Monday, November 20, 2017
Editorials

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

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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: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old — barely middle age among higher education institutions — USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17