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Your Views: Reckless charges putting Medicare deeper in red ink
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As most people have heard, Medicare is on the fast track to insolvency, and I believe that I've found one of the things that's driving it, right here in Gainesville.

My elderly father is living in a relatively upscale assisted living residence here in town. Though he is in great health for a gent of 96, one of the few medicines he is required to take regularly is Coumadin, a blood thinner. The dosage of this drug is dictated by monthly tests, which require just a finger stick and about three minutes of time.

I had been transporting him to a local cardiac clinic for these tests, but early this year, a home health service that visits the residence "volunteered" to pick up the activity, which they did for a time. However, in addition to the Coumadin monitoring, they checked my father's pulse (which he does himself) as well as his blood pressure (which they do at the home on a daily basis at no cost).

Out of curiosity, he asked at one point what the cost to Medicare was for these mostly unnecessary services. As soon as he raised the issue, the home health organization indicated that they could no longer keep him as a client.

And now, finally, after a number of inquiries, they've owned up to billing the taxpayer over $13,000!
When he inquired why they went beyond the blood test, the rep indicated that his doctor "had ordered the additional testing." When he asked for the name of said doctor, it was (strangely) unavailable.

Now think about this little screenplay being replicated at nursing homes around the country. Given this, it's a miracle that Medicare hasn't gone bust a long time ago.

Mark Buchheim

Voter research should include the true record
I got a hardy chuckle reading the letter from Alice Randolph Williams in which she admonishes citizens to research the facts before deciding how to vote in this presidential election.

It appears to me that Ms. Williams failed to follow her own advice when she states that "the very high standards of integrity, morals, values, substance, knowledge and most definitely leadership" will lead to her to vote for the Obama-Biden ticket. Did she fail to research the past unsavory associates of Sen. Obama and his scant senatorial record?

Also, what research source provided her the information that Sen. John McCain "has the worst voting record in the Senate." The only criticism of McCain's voting record I have heard is from ultraconservatives who don't like it that he has crossed the aisle too often to cooperate with a Democratic legislative proposal.

Let's all review our research textbooks, and then vote.

R.G. Layne

Why should citizens be intimidated at polls?
How can any citizen feel intimated by going to vote at our polls in our American democracy? The comments by Stephanie Martin are totally incomprehensible regarding The Times article Sunday, "Groups sign up voters by deadline Sunday." All voters are American citizens and are treated equally as such.

The uniformed officers represent the safety for our community and our rights. They are there to protect and serve. How can that be intimidating? It can only be intimidating to someone who has something to hide.

Martin was quoted by the Times as saying that she said she feels that as a citizen, she must have a strong voice for the Hispanic community, many of whom are ineligible to vote. In other words, illegal immigrants. I have no compassion for anyone who supports those individuals who are in our country illegally.

Martin said many minority voters feel separated from the white majority and often feel their vote doesn't count. Martin needs to be advised that every vote counts. Hello: This is America!

James R. Pilgrim