Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Tell the Legislature's Immoral Minority to expand Medicaid in Florida

Most Floridians want it. So do thousands of businesses and the medical community. So do Republicans and Democrats in the Florida Senate. Yet 80 Florida House Republicans are denying 800,000 Floridians access to health care by refusing to accept Medicaid expansion money from Washington. It is immoral, and it is financially irresponsible. Of those 80 House Republicans, 13 represent Tampa Bay districts. Call them. Email them. Ask them why they are blocking health insurance for your families, friends and co-workers.

RICHARD CORCORAN, Land O'Lakes: (850) 717-5037, [email protected] — Corcoran is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the expected House speaker for 2016-18 and the chief obstructionist.

DANA YOUNG, Tampa: (850) 717-5060, [email protected] — Young is the House majority leader who helps prevent Republicans from voting their conscience on Medicaid expansion.

BLAISE INGOGLIA, Spring Hill: (850) 717-5035, [email protected] — Ingoglia has an inherent conflict of interest as both the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and a state legislator serving all of his Hernando County constituents.

LARRY AHERN, Seminole: (850) 717-5066, [email protected]

CHRIS LATVALA, Clearwater: (850) 717-5067, [email protected]

KATHLEEN PETERS, South Pasadena: (850) 717-5069, [email protected]

CHRIS SPROWLS, Palm Harbor: (850) 717-5065, [email protected]

DANNY BURGESS JR., San Antonio: (850) 717-5038, [email protected]

SHAWN HARRISON, Tampa: (850) 717-5063, [email protected]

JAKE RABURN, Lithia: (850) 717-5057, [email protected]

DAN RAULERSON, Plant City: (850) 717-5058, [email protected]

ROSS SPANO, Dover: (850) 717-5059, [email protected]

JIMMIE T. SMITH, Inverness: (850) 717-5034, [email protected]

This may be the last, best chance for the Florida Legislature to accept billions in federal Medicaid money and create health coverage for low-income residents. The Senate has crafted a responsible bipartisan plan to use the federal money to subsidize private health insurance, and House Republicans should embrace it and stop being obstructionists.

The economic case for accepting the federal money and expanding access to health care is persuasive. It would bring tens of billions from Washington to Florida. It would save the state more than $1.7 billion over five years by replacing existing health care programs. It would help residents paying higher private insurance premiums to subsidize the cost of charity care.

The cost of rejecting the Senate plan? Federal tax dollars from Florida help pay for Medicaid expansion in 28 other states. The Low Income Pool that helps cover the cost of treating the uninsured will lose more than $1 billion in federal money. Florida hospitals and taxpayers cannot afford to make that up.

The moral argument for taking the Medicaid expansion money is also compelling. Low-income Floridians should not be deprived of health insurance because House Republicans can't stand President Barack Obama and distrust Washington. House Appropriations Chairman Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, is prepared to go to war with the Senate and block its practical plan. Senate Republicans and Democrats better reflect the sensibilities of most Floridians, and they should not bend to such pinched thinking.

House Republicans from Tampa Bay should hear the commonsense voices in their communities. Tell them you want all Floridians to have health insurance and access to care. Ask them why they will not bring home federal tax dollars you send to Washington. And remind them to act in the best interests of all of their constituents.

     
                 
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Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

St. Petersburg’s 3-year-old recycling program has reached an undesirable tipping point, with operating costs exceeding the income from selling the recyclable materials. The shift is driven by falling commodity prices and new policies in China that cu...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

It’s a safe bet Florida will get caught up in the frenzy to legalize wagering on sports following the U.S. Supreme Court opinion this week that lifted a federal ban. Struggling horse and dog tracks would love a new line of business, and state l...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/16/18