Letters to the Editor - Sept. 1


Published: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 31, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.

Here's a way to reform health care

A standardized template for all health insurance plans would empower consumers to evaluate competing plans using a standard measure.

The template would make it possible for each health care consumer to retain his insurance plan while changing his insurer. It would likewise permit each consumer to retain his insurer while changing the payer of his plan's premium.

It also would permit the consumer to add or subtract benefits from his existing plan. Finally, it would permit each consumer to have uninterrupted coverage under his own plan even though his payer, his insurer, and the scope of his benefits might change.

The template could be modeled after the Medicaid federal waiver Oregon health plan. This plan's prioritized list of health services has been amended periodically to stay abreast of changing funding levels, projected expenditures and new technologies. This plan could be expanded to a national scale and tiered to suit the various needs of individual consumers.

The template would specify an affordable minimum tier of health benefits. This would permit compliance with benefit mandates and requirements for credible coverage.

In June 2009 the Commonwealth Fund released an issue brief that demonstrates how close federal insurers and state governments are regarding the establishment of a national minimum standard for health benefits.

The template would enable insurers to award incentives that motivate each consumer to improve his own health. This would reduce future health care costs to both the individual and the nation. The template also would allow each individual to retain his doctors and insurer whenever he changes jobs.

This concept may be the turning point that propels our president and our Congress to action. Please join me in bringing this or a better concept to their attention.

Allan March, MD

Gainesville

Taxes, taxes and still more taxes

The County Commission has given you impact fees, increased fees for county services, increased gas taxes at five cents per gallon, increased sales taxes at 12.5 percent to pay for CHOICES and Wild Spaces & Public Places special programs, and finally has indicated its intent to increase (again) your property taxes.

These actions depress the economy, which decreases tax revenues, which require still more taxes, which decreases your standard of living, which depresses the economy again, etc., etc. Get the picture?

Taxes and government spending do not create wealth, but can surely impact yours.

Ah, but you say that an increase in property taxes is no "big deal" because your home and property have lost value and, therefore, the assessment value must have gone down accordingly. Wrong!

Not only has your property assessed value not gone down but has increased. Per the property assessor, if you have a homestead exemption and your property "market" value is greater than your assessed value (like most everyone), then your assessed value will not change but likely increase because of an increase in the Consumer Market Index.

I admit I do not understand what that is. I do know that it is different from the Consumer Price Index, which has decreased, and that it is Alachua County specific. Since it has gone up then your assessed value has gone up accordingly.

It is like adding insult to injury. Bottom line: They got us again.

Ernie Taylor,

Gainesville

Federal oversight threatens the Net

The Sun published a great article Sunday, Aug. 16, on the Internet's influence on the economics of innovation.

I was surprised to see that Congressmen Markey and Eshoo filed the "Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009" earlier this month. The name sounds great, but the bill gives the federal government sweeping power to control Internet providers and regulate the kinds of access that they give to consumers.

As an educator, I depend on the Internet, and as far as I can tell, it has exploded with both use and innovation without a lot of federal oversight, and other than the military, I cannot think of anything that has been improved with more federal oversight.

The Internet is one thing I wish that they would leave alone.

Barbara Fuller,

Gainesville

Sorry, Charlie

Does Charlie Crist think that the people of Florida will not judge him disingenuous for taking time from the governor's office to run for the U.S. Senate in the midst of a medical liability, product liability and homeowners' insurance crisis while hurricane season looms?

Does Charlie think that the people of Florida will not see his appointing his chief of staff to fill the one year Senate vacancy as Charlie appointing himself?

Sorry Charlie.

Fred W. Schert,

Alachua

More to Sowell than just his column

In his Aug. 26 letter titled "Get over it, you lost the election," Kenneth Beal admonished letter writer G. B. Richards because she, in Beal's opinion, "showed an astounding level of ignorance. Murdock and Sowell are conservative columnist."

But Beal, rather than Richards, shows an astounding level of ignorance. Thomas Sowell is not just a conservative columnist but the author of at least 31 books; primarily on economics. Sowell has also taught economics at Howard University, Cornell University, Amherst College, Brandeis University, Rutgers University, and UCLA (see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sowell where the equivalent of 11 printed pages are need to describe Thomas Sowell).

Fredrick P. Peterkin,

Gainesville

Why bury Ted at Arlington?

I just wondered why Ted Kennedy was buried in Arlington National Cemetery when I, along with hundreds of thousands of combat veterans, will not have the privilege.

I served in Vietnam in combat. Why was Ted Kennedy deemed more worthy of being buried at Arlington than I or thousands of others who were in combat?

Robert Coleman,

Trenton

Tax on green lawns is a great idea

Kudos to Ron Cunningham for his Aug. 30 column "The Green Monster." A tax on lawn fertilizer and pesticides is a great idea.

Here in Gainesville, tons of these pollutants wash off our lawns, streets and sidewalks into storm sewers and retention ponds. They are then carried to streams, Paynes Prairie, or directly percolate through our sandy soils into the Florida aquifer.

The result, toxic algae, is not the greening of Florida that we need or want.

Gerald E. Einem,

Gainesville

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