewater services into a countywide water and wastewater authority, similar to Jacksonville's.
Integration of these service networks would result in significant savings to customers of both utilities, improved service for many, and more effective water conservation as city-treated wastewater could be made available to large county industrial and commercial users.
Al Martini, Temple Terrace