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NY has better way with medical bills

A patient with a medical bill.

A patient with a medical bill. Credit: AP / Don Petersen

How to stop carnage worse than Vietnam

About 58,000 American soldiers died in the Vietnam War. Back then, people were out in mass, protesting in the streets against the war and how awful it was that Americans were dying. We now have thousands of Americans dying every week from the virus. Yet it seems to be too much trouble for some people to wear a mask to end this carnage. I just don’t understand. This virus needs us as a host to survive and spread. If we, as a united people, prevented the virus from entering or exiting our bodies by religiously wearing a mask in public for the next three months, we might kill it off. Winning a war that is killing Americans every day is just that simple. I am ashamed of our government and even more ashamed of the self-centered, selfish people who choose not to wear a mask to save fellow Americans. They may be living in a free country, but they are not patriotic — having no interest in helping their own country that they claim to love.

Bill Cicio, Massapequa Park

Disease a threat around the globe

The COVID-19 devastation has been pervasive around the world. Diseases pose a serious threat to the national security of our country; therefore, action must be taken now to mitigate future threats. The COVID-19 virus has disrupted our economic productivity while presenting future global issues. This pandemic could push nearly 500 million more people into poverty around the world, leading to possible future global crises. It should be our responsibility, as citizens of the world’s most prosperous nation, to lead in combating this pandemic and mitigating the threat of future viruses. Since it has been a struggle to combat COVID-19 in this country and other Western nations, one could only imagine the difficulties facing Third World countries in mitigating the consequences of this pandemic. For instance, Africa carries more than 23% of the world’s disease burden while accounting for only 1% of global health expenditures.

Matthew St. Jeanos, Massapequa

Editor’s note: The writer is an intern with The Borgen Project, a political advocacy group dedicated to ending world poverty.

NY has better way with medical bills

As an oral surgeon with nearly three decades in practice, I am horrified when I hear stories from patients who have received unexpected and costly medical bills \[“End surprise bills after hospital stays,” Letters, July 20\]. “Surprise medical bills” occur when health insurers fail to adequately reimburse medical providers and hospitals for the lifesaving, life-sustaining and medically necessary care they provide. This typically happens when providers are considered “out of network” by a patient’s insurance company. Providers are often left to pursue litigation to recoup their costs and/or seek payment from patients who subsequently receive a surprise medical bill. This system is broken and weighted far too heavily in favor of large health insurance companies. Indeed, what is the point of health insurance if medical providers, hospitals and patients are unable to rely upon it when needed most? Congress is considering a number of fixes, including, unfortunately, rate-setting. Rate-setting would give insurance companies every incentive to minimize their provider networks and terminate or fail to renew provider contracts. Rate-setting is designed to maximize insurance company profits on the backs of patients and providers. New York State utilizes a better, alternative arbitration approach called Independent Dispute Resolution that protects patients from financial harm.

Dr. Keith Fisher,

Smithtown

When will someone stand up to Trump?

As protests against our entrenched racism rage on, we are forced to witness what I see as President Donald Trump’s warped worldview. Attempting to ensure his reelection, he is inflicting damage daily in ways that will be hard to repair. And virtually no one seems able or willing to stop him, to step up and say, “Enough!” to this would-be dictator. Trump’s enablers and sycophants in Congress, including our own legislator, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), seem OK with all that’s being done. When will they have the courage to counter him and stop this assault on our Constitution? Before we become a police state, with no functioning media and no more rights, with every move dictated by the military, we need every Republican representative and senator to take a long, hard look at what’s happening, and their part in it. Zeldin, are you listening? What’s happening to the country you want to leave to your children?

Lee Ann Silver, Shoreham

If the math does fit, he shouldn’t quit

So a Long Island Rail Road car repairman made $218,887 in overtime on top of his $78,832 salary \[“LIRR workers top list of OT pay with MTA,” News, June 25\]. Let’s do some math: $78,832 a year equals $37.90 per hour, assuming a 40-hour workweek for 52 weeks, or 2,080 hours per year; $37.90 at time-and-a-half comes to $56.85 per hour in overtime pay. To make $218,887 in overtime, one would have to work slightly more than 3,850 hours of overtime in a year. If a person works 2,080 hours a year at straight time and 3,850 hours in a year in overtime, that totals 5,930 hours for the year. Divide that by 365 days in a year, and that person would have worked 16 hours, 15 minutes a day, seven days a week — for the entire year. Somebody in LIRR administration is not paying attention.

Bob Ocon, Wading River

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