Letters to the editor: April 22

A call for better health care for taxpayers

EDITOR, THE BANNER

What is the reality of health care? Is it a market driven “health care industry” or a patient driven system based upon patient needs in all categories? Answer, it is clearly a market industry driven dysfunctional system that is driven by the bottom line not patient needs. It needs major surgery. Insurance companies are making the real decisions.

The lack of primary care physicians is not from lack of need but the presence of greed that makes money the in-centive rather than the irrefutable evidence that primary care doctors and professionals are immediately needed to keep the cost of escalading health care affordable, even for the government. Go to the Emergency Room should no longer be an option for us taxpayers.

The cost of health care has risen 117 percent in 10 years. A close friend recently had an operation performed at a local hospital and the bill sent to Medicare and his insurance was $100,000 for one overnight without the cost for the doctors.

He said that could have gone to India, and then to Macao and gambled, stayed overnight, and flew home for less money. Of course, you and I pay Medicare from our taxes.

By the way, many foreign doctors are on surgery staffs at major hospitals.

I wish these physicians that write the articles for the Banner would write about the cost to stay there and publish a price list for us to examine rather than tell us about “patient satisfaction.” For $100,000 for one night, you bet I want to be satisfied.

Medicare fraud amounts to about $80 billion a year. I wish the hospitals, doctors and professionals get behind the government to help stamp it out. Then we can talk about “uncompensated care” that they talk about every time one mentions their alleged cost to stay open.

Politics and health care remind me of an old familiar parable my father used to tell about a man going across the border all the time with real smelly yard waste in a wheelbarrow. The border guards were convinced he was smuggling something and always checked the waste even with the smell because they were convinced he was smuggling something valuable.

He was never caught. Many years later he retired a financially comfortable man, and it dawned on the border guards that he had been smuggling wheelbarrows.

The next time you read articles written by the experts describing the state of health care, think about the wheel barrels.

PS: I spent 10 years as Director of Security at a major health care facility/medical center hospital and spent some years as Chief Investigator of Professional Licensing for a state.

RICHARD A. FERREIRA,

Bonita Springs City Councilman

Cuba sanctions and Social Security

I keep hearing, “It’s time to end sanctions against Cuba,” and I agree. However, we must first revise our Social Security SS laws,. There will be a swarm of extended families migrating to the US. Those over 65 years of age will go on SS immediately. Those that are sick will receive free health care. Others will receive many other forms of public assistance or housing. To avoid the bankrupting of our SS system prematurely why not revert back to the original immigration rules like those used at Ellis Island. There were quotas. And resident citizen must vouch for an immigrant so that they are not a burden to our social systems. If you didn’t pay into SS you don’t get anything out of it. If you are sick you don’t get into our country. It seems logically correct to me. We don’t need more depletion of our SS funds by non payers. We don’t need more contagious diseases here. Then we can save some funds for the rebuilding of Cuba’s infrastructure which I predict will follow normalization of relations.

JOHN PICCOLO,

Estero,

Incorporation considerations

Lee County recently sent out what amounts to an “APB” to its existing cities to find out what adjoining areas they wished to annex. This has opened up Pandora’s Box and an unfolding drama that may take upwards of ten years to complete. So far, directly or indirectly, the City of Ft. Myers has declared its ambitions to annex the tax rich areas south down to Daniels Parkway and the City of Bonita Springs likewise has similar ambitions to annex land north in Estero up to Williams Road. The primary reasons for doing this are obvious. It will strengthen their base of power while enhancing their tax revenues in the process. So what’s the message? First it means that Lee County must increase its taxes on all the land in between as a result of its dwindling tax base. Second, all the homeowners in the proposed annexed areas might become a bit upset for having an alien power covet what they believed to be their territory. Neither of these two options may be looked upon favorably by the affected residents; including those in this newly created no-man’s land that becomes adrift without portfolio and with no voice to protect their interests.

To further complicate the problem, the two-mile state imposed barrier between the northern boundary of Bonita Springs and Williams Road in Estero, created by some murky state legislative process, threatens Estero residents to incorporate the very land it has for years been led to believe was theirs. Meanwhile, the communities of San Carlos Park and Lehigh Acres, possibly seeing themselves being squeezed may follow up on their past initiatives and aggressively pursue incorporation. Should that occur, Estero will be surrounded by three two-mile barriers thwarting its own cityhood. This could forever relegate Estero to be part of this no-man’s land and its subservience to the taxing demands of a county government that has no alternative but to raise additional revenues.

Two things are on their way to happen in the near future. Bonita will attempt to either annex Estero’s land outright or initially assess the willingness of Estero citizens to do so. Should the Bonita City Council determine that a positive vote is not forthcoming, it will patiently wait for residents of Estero to incrementally absorb the county’s additional tax burden. Then, with Estero’s people sufficiently “softened up”, Estero is expected to welcome Bonita’s overtures, with the final stage set for the annexation sometime within the next five to ten years.

Remember, this will not occur overnight and from within an intrigue that only a Shakespeare could do true justice. Lust for power, greed, territorial imperatives and predominant egos all will be exposed as this process unfolds. All that’s left out is sex.

LARRY NEWELL,

Estero

Shark chumming concerns

Over the past month we residents have seen an alarming practice of chumming or baiting sharks along the north end of Bonita Beach. Bait attached to a line is taken by kayak out into the Gulf, the line returned to shore, and the “fisherman” on the shore then waits for the shark to bite. It may appear like a great opportunity to see a shark up close and personal, but the long term result will be drawing these creatures closer and closer to our beautiful beaches endangering swimmers of all ages. Can you imagine the effect the presence of sharks on Bonita Beach will have on tourism? Just wait until the first injury.

Chumming sharks by boat out in the Gulf of Mexico may be legal, however, the on-shore practice now being used should be outlawed immediately.

KATHIE AND AL ECKLOFF,

Bonita Beach

It adds up, not down

The pronouncements of politicians and bureaucrats are often surreal, but I couldn’t let one I read in a recent news story go by without comment.

The Naples City Council voted 5-2 to “ease budget woes” by “adjusting” its fiscal 2010 tax rate to the rollback rate. In light of a projected 15 percent decrease in home values (it’s probably more), this translates to a property tax increase.

Let’s see: our home values have decreased dramatically; our investment accounts have lost 20 to 50 percent; our projected national debt has tripled from a year ago; we’re a nation in recession; and in this unquestionably dire financial atmosphere, the Naples City Council chips in with a proposed property tax increase.

Now here comes the comment: Naples Finance Director Ann Marie Ricardi proclaimed in the article that the rollback rate vote “isn’t considered a tax increase,” even though residents could be paying more in property taxes next year.

Now that’s surreal! If City Council has its way, Naples homeowners will wind up paying more taxes next year. But I’m sure they’ll be comforted knowing that the extra cash they shell out in tough times is “not really a tax increase.”

The Naples City Council members should hang their collective heads in shame for even thinking of raising people’s property taxes in these times.

DOUG MCINTOSH,

Bonita Springs

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