Boo to Democrats | April 26, Howard Troxler column
Plan puts seniors at mercy of insurance companies
Howard Troxler's column seems to be based on some false premises. The first is that the TV ad he saw is the only response the Democrats have made to Ryan's proposal. The Democrats have stated that they think it is a terrible plan, and why. In fact, President Barack Obama made a speech telling why they can't accept this plan.
Another false premise is what Ryan's plan entails. Troxler makes a point of saying that it is going to apply to people who are 55 and younger. This is why he and PolitiFact think the ad is misleading. However, the plan doesn't apply to these younger people. Ryan's plan is only going to apply to these people when they turn 65. Therefore, to portray elderly people as the victims is entirely accurate.
And they are going to be victims. Ryan's proposal is to give people who turn 65 after 2022 vouchers to buy insurance from private insurance companies. You can bet that, if these vouchers increase in value, it is not going to match the increase in the cost of insurance premiums. Therefore, these vouchers are going to steadily decrease in value while the patients' out-of-pocket expenses increase.
This scheme, as all Republican schemes, depends on competition to keep prices down. However, what insurance companies are going to be fighting each other to sell affordable policies to people over 65? Or any policies, for that matter?
If they do get policies, they are going to run into the pre-existing conditions rules of the insurance companies, since almost all of their treatments will be for pre-existing conditions. Rest assured, the Republicans are not going to force insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.
All this plan is going to do is leave seniors at the mercy of insurance companies, who have exhibited a total lack of mercy.
Brian Mulvey, Clearwater
A storm away from disaster
As Senate budget chairman for three years, I am familiar with the financial outlook of our state and with state programs that are fiscally sound or on the verge of financial failure. Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is a state program that is only one storm away from disaster.
That Citizens could face billions of dollars in losses and does not have the money to pay for its claims is the greatest financial threat facing our state's economy and overburdened taxpayers. Citizens will tax Floridians if and when it runs out of money.
Earlier this year, Citizens' executives testified the insurer had $11.3 billion in assets to pay claims this coming hurricane season, but losses from a very large hurricane could easily run more than $22 billion, with Florida taxpayers having to make up the $11 billion shortfall.
The Legislature is considering legislation that would encourage financially sound private insurance companies to write policies for Florida home-owners. SB 408 by Sen. Garrett Richter, and the companion HB 803 by Rep. John Wood, will be a crucial step in getting Florida back on a fiscally sound path that is not one storm away from the worst financial disaster in Florida history.
Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales
God, guns snatch spotlight from jobs April 27
Frogs or jobs
Finally our legislators are putting the 60-day session to good use. We now have a bill to designate the barking tree frog as our state amphibian. What a great subject of discussion for those waiting in the unemployment line. Now that the frog issue has been settled, is there any time left to discuss the 700,000 new jobs Floridians are awaiting?
Stacey Steinfeld, Seminole
Money for religion
HB 1471 provides for public funding of religious institutions. What a wonderful idea. For some time I have been looking for more ways to involuntarily give money to the Scientologists.
Maybe every one of the almost 10,000 different religions of the world will be able to belly up to the trough in Tallahassee for a helping of taxpayer money. The billions of dollars that religions receive in tax exemptions is not nearly enough.
While we're at it, why not give them the Medicare money? Who needs Medicare when we can have mega-prayer?
Joe Reinhardt, Pinellas Park
Ideas, not partisanship
Our country will face a fiscal catastrophe if Washington can't address our crushing debt. This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. We must work together.
Fortunately, some in Congress understand the urgency. For months, a bipartisan group of senators known as the "Gang of Six" has been working to produce a comprehensive plan to address the ballooning deficit. Their approach has earned the backing of No Labels, a new political group encouraging bipartisan problem-solving. The Gang of Six could issue their proposal as soon as this week, but already some on the left and right have begun their attacks.
As Congress weighs its next move, we need leaders to demonstrate real courage and political restraint. Let's hope our representatives give the Gang of Six a fair hearing. If not, we risk more hyperpartisan gridlock, which we can't afford.
Peter Rundel, Land O'Lakes
Verify workers are citizens
The Florida Legislature has the responsibility to protect law-abiding businesses and legal workers, not illegal alien workers and the businesses that employ them. Our elected officials should support the E-Verify language in House Bill 7089.
What is E-Verify? It is a free, successful federal program; it has been utilized in 15 states and is totally nondiscriminatory. The employers are required to confirm if their hire is an American citizen. E-Verify is simply about protecting jobs that belong to American citizens.
Over the past three years, the Florida Legislature has blocked 26 immigration bills. It needs to take seriously its responsibility to protect law-abiding businesses from the unlawful hiring of illegal alien workers.
For the benefit of our unemployed, contact your local representatives and senators.
Tom Tomlinson, president, Florida Population Connection, Palm City
Afghan officer kills 9 Americans at base April 28
Deaths deserved front page
Nine American soldiers died in Afghanistan Wednesday, and it didn't even merit a mention on the front page? Puff pieces about the royal wedding and the birther nonsense are more important that the lives of nine American soldiers?
Saleel Velankar, Tampa