Friday, January 19, 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: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

A substitute teacher at a Plant City elementary school berated a class of fourth graders — and then the school principal. Another compared a student to a stripper. Others were caught napping, hitting children, making sexual remarks, giving students b...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

For the longest time, injured workers in Florida were basically at the mercy of the whims of employers to treat them fairly. A 2003 law aimed at reducing the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for businesses had the desired impact, but it also di...
Published: 01/16/18

Another voice: Why just Florida?

Cynicism has always been a part of politics, but rarely are politicians so brazen and self-serving as President Donald Trump and his interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, have been over the past week. First they announced a new offshore drilling plan that ...
Published: 01/16/18
Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Today’s holiday honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t be more timely. At a moment when the nation’s civic dialogue is choking on personal and political division, it is hard to remember an earlier time when role models were role m...
Published: 01/15/18

Another voice: 38 minutes of fear in Hawaii

In 1938, Orson Welles panicked the nation with a false alarm about a Martian invasion in the radio broadcast The War of the Worlds. That was farfetched, of course. But what happened on Saturday, sadly, was not so hard to imagine — or believe.Authorit...
Published: 01/14/18
Updated: 01/16/18
Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

As it has for decades, Florida stubbornly clings to an inhumane, inefficient and indefensible system of justice that permanently sentences more than 1.5 million residents to second-class citizenship. This state automatically revokes the right to vote...
Published: 01/13/18
Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

President Donald Trump’s vulgar outbursts during a White House meeting on immigration are racist and indefensible no matter how he parses them. They are not presidential, they undermine U.S. foreign relations and they do not reflect America’s values....
Published: 01/12/18