Thursday, August 25, 2011
Letters to the editor

Blue Cross providing an illusion of coverage

I was glad to see the excellent article in The Citizen on the coming Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida (BCBSF) assault on mental health care. Although the title of the article was "Psych rates concerns doctors," the people who should be most concerned are all the policyholders who have Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance. When they actually need services to address common problems like depression, anxiety, or some other psychological problem, they may not be able to find a doctor willing to take their insurance.

As the article pointed out, BCBSF maintains that they are just engaged in increasing productivity, "to deliver additional medical cost savings for its members, BCBSF said it has entered into several vendor relationships, including its new relationship with New Directions."

Indeed, as fewer and fewer doctors accept BCBS payment, fewer and fewer patients will be able to access care. As fewer and fewer people make claims to their BCBS insurance company, money will indeed be saved for the insurance company, but at what cost to the insured?

The policyholder who thought he or she enjoyed the benefits of health insurance will be left only with the shock of an unpleasant reality; they only enjoyed the illusion of having health insurance. It's really an insidious, hidden way to ration health care.

As your article rightly pointed out, only mental health issues are being targeted by these cuts. Other kinds of treatment will certainly be on the cutting block soon. I'm writing this letter to encourage every BCBS policyholder to contact BCBS and/or their human resources director to demand that BCBS stop their cruel attack on those in need of psychological care. Insurance is supposed to insure, not create the illusion of insurance.

Stephen A. Ragusea Psy.D.

Key West

There are many lessons computers can't teach

I don't mean to be cruel, but Jeffrey Page appears to be a tad disingenuous, and his letter to the editor claiming that computers can replace teachers is completely ridiculous.

OK. I must admit that I am a teacher, so take my opinion with whatever grains of salt that you feel it merits. Mr. Page claims that both he and his daughter studying for her master's are being well served by computers. Perhaps it is so. However, I would like to point out that in both his and his daughter's cases, they are able to use the computer because some elementary school teachers taught them to read. I challenge any computer to do a better job of teaching reading than an educated, professional and caring teacher.

I am sure that his education must be lacking, despite those teachers, or he would know that socialization is also a major contribution of every teacher to every child's education. The world is already way too impersonal. How many of us actually enjoy the computer voices that answer every phone call that we make to large companies like our cable companies or our cellphone providers? Do we really want to replace teachers with that same cold impersonal and aggravating mechanization?

I think not. My elementary school principal, who stood taller than any man though he sat in his wheelchair, taught me to be a second-miler -- to strive in life and to be the best that I could be. His message is clear as a bell to me still and has been an inspiration to live by.

Not even the best computer can do that.

Laurine Laxer

Key West

Our nation's defeat is coming from within

For more days than we can count, Bin Laden sat and stared at the wall on the opposite side of his cave. He knew there must be a way to beat the Great Satan.

After many years of seeking this particular piece of wisdom, it dawned on him that maybe he was looking at it from the wrong direction. There was no way he would ever have the power to defeat the United States, but the United States had such power. It looks like he may have won after all.

Bridget Lynch

Sugarloaf Key