Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Publix gets it right on HIV drug

Publix made the right call last week in reversing its policy that denied insurance coverage for a drug that prevents HIV infection. The Lakeland-based supermarket chain is consistently ranked one of Florida’s best employers, and this decision will undoubtedly benefit its nearly 190,000 employees. It is also a responsible stand in a state where new HIV cases are on the rise.

Publix initially said it would cover the drug Truvada only to treat existing cases of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. But Truvada is also highly effective for preventing new HIV infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is 92 percent effective at preventing infection among high-risk users, such as individuals whose partners are HIV positive. Publix initially said it wouldn’t cover preventive use of the drug, known as Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP.

Preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS has renewed urgency in Florida, which recorded the fourth-highest rate of new cases in the country in 2016. Even as new cases declined around the nation, Florida has seen an increase every year since 2012. This is no time for a major employer to be splitting hairs over covering a drug that’s effective at fighting the disease.

Following a public backlash and an in-person plea from Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, Publix announced it would cover the PrEP method. That’s a welcome change of heart from one of Florida’s best-loved brands.

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Editorial: Hillsborough Commission candidates should take a stand on transit tax

Editorial: Hillsborough Commission candidates should take a stand on transit tax

It’s no surprise that virtually every candidate running for Hillsborough County Commission has promised to make transportation their top priority. Yet few of them have firmly embraced or opposed a one-cent sales tax increase for transportation that H...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: The Catholic Church’s proper response to Pennsylvania scandal

Editorial: The Catholic Church’s proper response to Pennsylvania scandal

Forceful words are coming from the pope’s pen as well as pulpits around Tampa Bay: The sexual abuse of minors, which proliferated for decades within the Roman Catholic Church, were not merely sins but crimes whose repercussions are still being felt b...
Published: 08/20/18
Editorial: Did Rick Scott’s wallet affect his epiphany on rail line?

Editorial: Did Rick Scott’s wallet affect his epiphany on rail line?

Within weeks of taking office in 2011, Gov. Rick Scott made one of the worst decisions of his administration and refused $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando. Within months of leaving office, the governor...
Published: 08/17/18
Editorial: Hillsborough has a place among growing number of governments suing opioid makers

Editorial: Hillsborough has a place among growing number of governments suing opioid makers

Local governments across the land can find plenty of reasons to go after the drug industry over the crisis of opioid addiction.Hillsborough County can find more reasons than most.• In 2016, the county led the state with 579 babies born addicted to dr...
Published: 08/17/18
Editorial: Here’s what needs to be done to stop algae blooms

Editorial: Here’s what needs to be done to stop algae blooms

The environmental crisis in South Florida has fast become a political crisis. Politicians in both parties are busy blaming one another for the waves of toxic algae blooms spreading out from Lake Okeechobee and beyond, fouling both coasts and damaging...
Published: 08/15/18
Updated: 08/20/18
Editorial: Journalists are friends of democracy, not the enemy

Editorial: Journalists are friends of democracy, not the enemy

It is real news that the Hillsborough County School District said this week it will accelerate testing for lead in drinking water and release the results after the Tampa Bay Times reported testing would take years and that until we asked families wer...
Published: 08/15/18
Updated: 08/16/18

Bumping into GOP cowardice on guns

One small island of sanity in the generally insane ocean of American gun culture is the near-complete federal ban on civilian possession of fully automatic weapons — machine guns.The nation got a bitter taste last year of what we’d be facing on a reg...
Published: 08/14/18
Updated: 08/17/18
Editorial: Vaccinations are safe way to prevent measles

Editorial: Vaccinations are safe way to prevent measles

The revelation that three people in Pinellas County have contracted the measles virus should be a wake-up call to everyone to get vaccinated if they haven’t been — and to implore parents to immunize their kids. Contagious diseases such as measles can...
Published: 08/14/18
Updated: 08/17/18
Editorial: Habitat for Humanity still has questions to answer about selling mortgages

Editorial: Habitat for Humanity still has questions to answer about selling mortgages

A good reputation can vanish overnight, which is why Habitat for Humanity of Hills-borough County made a smart decision by announcing it would seek to buy back 12 mortgages it sold to a Tampa company with a history of flipping properties. The arrange...
Published: 08/14/18
Editorial: Vote — or a minority of the electorate will decide your future without you

Editorial: Vote — or a minority of the electorate will decide your future without you

40%of Americans who were eligible to vote for president in 2016 just didn’t bother. That number dwarfs the portion of all eligible voters who cast a ballot for President Donald Trump — 27.6 percent — or, for that matter, Hillary Clinton, 28.8 percent...
Published: 08/13/18
Updated: 08/17/18