Be wary of advisers
In 1969 Puerto Rico Gov. Luis A. Ferre’s newly elected administration established an agency for providing motorists with affordable automobile insurance. The agency collected premiums automatically through the yearly license-renewal process. The funds collected were used to pay for medical/hospital care of injured patients and damage repair for autos. The medical/hospital care was contracted by the agency with providers that agreed with the agency’s terms. The system was a complete success with little, if any, fraud. The funds obtained exceeded the need for the first few years, and a trust was created to continue paying for services several more years.
How different this is from the chaos Hillsborough County set up with its recent foiled attempt to control the results of its ill-conceived auto “insurance” system.
As a physician with 50 years’ experience dealing with Medicare, Medicaid and the PR auto insurance agency, I was unpleasantly surprised when the county commission bent over backward to please the auto insurance industry, supposedly to “rid the county of pain clinics thought to be tied to staged-accident fraud.” As a provider, I was well aware of many “rotten apples” populating the system, but as a former Medicare fraud and abuse investigator, I am aware you don’t dump the entire apple cart to get rid of a few rotten ones.
That’s what is wrong with the commissioners’ attempt to fix one problem — they created another. Next time, don’t rely on insurance industry wolves to advise you on issues very dear to their bank accounts.
Luis S. Miranda
Since the 1960s a pandemic of well-meaning social welfare policies has promoted generations of single-parent households by financially rewarding unwed mothers for each additional child in a permanent welfare underclass whose clientele world view is “gaming the system” for access to free communal health and human services. This parallel society flourishes in substandard public housing and blighted neighborhoods where criminal conduct is the norm, and are further victimized with bad schools and venal spokesmen more interested in their own financial aggrandizement than helping the clientele they are supposed to help.
The narrative of this tragedy is exacerbated when parallel societies become a substantial percentage of the metropolitan population, draining communal budgets to finance increasing needed free services. When cities raise taxes it motivates businesses, homeowners and others to flee to the suburbs, causing the tax base to shrink until the social fabric of the metropolitan area financially implodes.
James J. Harkins IV
Sun City Center
A difficult future
This is in response to Anna Cooke’s letter “When love is not a sustainable commodity” (Letter of the Day, Aug. 12) seeking help about the challenges families face in taking care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease:
There are many local services that can assist her. She can call the West Coast Central Area Agency on Aging. She can contact Hillsborough County Department of Aging Services. She can log on to Senior Information Resources. And there are many care-giving services listed on the Web and in the Yellow Pages.
These are experts who can assist her with advice so she can make an educated choice for her mother. In addition to supplying information, these agencies can provide services.
The future will be difficult. As a psychotherapist specializing in gerontology, I am aware of the problems she will be facing. Hopefully, she will get the answers and help she needs.
A legislative void
State Sen. Paula Dockery — gone.
State Rep. Mike Fasano — gone.
Will there be any voices of reason remaining in the Senate or the House?
Saving felines’ lives
As the nation’s experts on Trap-Neuter-Return, my organization knows firsthand thousands of veterinarians who have seen the light and fully embrace TNR as the only effective course of action for outdoor cats.
Hillsborough County has two of the oldest and most established TNR programs in the country — at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay and the Animal Coalition of Tampa. These organizations established low-cost, high-quality spay/neuter clinics that have together neutered and vaccinated more than 40,000 feral cats.
Since the clinics opened, the cat intake number at Hillsborough County Animal Services has dropped by more than 9,000 each year. The success of these programs encouraged Hillsborough County commissioners to adopt a TNR pilot plan earlier this year that can save the lives of 4,000 cats. Nationwide, more than 330 municipalities endorse TNR, and an ever-growing number of veterinarians are making room in their practices to treat feral cats or volunteer with high-volume spay/neuter and vaccination clinics, recognizing that ending the breeding cycle is the only way to stabilize and eventually reduce the population. During TNR, the cats are always vaccinated.
Resorting to scare tactics to frighten communities away from TNR is a major step backward for Hillsborough County after so many years of success with this innovative and compassionate program.
The writer is president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies.