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Letters to the Editor - Aug. 28, 2009

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By The Staff

Start serving

the people

To President Obama, Congress and all other decision-makers in Washington, D.C.:

I first want to address the issue of putting aside the issue of illegal immigrants. If you start with their impact on this nation you realize how it affects every American citizen, with Social Security, Medicare, health care, hospitals, schools, prisons, energy, transportation, city, county, state and federal welfare systems – everything about our way of life, on and on.

Spending – Gitmo: Close a good facility that cost millions of dollars so we can spend millions of dollars to have them in the United States prisons? Stupid!

No to health care: We have no idea what the 1,000 pages say and we do know the cost will be out of sight. Reform, yes, but leave it alone for now.

Energy development: Drill off the coast of Florida; Cuba and China are doing it. We don’t need to be relying on Mideast oil. We can deliver clean coal, solar, nuclear facilities, etc., and it puts people to work.

No to cap and trade: The increase in everyone’s utilities while in recession? No way.

Start serving “We the People.” Listen, we’re angry and have every right to be. Quit acting out of a desire to be re-elected (believe me, many of you will not be). And that starts in November of 2010. Term limits are a must.

Gladys Burkhart

Ocala

Truth shall prevail

I want to thank Dr. Avery Brinkley Jr. for his well written commentary in another publication “Government-run system dooms health care.”

The federal government is simply not capable of running any business in an efficient manner as President Obama himself admits when referring to the U.S. Postal Service losing billions of dollars every year, and look at what they have done to Social Security. There is no money in the trust fund, nothing but IOUs (future tax increases/benefit reductions).

If any citizen approaching 60 years of age wants government to take over our health care system, you are not thinking about the cost or consequences to seniors, our children and grandchildren. Those of us who are responsible enough to pay our way will also get to pay for those who aren’t willing to assume responsibility for themselves. Health care being rationed is a simple fact of mathematics, talk to your doctor.

Suppose you have an auto that is rated the best in the world but is having some mechanical trouble. You don’t total the car then rebuild it, you find the exact problem and simply fine tune it. The same principle applies to our health care; it doesn’t need 1,100 pages that no one reads or understands, it needs a tune-up.

Obama wants to pull billions out of Medicare despite the fact Medicare is in financial trouble. The biggest reasons for the problem are fraud and waste, consistent with most government programs. This can be corrected if we follow simple business principles, put in tort reform, work through doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to operate more efficiently and keep excellent records. Opening up the market to all in every state will improve competition without costing over a trillion more dollars and also eliminate pre-existing concerns.

We need to realize this isn’t just about quality care or cost, it’s about government takeover of our American way of life. The auto business, banks and the 1,500-page cap and trade bill that no one read (which calls for a federal government review of your house BEFORE you can sell it) are perfect examples. We now have four times the debt of a year ago and it will continue to grow beyond belief. Any senator or representative who votes for these bills should be voted out of office at the earliest opportunity. If you have never taken a stand for America, it’s now time to do so; our freedom and way of life are at stake. 

God bless America, still the greatest country in the world.

Wayne Rackley

Ocala

Blame the

Democrats

We can blame the Democrats for the failure of the public option becoming law. The Democrats made a weak attempt at explaining what the public option would mean for working people and what the cost would be for all Americans.

We can blame the Democrats for introducing a bill of over 1,000 pages and expecting congress to read and understand the contents before voting the bill into law. We know that the members of the House and Senate are much too busy to read and understand what they are voting on. We found this out when we went to war with Iraq.

We can blame the Democrats for allowing the Republicans to use their minority position in Congress to write the bill concerning health care for all Americans. The Democrats are cowards when it comes to fighting for the public option and are willing to give in to any threat made by the Republicans.

We can blame the Democrats for accepting the lies being told by the Republicans concerning the public option and how unable the Democrats are of telling the simple truth when explaining the benefits to you and me.

I hope the Democrats enjoyed their majority in Congress, if they only knew how to use it while they had it.

Jerry Segovis

OTOW

Don’t celebrate

Woodstock

Woodstock, an event to be celebrated? I do not think so.

Woodstock was an orgy, an exercise in excess. Something to be apologized for, not celebrated. It was a low point in history, not a high point.

That generation still has not grown up. Even as they begin to retire, they revel in their rude, crude, pushy, infantile behavior. They truly are a lost generation.

Drugs, sex, filth of every genre. Sixty and tattooed, cute. Yeah, baby!

Intelligence personified.

Role models for chimps: Maybe?

D.I. Larson

Ocala

Too many jobs for

Barbara Fitos

Just how many jobs does Barbara Fitos have.

I saw that Larry Cretul appointed her to another commission on top of her other duties, She is active in the Florida Association of Counties and serves on Growth Management Select Committee.

She is treasurer of Withlacoochee Regional Water Supply Authority and secretary of the Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council.

I would very much like to know if she thinks she is able to be of service to the citizens of Marion County as she was elected to do.

I did vote for her because I really thought that she would make a difference in the bunch that was in control. But no, she jumped right into line with them.

I would really like to know how she can do her job that she was elected to do.

Earl Wooley

Oak Run

Obama health care plan

Re: Robert Becker’s column, "Reading parts of the proposed health care plan," Aug. 21, 2009.

It might be Becker’s good fortune if Conservative Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire owner of Fox News, read his article and offered him a job broadcasting disinformation about President Obama’s efforts to reform the despicable health care insurance situation most Americans are struggling with today.

His ability to make information appear credible, which he receives from a  variety of sources that he does not identify, is remarkable. He presents a series of negative remarks he pulled out of 10 pages of data his anonymous sources have given him, which he thought readers should see. He cites page and line reference to persuade readers the negative remarks are actually contained in the proposed legislation, although it remains a work in progress that may not be finished before December.

He manifests the perfect qualifications to join the disinformation team of the Hannitys, O’Reillys, and Becks at Fox News, and he could fill in nicely for Rush Limbaugh as a purveyor of false information to influence public opinion against the Democratic Obama Administration.

He says he agrees with Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Ann Coulter who are already calling the reform plan an "evil" piece of legislation. These media folk are regular contributors to Republican efforts to promote failure of President Obama’s health care insurance reform plan. Republican Senator Jim DeMint is in a battle with President Obama. Speaking about health care, Senator DeMint said, "If we are to stop Obama on this, it would be his Waterloo. It will break him."

It seems to me that anyone wanting this president to be a failure when the country is facing its worst financial and economic crisis since 1932, thanks to the failed policies of the Bush Administration, is in serious need of a reality check.

By the way, why hasn’t Beckner written about the virtues of the Republican’s health care reform plan they claim to have, but no one has ever seen? Fact is they have not even bothered to write a comprehensive argument of rebuttal to the Democratic plan the White House distributed in an e-mail on August 11, to clear up myths and explain why health care reform is needed this year. It is so much easier and more effective to spread false information among Americans, causing many of them to believe the plan is flawed and therefore contrary to their best interests.

Tom Spencer

Marion Landing

Response to Beckner

"Beckner’s Partial reading of Health Plan — Disinformation, Misinformation, Lies, and Propaganda"

In response to Beckner’s latest column Aug. 21, 2009, addressing his sentiments (surely not opinions, as opinions are based on a tinge of facts and data) and cited items from "Reading parts of the proposed Health Plan":

Rather than read and respond to an entire section, Beckner has relied on those stalwarts of objective Americanism — Coulter, Huckabee, and Palin, to cherry-pick words and sentences out of context, apply their vituperative interpretation, with Beckner relaying this disinformation to the waiting public. It is beyond belief that anyone, let alone a veteran and retired person who readily accepts socialized benefits and entitlements in the form of Social Security, VA home loans, VA medical, et al, would not want all eligible U.S. citizens to share in a comprehensive Universal Health Care program.

Rather than refute each and every mentioned disinformation item cited in the column, I’ve addressed several of them. (Note that all the items may be rebutted in a like fashion, by simply reading the entire appropriate sections of the document).

Real or Memorex? (Memorex items are from REB’s column).

Memorex 1. Page 29 — lines 4 to 16: Admission, your health care will be rationed.

REAL: This area addresses criteria for maximum co-pays required in a calendar year, not Rationed Health Care, Co-pay limits are standard fare for any insurance program in the galaxy today.

Memorex 2. Page 50 — section 152 — HC will be provided to ALL non U.S. citizens, illegal, or otherwise.

REAL: This part of the bill addresses prohibiting discrimination (you know, race, creed, religion, gender), of individuals COVERED BY THIS ACT (Non U.S. Citizens, and Illegals are NOT covered by this ACT in the same way they are not covered by VA benefits — they don’t meet the criteria) In addition, section 246 states " NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.

Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States."

Memorex 3. Page 341 Lines 3 to 9 — government has authority to disqualify Medicare Adv. Plans, HMO’s, etc. forcing peeps(sic) into government plan.

Real: This section of the document spells out current medical industry accepted criteria, standards, qualitative and quantitative measurements that the government will use to objectively rate the Medicare Advantage Providers. Those ‘hacking’ Medicare Adv Plans that do not meet the threshold established will be disqualified, so that an individual will only have the best providers to select from. (Think of a Consumer Reports guide for autos or washers, this will be a Consumer Reports guide for Medicare Advantage Plans). How does this benefit to consumers force peeps(sic) into a government plan. It is just thinning out the herd of ‘bad’ plans.

Memorex 4. Page 317 to 318, lines 21 to 25 1 to 3 — PROHIBITION on expansion — government is mandating hospitals cannot expand.

Real:  Absolute lie. Hospitals are not PROHIBITED from expanding; rather they follow a process and meet certain criteria in order to expand. Wow, structured, objective, rationale approach. Hardly a PROHIBITION.

Memorex 5. Page 489, Section 1308 — the government will cover marriage and family therapy which means they will insert government into your marriage.

Real: This section ADDS coverage, when, at an individual’s option, decides to go to a state-sanctioned therapist (criteria listed in the section).

How does adding a valued optional benefit, insert government into your marriage?  If one doesn’t want the help, he/she is not mandated by the U.S. government to get assistance. Isn’t government already "inserted" in marriages in the form of licensing, tax brackets, community prop erty laws, ad nauseum?

In summary, anyone can choke partial numbers and words until they confess their ‘opinion’. This selective sampling of distasteful sentences, (in a work-in-process document) leads us to where we’re at today. Rather than providing alternatives, or other options, we hear screaming factoids and propaganda related to non-issues like Death Panels, Full Benefits for Illegal Aliens, and rationed health care, which does not allow us to either have a sane, sensible discourse, or go forward with a universal health care program.   The insurance companies and their profits will embrace this standoff. Maybe that’s where the likes of Palin, Huckabee, Coulter, Limbaugh, and Beckner want to take this issue — Unfettered Insurance Companies ruling the U.S. economy, and placing their bureaucratic minimum wage employees in charge of ‘rationing US of A universal health care’.

Larry D. Spencer

Ocala

Another response

to Beckner

Is the Citizen’s right wing columnist purposely lying about the contents of the proposed health care plan, or is he being misled by others? Either way, the drivel contained in his column of Aug. 21 is almost entirely pure balderdash. He pulls words from numerous pages in the draft bill and attaches bizarre interpretations, some not even related, seemingly intended to mislead readers.

Just a few examples:

On page 29 he claims it says "your health care will be rationed." It doesn’t. In fact, on page 27 lines 10 to 12, it says "...does not impose any annual or lifetime limit on the coverage of covered health care items and services." Virtually all private plans do impose lifetime limits currently.

In section 123 beginning on page 30, he claims a government committee is designated to "decide what benefits and treatment you get." In fact, this committee is to "recommend" (page 32, line 14) benefit standards for each of 3 levels of plans. Paying for a higher level plan will get you more benefits, just as one can now through a private insurer.

He claims on page 85, line 7 indicates rationed care for AARP members. Of course, there is no mention in this section (or likely in the entire bill) about AARP. And this section discusses standards for the benefits to be offered in the 3 levels of plans, with no mention of rationing.

He claims page 50, section 152 says "HC will be provided to ALL non U.S. citizens, illegal or otherwise." Aside from the fact that this statement makes no sense, this section prohibits discrimination in health care, and has nothing to do with non-U.S. citizens or illegal aliens, whom assume he was referring to.

On page 42 it supposedly says that your health care benefits will be chosen for you. Simply put, it does not say anything of the sort.

On page 354 he claims it says the "government will RESTRICT enrollment of special needs people." This section in fact extends a date in the Social Security Act relating to the analysis of plans "with regard to the impact of such plans on cost, quality of care, patient satisfaction and other subjects ..."

He cites lines in various sections of pages 425 to 430, such as "durable powers of attorney mandatory," "government mandates advanced care planning consult," this consult "may include an ORDER for end of life plans," and much more. This is what Palin et al calls the Obama death panel. It actually provides for physicians to be reimbursed for time spent with patients discussing such things as powers of attorney, "creation of an order regarding life sustaining treatment," to "effectively communicate the individual’s preferences regarding life sustaining treatment, including an indication of the treatment and care desired by the individual." Nothing about these consultations is mandatory.

He claims page 65, section 164 describes "payoff subsidized plan for retirees and their families in unions, and community orgs." This section says absolutely nothing about unions or community orgs, but actually relates to the establishment of a temporary reinsurance program.

Page 329 supposedly says the "government will reduce physician services to MEDICAID seniors, low income and poor affected (sic)." Once again, it says nothing of the sort, but describes a study to be undertaken to analyze the geographic distribution of health care professionals and the levels of care provided.

I hope your readers will use their common sense when reading this type of misinformation. If any want to read for themselves what this draft proposal says, it can be easily found on the internet. Just search for "1000 page health care plan."

Bill Tetzlaff

Oak Run

Health System Reform

While the current medical system is ineffective and inefficient, a government run system would be a disaster. We should first address its root cause problems.

Some of my initial suggestions to achieve this are to:

(1) Eliminate the non-value adding activities that are currently mandated by government and the insurance industry within the medical services profession. This is generally paperwork and rules/regulations that waste time/money to comply with and detract from good medical care. It adds no value to improving a patient’s treatment or health.

(2) Reduce insurance costs due to lawsuits against the medical profession. This will, however, require a mandate (law) that the Medical profession/hospitals to do a better job at "policing" their own.

(3) Begin a more effective national program of health fitness, training, and education for everyone to reduce obesity, smoking, and excessive consumption of harmful food. Focus more on prevention than cure. Had I really understood (when I was a youngster) how important nutrition is to my health as I aged, I’m sure I would be a more healthy person today. Improving our eating habits, exercise programs, and food supply to focus on more healthful lifestyle is an absolute necessity.

(4) Present an opposing view on drug company propaganda which touts their expensive drugs. Have the FDA compare and rate drugs according to their efficacy and benefits and publicize them in TV commercials. Specific analytical benefits and tests results (both good and bad) need to be presented in a non-biased manner to the general public. Drug companies only meet legal standards now to protect against lawsuits (often in fine print and hidden from normal public view). In my opinion we have too many mediocre medical professionals who solely rely on drug companies for treatment of "symptons," rather than treat/eliminate the root cause of the illness.

Edward Moherek

Ocala