Sunday, September 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Senate should not repeal health insurance mandate to pay for tax cuts

There are all sorts of problems with the massive tax cut legislation the Senate is expected to vote on this week. Wealthy individuals and corporations benefit more than the poor and the middle class; by 2027, about half of all taxpayers would see a tax increase; and the federal deficit would balloon by $1.5 trillion. But it is particularly galling for Republicans to add a provision to repeal the requirement for most individuals to have health insurance in order to help pay for tax cuts.

This is the latest attack on the Affordable Care Act, which Senate leaders fortunately have failed to muster enough votes to repeal. If there is any doubt that the law is far more popular outside Washington or that Americans want access to health coverage, look at the early surge in sign-ups for coverage in 2018 despite virtually no promotion and numerous other efforts by the Trump administration to sabotage the act. In a more pragmatic, bipartisan climate, Congress would be looking for ways to improve the health care law that has its flaws but has significantly lowered the uninsured rate in Florida and the nation.

Instead, the Senate is out to undermine it by repealing the individual mandate that requires most Americans to have health coverage or pay a penalty. In other debates in other years, the discussion was about how to make the individual mandate more effective to increase coverage. Now the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that repealing the mandate would mean nearly 13 million more Americans would go without health coverage by 2027. Thatís moving backward, not forward.

The bottom line here is money. To comply with Senate rules, the tax cut bill cannot add more than $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit so it can be approved by a majority vote and without any support from Democrats. If 13 million fewer Americans sign up for health coverage, the CBO estimates the federal government would save $338 billion in insurance subsidies and on Medicaid. The savings may wind up being smaller, but the goal remains to save enough to help meet the limit on the impact of the tax cuts on the federal deficit. The more sensible approach would be to reduce the tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy to lower the cost, but common sense is in short supply in Washington.

Instead, Senate Republicans are determined to push ahead to lower corporate taxes, eliminate the estate tax that affects only a tiny portion of small farms and closely held businesses ó and encourage more Americans to go without health insurance while premiums rise up to 10 percent each year over current projections to pay for covering a smaller pool of sicker people. Thatís fundamentally wrong, and more enlightened Republican senators such as Susan Collins of Maine should insist that the repeal of the individual mandate has to be removed from the tax cut legislation before they will support it.

This is a tax cut bill, not a health care bill.

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Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Vote by mail has been a stunning success in Florida, increasing turnout and making it easy and convenient to cast a ballot with time to research and reflect. But a new study shows that mail ballots cast by African-American, Hispanic or younger voters...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

State and federal lending regulations exist to protect consumers from being surprised — and overwhelmed — by ballooning debt. Marlin Financial, a shadowy auto lender doing business around Florida, seems to be skirting those protections ...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

In addition to a lesson on political patronage, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam needs a refresher on the particulars of state public records law.In January 2017, Putnam hired the 27-year-old son of a former Publix executive to a high-pay...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

There should be a timely investigation of the allegation of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh before senators hear from him and his accuser, let alone vote on whether they should confirm his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The proces...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

The heated debate on immigration could benefit from some more facts, which the U.S. Census has helpfully provided. And the facts show that rather than building walls, the United States would do far better to keep opening doors to legal immigrants. Th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Published: 09/18/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 18

From Times wires
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18