Monday, June 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Friday's letters: Senator's health plan has drawbacks

Showdown looms over Medicaid | April 16

Health plan has drawbacks

State Sen. Joe Negron is to be commended for his creative effort to bring health care access to a million or more Floridians. As an architect and founding board member of Florida Healthy Kids Corp., I have two principal concerns with Negron's strategy of using the corporation as a health insurance exchange (marketplace) for adults in the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

First, the proposal includes using the money from the Obamacare Medicaid expansion to pay insurance premiums for low-income Floridians. That strategy essentially repurposes Florida Healthy Kids Corp. as a health care exchange (marketplace). However, there will already be an Obamacare mandated health care exchange (marketplace) that Florida will have for privately funded coverage. If the $50 billion Medicaid expansion is to be used for insurance premium subsidies, why not use the Obamacare exchange for both publicly and privately subsidized Floridians? Why bear the additional cost (layer of government) of creating a separate exchange for publicly financed coverage?

Secondly, Florida Healthy Kids Corp. was built on the premises that children could be insured separately from their parents, and that insuring them separately would lead the insurers to focus on the unique health care needs of kids. There is a checkered history of health coverage mixing young kids and adults in the same risk pool. Simply put, kids and adults have different health care needs and require different providers. But because adults are more expensive to insure, private and public insurers historically focused their attention on adults to the near exclusion of kids. In Florida, policymakers recognized that bias by creating Children's Medical Services within government and Florida Healthy Kids Corp. in the private nonprofit sector.

Negron's policy direction is the right one, i.e., provide more Floridians with access to health care while supporting a major job-creating industry. The strategy of inadvertently dropping kids off the health care financing radar screen by repurposing FHKC will return us to the days when insurers regarded children as just "little adults" with needs no different from their parents. The strategy of expanding government by building a separate health care insurance exchange for Medicaid-subsidized Floridians is unnecessary because there will already be an exchange available to all Floridians as required under Obamacare.

Steve A. Freedman, Lutz

Showdown looms over Medicaid | April 16

House plan falls short

With all due respect to state Rep. Matt Hudson, when I read his remarks on the alternative to Medicaid expansion as proposed by the House Republicans, which he called "visionary," I had to laugh.

This proposed plan will insure about 130,000 new people versus about 1 million new people who would be insured under the Medicaid expansion. Two of the reasons given for refusing Medicaid expansion are that the federal government can't afford it and there is no guarantee it will make the payments as promised.

Whether the federal government can afford it or not is irrelevant as the money is already budgeted. If Florida refuses to use the federal money, it will go to some other state and will not reduce the deficit. As far as the federal government not making the promised payments, Medicaid has always been partially funded by federal money and there has never been a missed payment.

Several independent studies have stated that the Medicaid expansion provided for in the Affordable Care Act would create thousands of jobs and save money as the newly insured would no longer have to use the emergency room as their primary source of medical services. And other studies have shown that the hospitals, service providers and the majority of the people of Florida are for it. But the Republican-led Legislature is doing its best to block it. Shame on them.

Gerald Exstein, Land O' Lakes

Two explosions rock race's end | April 16

America will pull through

America over the last decade has experienced some of the most challenging and devastating tragedies in its brief 237-year existence. Yet amid all this chaos, there is hope for better days.

America has always gotten through trying times — not because of its wealth or power or "glorious" leaders, but because it has the strongest sense of community of all the nations on this planet. Americans are able to come together as one and unite for a common goal.

While it may not seem like that exists today, look at the videos of the Boston Marathon bombings and watch all the men and women run toward the explosion to come to the aid of those in need. I have faith in this nation because that strong sense of community that has gotten America through every trying era in her history is as present as ever today, and it will pull her through this difficult era as well.

Rylan Douthett, Bradenton


Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18