Health care law disadvantages physician pay
A recent letter lauded Medicare Advantage programs. The writer stated that he switched from Anthem to Humana Choice to save money and was able to keep all his physicians.
He's fortunate. Many Medicare Advantage patients are receiving letters from their physicians notifying them of termination from Humana's Choice program. Why? Because Humana lowered fees for some physicians to rates below "regular" Medicare.
Selected specialties were notified of this decrease in September. Our practice attempted to negotiate with Humana — without success — on the grounds that it is not appropriate to ask physicians to care for Medicare patients for less than Medicare fees — especially when insurance companies are paid more than Medicare rates to enroll those patients.
Advantage programs represent zero advantages for physicians — more work for the same fees as Medicare is a net loss for us. When the fees drop below Medicare, it's time to reevaluate just where the advantage lies.
This blow to Medicare Advantage is just the first seniors and the rest of us will see as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act.
The commercial insurance companies are squeezing every dollar they can from every line of business because, like everyone, they have no idea what's coming with the next open enrollment, but they know it won't be that "$2,500 per family premium savings" President Barack Obama promised.
What is most tragic about Wal-Mart coming to Versailles is the location at South Main Street and Troy Pike.
Our south entrance to town should be the last place for future retail use. We have three empty retail centers now. A super Kroger will move across the street leaving yet another vacant center, as K-Mart will close its doors. Versailles recently annexed the farmland from Paddock subdivision toward the Bluegrass Parkway for future business growth.
The Versailles Road corridor, leading into town from Lexington, has already been approved as the location for future retail and business development.
Why does Versailles need another retail zone that will create a traffic nightmare?
Downtown Main Street traffic is already at a standstill during the morning rush and afternoons. Imagine the new traffic patterns through downtown with everyone converging on South Main Street. Montgomery Avenue will now be a highway for both Kroger and Wal-Mart shoppers.
Imagine Main Street as a four-lane highway. Imagine the noise and congestion for South Main Street and side street homeowners. Forget the bike lanes. What were our city planners thinking?
And then the sharp curve at the Sturbridge entrance that will need to be straightened and a traffic light added. And, yes, more traffic lights on Main Street at the Southside Elementary entrance and the Helmsley subdivision.
The traffic issues need to be addressed now, before it becomes a matter of life and death.
Growth needs thoughtful planning and a healthy dose of common sense.
Smothered by cash
Would Chief Justice John Roberts and his libertarian colleagues on the U.S. Supreme Court strike down the mine safety laws? Just consider their decisions to strike down campaign finance laws in cases like McCutcheon v. FEC.
In that case, Roberts and colleagues decided that the government should not be allowed to protect the free speech of ordinary citizens from the big-spender monopolization of our election campaigns.
Maybe they would be more interested in ordinary citizens if they saw free speech as a public conversation. Remember that our founders described free speech as a "discourse." As Justice Louis D. Brandeis (Kentucky native) would write in the 20th century, "they valued liberty both as an end and as a means."
But, Roberts and colleagues would rather see free speech as an object like a bar of soap. They want to keep it as pure as a bar of Ivory soap.
Government censorship would pollute it. Everyone knows that. The problem is that Roberts and colleagues consider any government action to be censorship.
So, they ignore the function of our campaign finance laws. These laws are about access to the means of free speech. The point of limiting the spending of big-spenders is to save some space for ordinary citizens who might otherwise be suffocated under heaps of big-spender cash. What is free speech without voices?
Just as Roberts and colleagues confuse campaign finance laws with censorship today, tomorrow they might also confuse mine safety laws with restraint of trade.
Not all cancer is pink
Although not as much press is given to brain cancer, May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month. Every year, thousands of children and adults are diagnosed with primary brain cancer. "Primary" means the cancer/tumor originated in the brain and will not spread to other organs in the body. At this time, there is no known cause of brain cancer, and no cure. A diagnosis of malignant brain cancer is terminal.
There are 120 types of brain tumors, the worst and most common is glioblastoma multiforme with an average survival rate of 12 to 17 months. Some, like my husband, only make it a few months. A common brain cancer in children is diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, which has an average survival time of 12 to 14 months.
Brain cancer receives only four percent of the National Institute of Health's research budget. Let's make "Go Gray in May" as well known as the annual breast cancer campaign. Cancer is not always pink. Wear gray in May for the warriors still fighting and for those who battled so valiantly.
Tracie Abbott Langley
Voter ID no burden
This letter is in response to a May 9 letter writer who implied that the "Republican Tea Party" wants to "suppress the voting rights of minorities and the poor" by requiring an ID. In our times everyone needs an ID for numerous reasons, and one can easily be obtained in order to vote. People requiring food stamps, disability relief, Medicaid, admittance to an emergency care center and even to obtain a bus pass require an ID.
So let's stop making excuses for minorities and the poor for not being able to obtain an ID card which they can easily get at the circuit court clerk's office.
Just a note of caution for anyone using the new spiral (compact fluorescent) light bulbs. I turned on a lamp, one I have used for many years, containing a spiral bulb. After a few minutes the lamp was blinking and I tightened the bulb, but it still blinked so I checked the cord, which was fine. Then it faded out and I saw a small light and then smoke. I quickly removed the bulb. It was starting to burn at the stem attached to the base.
If I had not been there or had walked away, this could have easily turned into a bad situation. Have there ever been any warnings about this flaw? Now I am concerned about the rest I use in my home.