Estimate surgery prices

I compliment health care providers. I have found nothing but caring professionals. The billing staff too are all patient professionals. But they are working in a failed system.

I have been requesting an estimate for the cost of knee surgery since I’m responsible for part of the bill. That has gotten me nowhere. In fact when I initially asked billing, I was told they couldn’t tell me. When I persisted they said I needed to supply them with a billing code for each professional involved in my procedure. Being I’m a contractor and know nothing about knee surgery, I would think that’s the hospital’s job.

There are no less than 10 billing offices within the hospital system. What could possibly go wrong where? Not everybody within the system is an employee. Many independent contractors, hence separate bills.

Contractors, auto mechanics and real estate agents know it’s a good idea to submit an estimate of a bill. By law some businesses must submit written estimates. Patients should be supplied a written list of professionals that will be needed to accomplish what needs to be addressed.

The cost of health care is breaking the country. Upfront pricing on elective surgery is a good place to start in getting a handle on it.

People at the top of the hospital food chain tell me they post prices on their website. Yes, the hospital system does post pricing, but there are no prices for the rest of the roster of professionals and doctors, or which ones will be needed.

Barry Felice

North Cape May

Charge carbon climate fee

It was very encouraging to see the New Jersey congressional delegation vote to prohibit oil drilling along the Atlantic Coast recently. We cannot tolerate an oil spill on our shorelines. Much of our economy involves tourism, which would be ruined by such a spill. It would also kill an unknown amount of ocean life.

It would be even more exciting if they would also co-sponsor H.R. 763, the Bipartisan Climate Solution, which would charge oil and natural gas producers a fee on carbon. Enacting this bill would help reduce CO2 emissions by at least 40% in the first 12 years, preserve current regulations that are effective, and pause EPA authority to regulate the CO2 and equivalent emissions like methane which are covered by the fee.

Money collected would be given back in equal shares every month to households to spend as they see fit. Program costs would be paid from the fees collected — the government would not keep any of the money from the fee.

It also would protect U.S. jobs by putting a tariff on imports from nations without a similar fee, giving a refund for exported U.S. goods.

Auto mileage standards would be preserved, but the EPA could not regulate CO2 and other emissions covered by the fee for the first 10 years after it is enacted, lowering carbon emissions more than any existing and pending EPA rules.

Climate change is already impacting New Jersey, so enacting H.R. 763 makes a lot of sense.

Anne Maiese


Reform baseball to save it

Baseball has been called a thinking man’s game. In the current era of analytics in baseball and the use of the defensive shift, the game has changed. It appears that baseball may be out-thinking itself.

The art of hitting has been diminished to a grip it and rip it mentality. Baseball has become a glorified home run derby. But today baseball is no longer a thinking man’s game.

Homers are leaving the park in record-breaking fashion and should have an asterisk by every one of them. It appears the ball is juiced. Major League Baseball itself should be suspended 80 games just for these distorted records.

The home runs of today are not the home runs of, say, one Michael Jack Schmidt. The core of his hitting approach was to hit line drives — 548 of them went out of the park and Schmidt led the majors in home runs eight times, second only to Babe Ruth with 12.

The fly-ball revolution has begun. Which is also responsible for the steady drop in MLB batting averages and rise in strikeouts.

Little League, Babe Ruth and high school players are now being taught to swing up on the ball, preaching a launch angle primarily to beat the shift. This approach appears to create tremendous torque on the lower back and may not be conducive to a long career.

Mike Trout by many accounts maybe the greatest to ever play the game. His numbers are more amazing considering they came during the analytical era of baseball.

The shift is sucking the life out of the game. Action needs to be taken. MLB needs to get the art of hitting and thinking back into the game. If not, be prepared for more strikeouts, lower averages, pop-up homers, distorted records and possibly shorter careers.

Russell Gasperini

Atlantic City

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