Letters to the editor

Veterans benefits Attention veterans who are on Social Security and Medicare: The Veterans Administration is stealing your benefits. The theft has to be in the trillions of dollars. They are doing it through co-pays. How many years this has been going on, I have no idea. In 2001, they received $101 million in co-pays. Is it any wonder they are sitting on over 600,000 claims? In 2014, they project $3.1 billion from out of the pockets of veterans. The veteran is not allowed to use Medicare or AARP, Humana, second payers as co-payers; it comes directly out of the veteran's pocket. If he refuses to pay, the treasury takes it out of your Social Security. The VFW veterans magazine this August stated that the VA will receive $153 billion in 2014 out of your tax dollars.
The magazine Semper Fi this year states that VA Medicare subvention HR814 would authorize payments to VA medical facilities for services to Medicare-eligible veterans being treated for non-service connected conditions. Medicare is not currently authorized to reimburse VA hospitals for care provided to Medicare-eligible veterans. Congress and the Senate should withhold all money to the VA until the VA addresses the problem of sitting on 600,000 claims and also address the theft of millions of dollars from Medicare veterans. Billie E. Jewett Sebring Go back to manual transmission I believe one way we can help eliminate deaths and injuries on our roads from drivers who use phones and text while driving is to do away with automatic transmissions (slush boxes) in vehicles. The only people who would be allowed to have slush boxes in their vehicles are those missing limbs who can still safely operate a motor vehicle. I realize that we all make mistakes on the road - myself included - but I believe the automatic transmission helps make marginal drivers who text into dangerous drivers. All drivers should be involved in every aspect of operating a vehicle including shifting their own gears using a clutch pedal. In this way, a person is too busy driving the vehicle instead of texting or phoning while paying no attention or caring on what is going on in front of them. Cars have become too easy to operate mindless appliances just like the toaster is sitting on your counter in the kitchen. I like what Chevrolet has done with the new Camaro Z28 which can only be ordered with a manual transmission and it is truly a driver's automobile. Some cars and trucks can only be had with slush boxes in them and again, I believe this only encourages careless driving. I no longer have a car, but every one I did have had a manual transmission. I am both and avid bicyclist and motorcyclist, and with both of these vehicles I select the gear I want to be in - not some computerized servo mechanism doing it for me. Manual gear selection is have the fun of riding these two-wheelers. You become part of the vehicle and are not just along for the ride. It takes three days to earn a motorcycle license but it becomes something you cherish. You learn to watch drivers' faces who are paying attention to conversations and not the road. I've learned from experience that a license to operate a vehicle is a privilege and is not a right. Jerry Nargelovic Sebring