Monday, May 21, 2018
Editorials

Numbers on health act debunk GOP claims

One of the chief Republican objections to health care reform is that it will add too much to the deficit and the nation can't afford it. The problem with this claim is that it's wrong. The Congressional Budget Office has consistently maintained that the Affordable Care Act reduces the deficit by tens of billions of dollars even as it extends health coverage to millions of Americans. Those who are calling for its repeal on the grounds of fiscal responsibility need to explain how they would do better.

The latest CBO estimate says the health care law will reduce the federal deficit by $109 billion over the next 10 years. The budget office factored in changes as a result of the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the law but giving states flexibility to opt out of its Medicaid expansion provisions. The CBO estimates there will be 6 million fewer people insured under Medicaid, with half of those obtaining insurance on the new state exchanges, leading to a net reduction in cost to the federal government of $84 billion.

It also noted that it will cost the federal government about a third more per person to subsidize low-income people on the state exchanges than to provide them Medicaid coverage. But since fewer will be covered, there will be savings.

Republican leaders, such as House Republican Policy Committee chairman Tom Price of Georgia, say the law is unaffordable by noting that it requires public outlays of $1.7 trillion — a number from the CBO analysis. But he and others conveniently disregard the other side of the ledger where the law balances expenditures through cost controls, new taxes, penalties and fees. As the CBO has repeatedly found, overall there is a net savings to taxpayers. The Affordable Care Act is a deficit-reduction measure.

The CBO said without the law the United States will continue to add to its ranks of the uninsured, increasing from the current 53 million people to 60 million by 2022. Under the law, even with some states opting out of the Medicaid expansion, 30 million uninsured people are expected to get health coverage.

So here's the final tally: the Affordable Care Act adds 30 million people to the insurance rolls while cutting the deficit by $109 billion over 10 years. Republicans who call for its repeal need to show that they have alternative solutions that are equally efficacious and fiscally responsible. So far they've offered nothing of the kind.

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Editorial: Work on the broad areas where Americans, those who own guns and those who donít, agree

Editorial: Work on the broad areas where Americans, those who own guns and those who donít, agree

"The worst school shooting since ... February." The sentence jumps off the page of a news story in the aftermath of the murder of eight students and two teachers at Santa Fe High School in Texas. It has been only three months since a gunman killed 17...
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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 stateís 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 Bondiís lawsuit against the nationís largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the stateís 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 Orchestraís violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestraís 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 theyíve 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 Bondiís lawsuit against the nationís largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the stateís 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 Childrenís should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Childrenís should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Childrenís Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institutionís 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. Petersburgís 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: HUDís flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUDís 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