Saturday, July 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Reject fees for Florida Medicaid patients

Hospitals aren't the only targets in Tallahassee when it comes to Medicaid. House Republicans want poor people on Medicaid to meet new work requirements and pay fees or get cut off. It is a callous attempt to control costs on the backs of the poorest Floridians by rationing access to health care that should be a fundamental right.

Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Travis Cummings, R-Orange Park, pitches these punitive requirements by calling for individuals to take more responsibility for their health. The Trump administration makes the same argument, and it's hard to knock individual responsibility. Government already encourages people to stop smoking, start exercising and eat healthy.

But this is punishment for being poor and will not lead to people being healthier. It will cause them to go without medical treatment and preventive care, leading to more expensive health issues later. What work requirements and fees are really about is denying care to reduce Medicaid costs and divert state tax money elsewhere.

Supporters argue similar requirements were in legislation that would have expanded Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of Floridians but failed to pass the House two years ago. But a family of three could have qualified for Medicaid expansion and earned up to $27,800 a year. These proposed $5 or $10 monthly fees would be for adults in a family of three making less than $6,652 a year. That's heaping pain upon poverty.

Florida is incredibly stingy with Medicaid. It generally does not cover childless adults, and it ranks last nationally in Medicaid spending on children. Many doctors refuse to see Medicaid patients because the payments are so low — one reason those patients often visit more expensive hospital emergency rooms.

Don't make it even harder for Florida's poor to see a doctor.

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Editorial: NFL calls wise time-out on disciplining protests

The National Football League kept an embarrassing situation from becoming even worse by shelving its new policy clamping down on players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.The league announced late Thursday it would suspend the 2-month old p...
Published: 07/20/18
Editorial: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s responsible budget

Editorial: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s responsible budget

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is shoring up his final year in office with the proposed city budget he released Thursday. The plan includes no big-ticket items, opting instead to maintain ongoing investments in parks, roads and other basic public services....
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18

IRS making ‘dark money’ darker

Under a perverse interpretation of federal law, tax-exempt nonprofit organizations supposedly devoted to "social welfare" can spend large amounts of money to influence elections without publicly disclosing the identities of their donors. But instead ...
Published: 07/19/18
Updated: 07/20/18
Editorial: Ferry is fun but should pay for itself in long run

Editorial: Ferry is fun but should pay for itself in long run

The CrossBay Ferry appears headed for another round of rides across Tampa Bay, with local governments pledging one more year of financial support. But as more taxpayer money is steered into this project, it’s important to recognize what purpose the f...
Published: 07/18/18
Updated: 07/20/18
Editorial: Scott should order investigation of concealed weapons permitting

Editorial: Scott should order investigation of concealed weapons permitting

To his credit, Gov. Rick Scott says he is considering requests to order an independent investigation of how Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s office screens applications for concealed weapon permits. It’s a reasonable request, and the governor h...
Published: 07/18/18
Editorial: Algae blooms, toll woes and beach battles -- Florida’s fouled up summer

Editorial: Algae blooms, toll woes and beach battles -- Florida’s fouled up summer

July in Florida. The height of summer tourist season. Rental cars clog the highways and tourists crowd the beaches, motels and all-you-can-eat shrimp joints. Many of our neighbors are off to North Carolina or somewhere cooler. So it’s an awfully inco...
Published: 07/17/18
Updated: 07/20/18
Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Maggy Hurchalla joked this spring that all she could offer a billionaire who won a $4.4 million judgment against her after she exercised her free speech rights were "two kayaks and an aging Toyota.’’ The billionaire didn’t laugh. This week, Martin Co...
Published: 07/17/18
Updated: 07/18/18
Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

In one of the most surreal news conferences of our time, President Donald Trump actually stood next to Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday and called the federal investigation into Russia’s meddling into the 2016 election "a disaster for our coun...
Published: 07/16/18
Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

The St. Petersburg City Council made the appropriate but difficult decision to reject a contract with renowned artist Janet Echelman for one of her aerial sculptures. It would be wonderful for the city to have one of her signature works, but Spa Beac...
Published: 07/13/18

‘Everybody needed to know what happened’

The brutal murder of Emmett Till, a black Chicago youth, in Mississippi nearly 63 years ago went unpunished, but not forgotten. A decision by his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, to allow an open casket at Emmett’s Chicago funeral represented an act of def...
Published: 07/13/18