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Columns straight from the heart

Today on our Opinion page, we're lucky to have two op-ed columns well worth reading because they don't just talk about what health policy should be, they illustrate their statements with the stories of real people.

Health consultant Paul Gionfriddo, who tells the story of his son's struggle with severe mental illness, says he and others who were lawmakers in the 1980s are partly to blame for the plight that today's patients find themselves in: homeless or worse, in jail.

Gionfriddo says he and others thought "deinstitutionalization" -- closing state hospitals in favor of treating mental illness in communities -- would be a boon to patients. But the plan was never fully developed, he argues, and today's public officials are just making things worse.

His essay is so moving that it is being published nationally by the journal Health Affairs.

Also we feature a column by a caregiver for the elderly, Teca Cameron. She's worried about what will happen to her patients if the Medicare program moves to a premium-support model, as the Republicans have proposed.

We are grateful to those who send in their stories. Please -- send in yours.

--Health News Florida is an independent online publication dedicated to journalism in the public interest. Contact Editor Carol Gentry at 727-410-3266 or by e-mail.



Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.