Letters to the editor on Medicare reimbursements, racist rhetoric, soda calories, drug prices

11/26/2012 12:00 AM

11/23/2012 5:15 PM

Seniors can’t have it both ways

Medicare reimbursements are continually being cut, which results in more doctors and hospitals refusing to take Medicare. It does not come close to covering costs for procedures.

Seniors may insist that Medicare be untouched by budget cuts, but what good does that do when providers refuse to take Medicare patients? Lest we forget, there’s another possible 30 percent in Medicare cuts to providers looming.

Medicare’s unfunded liability is huge, growing faster and costing more than anticipated. Seniors want both the best health care and limited costs. But with low reimbursements, we’re going to have fewer – if any – choices of providers.



Racist rhetoric

A student in my class at a local community college asked me to define a word for her. To my shock and dismay, the word was “spic.”

I asked her where she had heard that word. Sadly, she told me that a customer where she works did not want to go through her line because he did not want to deal with a “spic.”

It broke my heart to have to tell her that the word, which she had not heard until that moment, was a derogatory term for a Latino person. It did not take long for my sadness to turn to anger. This sweet, kind, beautiful young woman did not deserve to be treated in such a degrading way.

I would like to propose that if and when we hear this blatant type of racist remark, we call out the person using it. Whether it is a stranger out in public or a friend or even a family member, let the person know that it is offensive and unacceptable. Whether it is spoken aloud or appears in an e-mail or on Facebook, it needs to be made clear that we don’t want any part of it.

That is the very least we can do to stop racist rhetoric.



Don’t blame soda

A column by Drs. Oz and Roizen overlooked some important points (“How to break up with your sweet soda,” Nov. 20 Healthy Living). Science supports that obesity is not uniquely caused by any single food or beverage.

Sugar-sweetened beverages contribute about 7 percent of calories in the average American’s diet – meaning 93 percent come from other sources. Furthermore, full-calories soda sales declined by 12.5 percent between 1999 and 2010 – yet obesity rates continued to climb during the same period. Clearly, soda is not driving obesity.

We are committed to being part of meaningful solutions to reduce obesity. Through our national school beverage guidelines, we’ve reduced beverage calories shipped to schools by 90 percent between 2004 and the end of the 2009-10 school year. In the marketplace, providing more low- and no-calorie beverages helped drive a 23 percent reduction in average calories per serving since 1998. Another initiative is placing clear calorie labels on the front of every can, bottle and pack we produce. These efforts will have real impact.


Executive director

Kansas Beverage Association


Check prices

My dachshund, Gretel, has been on phenobarb since she was a puppy. For some years I’ve purchased the prescription at one pharmacy: 200 pills, 30 milligrams, for less than $30. About six months ago the price jumped to $80.46. I was shocked but was told they were having trouble getting phenobarb.

Well, Gretel had to have it. I bought it and forgot it. Then three months later – the same price, the same shock and foolishly I paid it. But when I got home I did call another pharmacy. It didn’t have 30 milligrams. It carries 32.4 milligrams, 200 for $25.49. Close enough, with about $55 difference.

This kind of shocking price difference is probably happening in many prescriptions, certainly not just for dogs. Please learn from my folly. Wherever you fill your prescription, if you find the price too high, check with other pharmacies.



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