Letters to the Editor

How the Patient Savings Act will work

Healthcare costs continue to rise, squeezing personal budgets and threatening the finances of many Floridians. Working with Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Legislature passed major healthcare reforms, like the Patient Savings Act, that arm patients with information about healthcare costs and quality and provide new tools to save money.

Whenever we buy something, we know the price in advance. Health care is the notable exception. Weeks after a procedure, we finally receive a statement telling us what the procedure cost, what our insurer paid, and what we still owe. The reality is that the cost of many non-emergency procedures varies widely.

Floridians are frustrated by the complicated world of healthcare pricing. That is why I sponsored the Patient Savings Act, HB 1113, to give Floridians the right to know the cost of care and put money in their pocket when they select a high-quality, lower-cost procedure.

Here’s how it works: 1) search online for the procedure you need; 2) review all options for cost and quality; 3) select a high-quality, lower cost option; and, 4) receive a guaranteed portion of the savings. Those savings may come through a reduction in your premiums or a cash payment into a tax-free account, like a Health Savings Account that you control. It’s that simple.

Patients can pursue these savings for a wide range of non-emergency, healthcare services, including inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures, clinical laboratory services, infusion therapy, OB/GYN care, telehealth, radiology and imaging services, physical and occupational therapy, outpatient nonsurgical diagnostics tests and procedures, and prescription drugs.

For too long, we have been denied information about the cost and quality of our healthcare. .

The Patient Savings Act will empower all of us by providing the information we need to save money on our healthcare.

State Rep. Paul Renner,

R-Palm Coast

Florida Legislature

Stop the Russians

There is no question that the Russians interfered in our elections.

There is a question of whether President Trump and/or his campaign turned a blind eye, if not courted it. We have ample committees and time to look into that issue.

Here is what troubles me: There seems to be no committees that are looking into not letting it happen again.

We can determine Trump’s guilt or innocence at some point, but those events happened in the past.

We can’t afford to wait to take steps to prevent the interference in the not-so-distant future; especially in light of Trump’s open invitation to the world to meddle.

As there is no interest or guidance from the White House on this matter, it’s incumbent upon Congress to take the initiative to protect our democracy.

Robert Squier


ABLE Act passage

I’ve seen the value that federal benefits can provide to individuals with disabilities. But, assistance, such as Medicaid, also puts limitations on the beneficiary — more specifically, a $2,000 asset limit.

Florida was a leader in the passing of the ABLE Act, which allowed for the creation of ABLE United.

Now, individuals with disabilities, including my 5-year-old daughter living with sickle cell anemia, can save for the future as opposed to spending down savings just to ensure that SSI or Medicaid isn’t interrupted.

But, for individuals receiving Medicaid, there’s been one obstacle left to overcome. Federal law allows for a state to file a claim for Medicaid expenditures from an ABLE account when a beneficiary passes away.

Thanks to our state Legislature and governor, legislation was just signed into law to clarify that all outstanding funds in an ABLE United account, after Qualified Disability Expenses are paid, go to the beneficiary’s estate.

Simply put, ABLE United account owners will no longer be treated differently than any other individual who receives Medicaid.

The community of individuals with disabilities have dreams, too, that should not be limited by the fear of losing important government benefits.

Jessica LeConte

North Miami Beach

Death camps

I think Craig R. Weiner’s letter about U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s comment that the would-be immigrant facilities resemble concentration camps was an overreaction (“Ocasio-Cortez’s comments about concentration camps insensitive,” June 19.)

Nobody is saying that the people at the border are being treated as horribly as Jews were by the Nazis.

However, the facilities do resemble a concentration camp: They are overcrowded, badly furnished and like prisons.

That they are not death camps or torture facilities does not mean they are not deplorable.

Unfortunately, there have been far too many varieties of concentration camps, from the Boer War to Soviet Russia, that were terrible places, but not as bad as Auschwitz and the rest of the Nazi camps.

Even the Nazis, I think, did not at first systematically murder the inmates in their camps.

I believe that mutation occurred after World War II started.

The congresswoman might be indulging in hyperbole in calling these immigration facilities concentration camps, but they have do resemble other concentration camps throughout world history since 1900.

John Countryman,


‘War pigs’

In regards to the Herald’s recent article about the best protests song ever:

I think the greatest protest song about the Vietnam War will always be Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.”

Richard Russell,


Off and running

President Trump campaign raised $24.8 million in less than 24 after his Orlando speech.

It appears as though he is aiming for a “hole-in-one” in the state of Florida.

Not only would it ensure 29 electoral votes, but it would also increase his chances of being re-elected.

Come Nov. 3, 2020, we shall see if Trump can make it through the rough. But just between you and me, let’s hope he gets caught in a sand trap.

JoAnn Lee Frank,


Who’s a huckster?

Re the Miami Herald’s description in the June 19 editorial, “Trump is back on the trail; Dems need a plan,” which calls the president a “huckster:”

If a Democratic candidate were to attract the same size crowd with the same level of enthusiasm as Trump did in Orlando Tuesday night, the Herald Editorial Board would gush that he or she was “charismatic.”

The Herald predicted he would never win and remains blind to his many successes.

Michael P. Gable,


Great letter

Sheila Gewirtzman’s June 19 letter, “We Americans,” regarding the state of our democracy since 2016, deserves to be printed in every newspaper in the country.

She details precisely the toxicity within the Senate and the executive branch.

My words cannot express how appreciative I am of her.

Marshall Sober,

Bay Harbor Islands

June grass

In her June 19 column, “Florida’s Emerald Coast: icky June grass, Matt Gaetz fans,” Fabiola Santiago wants us to know that she is sufficiently well-educated so as not to be a “backward” person.

How serendipitous, then, for her to find herself on a Gulf of Mexico beach in the heat of June and being surprised about the conditions during summer months.

As the ranger explained to all the non-backward visitors at Henderson Beach State Park, “Every beach has some June grass ... It’s June. That’s why it’s called June grass.”

Deborah Stokkan

Sunny Isles Beach

Camp description

In his June 19 letter, “Ocasio-Cortez’s comments about concentration camps insensitive,” Craig R. Weiner comments were an overreaction.

He says that her comments were absurd and hurtful. Really?

It appears that he thinks that the times that we live now in America have no parallels to Germany, with Hitler as a messianic figure.

Weiner for furthering a wedge issue.

Al Lopez Jr.



With regards to President Trump officially announcing his re-election bid at a frenzied rally in Orlando yesterday, I can't help but note the symbolism. He planted the seed for Trump 2020 in the largest garden of make-believe, the home of Disney World.

Mark Elman