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Thoughts on government spending

Letters to the editor

‘Unable to afford to see my patients

The March 18 article about on-call fees driving highly paid psychiatrists’ pay even higher stuck in my craw and cut like a machete. As a clinical psychologist for more than 32 years, the current state of affairs has left me wondering where in my office to post my “Closed Due to Obamacare” signs. Reimbursement rates for state and federal workers’ compensation, Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance have been in a downward spiral since January of 2012 and continue to nosedive. Medicaid, as a secondary insurance, pays me $.69 an hour in many cases. Yes, that’s sixty-nine cents for a doctoral-level psychologist! Worse than not having my insurance claims denied, third-party payers are simply not bothering to pay their claims and are hoarding their money — nada, nothing, zippo.

To be in the position of being unable to afford to see my patients anymore and to have to close cases of those patients for whom I have been a lifeline, for decades in many instances, is simply criminal. That my income has become insufficient to keep my doors open any longer and that some reimbursement rates comprise a minuscule percentage of current minimum wages in the U.S. amounts to pure insanity.

That some of the real workhorses of the mental health profession, including social workers and licensed professional counselors, have found themselves in this sinking ship is purely a shameful example of the worst that is yet to come. KATHY PLATONI, CENTERVILLE

Combine school districts, local governments

Ohio is hard pressed for funds to meet current obligations and will be further pressed as the asinine sequester forces economic hardship on many Ohioans, who truly cannot afford to lose even partial pay.

How, then, can any person with a modicum of financial wisdom possibly defend Ohio’s 88 counties paying the ridiculous cost of 613 school districts, each complete with its own level of bureaucracy — all duplicating the similar efforts found in many adjourning jurisdictions?

Truth tells us that Ohio cannot afford these duplicate costs and that greatly reducing the number of petty kingdoms will, in fact, save mountains of funds that this state needs to pay for needed services.

Look further into the observation that virtually every major highway intersection manages to have its own little tiny government, complete with buildings and a staff, and a police department that, as in the school example, duplicates the efforts of other jurisdictions no further distant than a well-driven golf shot.

Ohio needs one administration and one school system in each county. It might also allow others in major urban areas. At most, Ohio could get along just fine with 100 school systems and the same number of municipal governments, saving the citizens countless dollars and probably removing the need for the perpetual levy needed to fund this or that. …


Speak Up

I realized how the non-workers in our society feel as I drank half of my fancy coffee-shop latte yesterday. My first thought was, “I should finish this, because it was expensive.” Then, I realized I had purchased it with a gift card and it was free for me. I threw it away. Multiply that one action by billions and you know what happens to all the “free” stuff given to the non-workers by the working people who pay taxes to fund the free gas and electric, free food, free medical care, free cellphones, etc. We work to fund it all, and they take and waste, then expect more from us. The ruling class is buying votes from the non-workers with money taken from the working class. Welcome to America.

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