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Medicare Advantage
is draining trust

Sutter Health settled with the DOJ for $90 million in 2021 for knowingly submitting unsupported diagnosis codes to receive inflated payments from Medicare Advantage and in 2019 they settled allegations of price-gouging and anti-competitive practices for $575 million.

Payments to Medicare Advantage plans have depleted the Medicare Trust fund by tens of billions of dollars through wrongful payments to Sutter and other health care organizations. During the Medicare enrollment period, Sutter relentlessly encouraged patients to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans thereby increasing Sutter’s base of those they can overcharge.

Sutter’s homepage advertises “care you can count on.” But by persistently engaging in actions that deplete the health care fund on which many of their patients rely, Sutter is acting in a way that’s harmful to their patients’ health, is a breach of their duty of care, and makes it less likely Sutter is giving care anyone can count on.

Anne Bossange

Alzheimer’s advances
stir hope in caregivers

Re. “New Alzheimer’s blood tests may be game-changers for treating the disease,” Dec. 19:

This story gave me so much hope, it felt like an early Christmas present.

My mom has Alzheimer’s and lives at home with me and my sister. Caring for her is really hard and I didn’t know what to do until a friend told me about the Alzheimer’s Association. They have helped me a lot.

In the Latino community, we tend to wait until things are really bad before going to the doctor, and many Latinos don’t have $5,000 for a PET scan. The new blood tests will help many more Latinos get diagnosed earlier.

I also want to thank Rep. Zoe Lofgren for meeting with me this year to talk about these issues, and for cosponsoring legislation (H.R. 7775) to keep up the progress in Alzheimer’s research and help address disparities in diagnosis and care.

Rosa Alonso
San Jose

San Jose must restore
democratic principles

Democracy must be nourished in order to thrive here in San Jose and around the world. On Dec. 5 our City Council voted to hold an appointment process for vacant council seats instead of allowing the people to decide. The process thus far has diminished democracy.

Going forward:

1. Each applicant must agree not to seek election in 2024. The power of the incumbency is powerful for enhancing name recognition and fundraising. Applicants should agree, even though nonbinding, not to seek election in 2024.

2. Eight elected councilmembers and the mayor must vote to affirm the appointment. Prior to the Jan. 24 appointment process all candidates should have the opportunity to be interviewed by a committee of interested citizens from Districts 8 and 10.

Democracy in San Jose was weakened on that Monday evening. As Mayor Sam Liccardo said, the decision brought “shame” to San Jose. Let’s begin to restore our local democratic principles in 2023.

Joseph Di Salvo
San Jose

Pitts’ poignant writing
will be missed

Mr. Pitts, please don’t leave us.

It was always the best morning when I turned to the Opinion Page and there was a column from Leonard Pitts. All of the things I was thinking or wanting to express about politics and the world would be right on the page in front of me, expressed with passion, humor and intelligence. I’d call my mom to make sure she read you and cut out the article to mail to my dad, all to be discussed in detail later. I might even have a little argument with my husband, who mostly agreed with your sentiments, but sometimes dared not to.

You will be greatly missed in this household, and I am sure in many more. Best of luck to you in whatever you do next. Thank you for many years of courageous and poignant writing.

Danielle Mewes
Palo Alto

Taliban’s ban is not
based on Islamic law

The article “Taliban rules women can’t receive university education” published on Dec. 21 (Page A2) states that the Taliban’s ban on women’s education is based on their interpretation of Islamic Law.


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