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Sunday's letters: Stop hospitals' price-gouging

Fixing medical bills that are just sick | March 24, Robyn Blumner column

Put stop to hospital price gouging

Why is it that hospitals can price gouge the underinsured or uninsured as standard practice, and yet our state Legislature was able to pass gas price gouging legislation, Florida Statute 501.160, for use during a state of emergency?

Gas price gouging is a flea compared to an elephant in terms of affecting individual consumers, and ultimately everyone in a trickle-down fashion.

And how do hospitals calculate their monetary amounts of charity? If a hospital bases them on gouged, inflated prices, they actually provide significantly less charity care then they would have the public believe.

The hospital pricing system is not broken, it has crumbled.

Alan Polansky, Clearwater

1.7M in state may qualify for health aid March 27

Living beyond our means

Who pays for these subsidies? The federal government. Where does the federal government get its money? The taxpayer.

The government tries to cleverly disguise this fact by calling the subsidies tax credits and pretending that federal money is "free." But a tax credit reduces the amount of money the government collects to pay its other bills such as the Defense Department and interest expense on the national debt.

Therefore, the deficit and debt that we are passing on to our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren grows and grows. I hope that they remember us fondly for making them pay for our profligacy and refusal to live within our means.

James P. Whitaker, Lutz

St. Petersburg in the world | March 24

Remade in our own image

Douglas McElhaney's article states: "Not since the great European colonizations of the early 20th century has any state contemplated the building of nations into something resembling our own."

I beg to differ. Building nations into something resembling our own is exactly what we contemplated and actually accomplished in Japan and West Germany after the end of World War II.

Palmer O. Hanson Jr., Largo

Diplomacy's dividends

I applaud Douglas McElhaney's efforts to bring this subject to those who may lack understanding. His thought that problems rarely disappear, or get worse, undercuts his argument somewhat as to the value of diplomacy.

Whether delivering demarches or maintaining dialogue with host country officials, emerging leaders, or everyday people, diplomats everywhere make a positive difference in the aggregate for U.S. policy abroad. In today's world they are the front line to influence and shape events in a given country.

While not all efforts meet our stated goals, many do. This job is not cookie pushing or serving up fudge but rather a vital part of America's world leadership function.

Wayne Logsdon, Hernando

How Republicans need to go forward March 24

Same old, same old

So Jeb Bush is offering a new path to Republican relevance. It sounds just like the old path, with the added Bush twist that public education is part of what is destroying the American dream.

He includes the three Republican "core principles" that are the "only" way for Americans to rise economically and be "free." To wit: We all must somehow obtain "greater responsibility," we all need "more personal freedom," and of course, "smaller and more effective government."

Bush spends a paragraph telling us about his acquaintance with mothers of disabled children desperate with fear of what will happen to their children once grown, yet Bush has no answers except smaller government and lots of empathy. Local community volunteerism, he proclaims, is "immensely more powerful than a thousand government programs." Nonprofits have been cutting back on community help because of the drop in donations caused by the economic crash, a result of his brother's eight years of reduced taxes, lack of financial regulations and unnecessary war.

Bush is so tone-deaf that he even brings up the "top 1 percent" for sympathy and admiration without bothering to point out that this top 1 percent has now siphoned off 40 percent of the nation's entire wealth thanks to the lowest taxes in decades, offshored profits and outsourced labor.

Shirley Copperman, Tarpon Springs

Third time's a charm

After living through two Bush presidencies and their semiconservative policies, I, like many in the conservative movement, developed a robust case of Bush fatigue.

However, after reading Jeb Bush's insightful essay on a winning future for the Republican Party, it seems that the old adage "third time's a charm" may apply.

Bush strikes a chord with me and many other conservatives when he talks about the great potential our nation has with new technologies that could make the United States the world's energy and agricultural leader.

This bright future may never materialize, as Bush states, if the federal government "continues on its arc of irresponsibility." Most conservatives agree with Bush about the deleterious effects of the federal government's spending addiction and its lackluster system of public education.

Bush also nails it when he says the conservative movement must change its game plan, i.e., its messaging. Conservatives have allowed the left to control the language on issues for too long. One glaring example is making increasing tax rates synonymous with raising revenues, when they can have very different meanings. In the conservative lexicon, growing the economy is the precursor to raising Treasury revenues, and raising tax rates most certainly stifles economic growth.

Bush eloquently suggests the underlying theme of the conservative message when he states "conservative principles, not liberal dogma, best reflect the ideals that made this nation great." The conservative challenge lies in how to best communicate that message to the American people.

Robert Coston, Clearwater

Sunday's letters: Stop hospitals' price-gouging 03/30/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 29, 2013 2:37pm]
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