Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Start of a healthier nation

It has been a long, bumpy road for the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature initiative to provide affordable and accessible health insurance to all, but the time for its full implementation has finally arrived. Opening Tuesday are the state online marketplaces, where the uninsured can shop for comprehensive coverage, many with generous federal subsidies. If the process is confusing, it will get easier over time and people should not lose sight of the bigger picture. The law will bring health coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans, and it will raise the quality of coverage and medical security for virtually everyone.

Floridians with questions on plan specifics and rates will have their answers Tuesday when the information becomes available at the federal website healthcare.gov. In Florida, the average monthly premium for a "silver" level plan is slightly lower than the national average at $304 before any federal subsidies. That is a nice surprise after the Florida Legislature stripped authority from the state's insurance regulator to police health insurance rates for the next two years. Market competition is working. Unlike some other states where few insurers are in the marketplace, many Floridians will be able to choose from about 100 health plans, nearly twice the national average.

As with any major government program, it will take time for the kinks to be worked out. Signing up for Medicare Part D's drug coverage was also complex. This should have been easier. But Florida left it to the federal government to build its state exchange, resulting in information delays. There also may be fewer navigators — sign-up helpers — available in less convenient locations in Florida because of the roadblocks the state put in place.

The law's opponents have launched a corrosive ad campaign to convince young adults not to sign up for health coverage. Their advice promotes irresponsibility and free-rider behavior — exactly what conservatives claim to stand against. Young adults without insurance will still receive health care after a car accident or sudden illness. But the cost of that care will be shifted to the insured and taxpayers. Going without insurance and paying the modest annual tax penalty makes it less likely that young people will see a doctor regularly to get preventive care or catch a serious health problem early.

Tuesday should be a celebratory day in Florida with so many of the state's 3.8 million uninsured finally able to sign up for comprehensive, affordable coverage that would kick in next year. There will be rough spots, but it will be worth the trouble. Americans will no longer be shackled to their jobs for the health insurance, and this could unleash new entrepreneurial vigor into the economy. America also is a more compassionate nation, where more families will have access to regular medical care and people will no longer have to worry that bankruptcy looms if they get sick. That alone is transformational change for the better.

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Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trumpís claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nationís 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18