Thursday, April 26, 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


Friday’s letters: Why just single-member districts are a bad idea for Hillsborough

Murman’s bad idea on districts | April 20, editorialSingle-member districts’ flawYour editorial opposing single-member districts in Hillsborough County is totally correct. I have served as Miami-Dade county manager twice. The first time (1976-198...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Thursday’s letters: A surgeon responds to story about a needle being left in a baby’s heart

All Children’s surgeon left a needle in a baby’s heart | April 22My view as one of the surgeonsI am one of the physicians discussed (but not interviewed) in this article. Whatever the motive for such an article, I disagree with many of the claims...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/26/18

Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18