Higher medical costs increase premiums
Dr. Michael Seeber's letter (Jan. 14) cited his frustrations at the premium increase quoted for his employees, asking "Where are the insurers' increased costs?"
The answer is relatively simple: increased medical costs make insurance premiums rise.
While it is true the overall economy has a low rate of inflation, medical costs continue to climb at a much greater rate. This is partly driven by the increased prices medical professionals, health care facilities and drugmakers demand. Additionally, rates increase for other reasons, including groups' claims experience, prevalence of obesity and reform-mandated dependent coverage.
Unfortunately, because health plans must account for all of these factors in their premiums, we often get most of the blame for what health care costs.
U.S. health plans have an average profit margin of 3 percent to 5 percent - a much lower average than other major sectors of the health care industry. Also, health plans' average administrative costs as a percentage of premiums have gone down six consecutive years.
At BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, we work hard to keep our customers' health coverage affordable. We will continue to do so by emphasizing prevention and wellness, improving coordination of care, and rewarding medical providers for quality and cost savings.
ROY D. VAUGHN
Blue Cross BlueShield
Red Bank police presence plentiful
Red Bank has been the brunt of criticism and jokes, but there's no other place in the Chattanooga area that I feel safer.
I grew up in Red Bank; it's always been known if you do something wrong in Red Bank, you're going to get caught, or if you're going to drink and drive, don't dare do it in Red Bank. If you're going to speed, by all means, avoid Dayton Boulevard.
I've lived in several cities throughout the Southeast and have never seen more of a police presence than in Red Bank. I don't know about you, but that makes me feel safe.
I know there's been a lot of controversy about the traffic light cameras, but I bet the majority of the ones who are criticizing received a ticket in the mail. When I do decide to raise a family, I want to do so in Red Bank.
There's so much potential in Red Bank! Low taxes, the housing market isn't as inflated as other areas, and it's convenient to downtown. I just think it's "a diamond in the rough."
So to the lawbreakers, I hope you do avoid Red Bank. And to the Red Bank city officials, keep up the good work!
More 'life lessons' for Southerners
Once again, Chattanooga natives are blessed with "life lessons" by someone from Pennsylvania.
The letter (Jan. 19) implies we poor Southerners have no clue or ability to deal with snow and ice, do not go to work or school and sit around the house "until God melts it."
I will file this letter from the "appalled" writer with other Pennsylvania authors who have previously instructed us on how to drive our vehicles and how to educate our children.
Health repeal just posturing
The very title of the "Repealing the Job Killing Health Care Law Act" is irresponsibly confrontational and does not contribute to the spirit of civility that the aftermath of the Tucson shootings demands.
That the health care reform passed last year is a job killer is not supported by the evidence, so the title represents either ignorance or mendacity.
It is a foolish, politically posturing gesture wasting time Congress could use to do something constructive.
What alternatives do the Republicans propose? Would we return to the dysfunctional system that helped prompt the Democratic takeover?
The system legislated last year is not ideal. Indeed, repeal of last year's reform would be sensible if an alternative and superior approach were articulated. If Congress has a better idea, the Senate and the president might join in and we might have something we could be proud of. It is a new Congress and must start somewhere.
Mistakes are inevitable. It can probably live down this idiocy, but please let the taxes that support it, and provide its membership access to health care that most Americans can only pant after, provide substantial representation and not two years of clownish posturing.
Inflation measure must be changed
Seniors received no COLA increase for 2010, nor 2011, because the CPI published statistics showing there is no increase in inflation.
On what planet is the CPI Index measuring inflation? Perhaps the index is overweighed by the terrible housing market crash. Seniors don't buy new homes, laptop computers and such. They are hard-pressed to survive the increasing prices of essentials, such as food, utilities, property taxes, medications and insurance. All are skyrocketing. Yet we are told there is no inflation. Thus no need for a COLA increase. There must be a more accurate and fairer way of measuring inflation.
Seniors wonder about billions of wasteful expenditures (too numerous to list here) that are evidently more important than their rising cost of living.
The government freezing Social Security payments is one thing. But it insults one's intelligence to claim the reason is no inflation. Seniors deserve for the government to use a more accurate and fairer system in managing the Social Security COLA.
It is bewildering and sad to see the transforming of America these past two years. The country needs restoring, not transforming, and a little honesty would be a good place to start.
Highland Park residents active
As a longtime resident of Highland Park, I get perturbed about the negative (and frequently inaccurate) press our neighborhood often receives, mainly because I've been here long enough to see how it's changed:
Today we have five drug houses or less (down from 129).
Our Neighborhood Association meetings are well attended.
We have two parks - Tatum Park and Shaw Playground.
We have the Neighborhood Center as our permanent meeting place.
Several dozen residents and Tennessee Temple students participate in our cleanup events.
For the last several years, we've had 350-plus attendees and over 30 volunteers for National Night Out.
We have relationships with various other departments of city and county government and elected officials.
Additionally, we provide goody bags for the Chattanooga Police and Fire departments yearly from donations by members.
We have several members who serve or have served on several different boards throughout the city.
We hold many events throughout the year.
We've had dozens of trees donated by Take Root that have been planted throughout our neighborhood.
We're entering our 21st year. How many other neighborhood associations are still active, as large and still growing and committed as Highland Park?
We've come a long way, and I'm proud of what we've accomplished.
Shipley good choice for commission
Laurie Shipley is an excellent candidate for the County Commission's District 3 seat. I have known Laurie for at least a decade, as she has been active and involved in neighborhood concerns.
She is articulate, bright, personable and, most importantly, she knows how to listen and thinks before she speaks.
In her job as public affairs manager for Comcast Cable, Laurie keeps on top of local, state and national concerns. If a large company like Comcast trusts her to represent them, we certainly can trust her to represent our interests.