Letters: Medicare cuts a bad sign for both doctors and patients

As Republicans prepare to take control of the House of Representatives in a few weeks, many prominent members of the party are calling for reduced federal spending on Social Security and Medicare.
As Republicans prepare to take control of the House of Representatives in a few weeks, many prominent members of the party are calling for reduced federal spending on Social Security and Medicare.

It won’t be long before Medicare patients won’t be able to find doctors or even get tests for health conditions. A new federal law is reducing Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals next year by 4.5%.

Republicans have stated they want to use leverage in debt ceiling talks to reduce Social Security and Medicare even further and the program is expected to be insolvent by 2028. Today I received my latest Medicare Summary notice. I saw my gastroenterologist for my fatty liver disease to go over my ultrasound results and bloodwork. The ultrasound charge is $400 and Medicare paid $92. The statement didn’t include the charge or payment for the office visit.

I also saw my primary care doctor to check my A1C for diabetes. The charge was $345, Medicare paid $111. I'm not suggesting full charge is reasonable but if funding is cut for Medicare (or the politicians let it go insolvent in 2028), patients like me won’t be able to find doctors as they won’t be able to afford to treat Medicare patients with further reduced payouts.

A primary doctor that gets $101 for an office visit can’t keep their doors open for that. An ultrasound machine is expensive technology, and Medicare paid $92 for its use. They can’t afford to have that machine at that rate.

Doug Diamond, Mandarin

Lear could explain more

In his Nov. 27 column, Norman Lear mentions numerous things that have happened in his lifetime as being part of our shared history (good and bad).

Maybe Mr. Lear could explain to me, for example, why anything related to the Confederacy needs to be removed from history and taken down from display. It seems that the only things allowed to be discussed and on display belong to the progressive left. Our history is what it is, good or bad. Put it in the proper context and teach it — don't remove it from our thinking.

I believe that all people, all ways of life and all religions should be able to coexist. What I don't agree with is that we should all accept them as mainstream. Live your life as you see fit — just don't expect me to change my core beliefs to suit yours.

John Grassell, Orange Park

Supporters cheer after the race is called for incumbent Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis during an election night party in Tampa on Nov. 8.
Supporters cheer after the race is called for incumbent Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis during an election night party in Tampa on Nov. 8.

Dems wrong on DeSantis

I take exception to a Nov. 26 letter writer who called "much" of Ron Desantis' base "racists" and "white nationalists."

Overall, voters of all races turned out in record numbers, with a big increase in Hispanics supporting DeSantis. Authoritarian? I don’t think so. Standing up to insane federal government mandates on COVID and education doesn't make him authoritarian — in my view, it makes him on the side of right, and the vast majority of Florida citizens appear to support his stances.

Gerrymandering congressional districts to favor Republicans? Excuse me, but Democrats have been doing that for decades; in fact, they invented it.

It seems to me that the left can't stand how popular DeSantis is in Florida. I can hardly wait to hear all the whining when he becomes our next president.

John Reinheimer, Fleming Island

A plane pulling a banner saying "Put Monuments Back" and flying a Confederate flag circled TIAA Bank Field ahead of Sunday's NFL game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
A plane pulling a banner saying "Put Monuments Back" and flying a Confederate flag circled TIAA Bank Field ahead of Sunday's NFL game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

DeSantis silent (again)

Gov. Ron DeSantis has again demonstrated his political agility as sycophant-in-chief. This time, he used silence to pander to those who displayed the Confederate battle flag at the Jaguars game on Nov. 27. Even after 24 hours, he still had not joined Mayor Curry in condemning this display of divisiveness by the self-proclaimed Southern Heritage Society.  

Apparently, he hopes that the rest of the voting public won’t notice his craven cowardice. It is a tightrope walk. His potential rivals for the 2024 presidential nomination, like Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, have stuck to their principles.

Steve Entman, Jacksonville

Hollie and Tony Hemmerly are shown in portrait with their almost 18-month old daughter, Charlotte. She has Trisomy 18, a chromosomal disorder that causes a range of developmental delays and physical abnormalities. "She's changed our lives for the better," Hollie said.
Hollie and Tony Hemmerly are shown in portrait with their almost 18-month old daughter, Charlotte. She has Trisomy 18, a chromosomal disorder that causes a range of developmental delays and physical abnormalities. "She's changed our lives for the better," Hollie said.

A medical leap of faith

What an inspiring article for Thanksgiving, the Nov. 24 story about little Charlotte by Beth Reese Cravey. The Hemmerly family are truly showing their love, faith and dedication for Charlotte, who has a chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 18.

Also inspiring are the medical professionals who are helping the Hemmerlys with such loving care for their little one. In our culture today, it seems that so many doctors are quick to prescribe abortion for babies with serious disorders.

Thank God for families like the Hemmerlys.

Ted St. Martin, Jacksonville

Featuring state-of-the-art immersion screens and other amenities, the VyStar SkyScape will be the centerpiece of the Jacksonville Zoo's new entrance.
Featuring state-of-the-art immersion screens and other amenities, the VyStar SkyScape will be the centerpiece of the Jacksonville Zoo's new entrance.

Thumbs up for zoo upgrades

It's great that the zoo is receiving funding from VyStar for a new entrance, as reported in a Nov. 15 cover story. Now is the time for our zoo to reestablish its unique dock, so that patrons can arrive via the St. Johns River Taxi.

How many zoos in the country can claim such a beautiful and unique entrance?

Susan Aaron, Jacksonville 

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Proposed Medicare changes could mean trouble for doctors and patients