health as it happens

Readers comment on COVID policies, health coverage and the two-party system - Gainesville Sun

Promote proven policies

If you’ve ever played peekaboo with your little one, you’ve helped them work on object permanence. Your baby is learning that people and objects exist even when they can’t see or hear them. Object permanence is one of the development milestones that your infant will learn during their first year of life.   

On Jan. 4, Gov. Ron DeSantis gave a news conference where he stated, “Live your life as you would have before COVID.” He held his news conference at a podium with a sign stating, “Early treatment saves lives,” promoting monoclonal antibody treatment. This treatment costs taxpayers approximately $2,100, compared to $20 for a vaccine.  Importantly, evidence shows that two of the three monoclonal antibodies do not work for the omicron variant. He and the surgeon general also discouraged testing after significant exposure without symptoms.

Meanwhile, more and more people are contracting the virus. Workforces are being affected with sick call-outs, especially critical in the health care industry.

Gov. DeSantis, we are not pre-COVID. You should be promoting simple, proven public health policies, such as wearing masks in crowded indoor spaces and getting three doses of a COVID vaccine. Encouraging people to ignore the issue does not make it go away. Didn’t your parents play peekaboo with you?

David J. Burchfield, MD, Gainesville

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Get insured

The open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act ends Saturday. What this means is that the time to act is now. For those who qualify, there are still opportunities to get plans that might have been unaffordable in the past, because federal subsidies that were increased in 2021 have been extended through this year.   

Official figures show more than 2.6 million people in Florida have enrolled in plans on the federal health insurance exchange through Dec. 15.    

Health insurance Navigators like myself are here to help consumers get through the application process. My organization, Suwannee River Area Health Education Center, has a team of Navigators standing by in our 15-county service area. We are funded from federal grants awarded to the statewide Florida Covering Kids and Families program.   

We are holding in-person enrollment events Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Library Partnership in Gainesville from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; at the Civic Media Center, also in Gainesville, on Wednesday, Jan. 12; and in Live Oak on Tuesday, Jan. 11, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Suwannee River Regional Library.

You can also contact us by calling 386-230-9400 or by emailing [email protected]

Ronnie Lovler, Gainesville

Bring back the Whigs 

We need more than two functioning parties in a system that isn't built around the amount of money spent on advertising. One alternative is so simple that a child could understand it. Maybe someday it could happen in our version of democracy. Why not? 

Abraham Lincoln was a Whig when he tried to bring his values to the forming Republican Party. There had been two Whig presidents elected in its past, William Harrison and Zachary Taylor. I would still vote for a Whig representative when, in reality, my vote might be for the lesser of evil alternatives. That was not my choice this round of elections, but had there been an alternative, there's a chance I could have gone that way.

Whigs do still exist but don't get much publicity. “With liberty and justice for all” is still just a dream that some of us have.

Tom Prahl, Hawthorne

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