Armstrong gets new health agency job | March 17
A pinched concept of compassion
After recently losing his job as Florida's surgeon general, Dr. John Armstrong was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to serve as deputy secretary for administrative services with the Department of Health. As a result, Armstrong, who has colon cancer and is on administrative leave, will remain on the payroll and receive state health benefits.
After the Legislature did not confirm Armstrong as surgeon general, the governor exhibited compassion by allowing him to retain employment and maintain his health care in his hour of need. Meanwhile, as many as 600,000 Floridians are left without access to care because of the state's decision not to close the coverage gap.
The Affordable Care Act calls on states to expand access to state-sponsored health coverage for individuals who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($16,240 for an individual and $33,465 for a family of four). For the past three years, Scott and the Legislature have rejected calls for closing the coverage gap, leaving low-income working Floridians without access to coverage or care.
This past session, legislation was introduced (SB 629 and HB 856) that would draw down more than $71 billion paid by Florida taxpayers to the federal government to effectively close the coverage gap. Neither bill was heard by a committee even once during the 60-day session.
Scott's compassion toward Armstrong as he battles a life-threatening illness is commendable. If only he and his colleagues in Tallahassee could extend the same compassion to hundreds of thousands of our neighbors stuck in the coverage gap, they too would have the opportunity to live healthy, productive lives.
LuMarie Polivka-West, Tallahassee
The writer serves on the board of directors of Florida CHAIN, a statewide consumer health advocacy organization.
Trump is only a symptom
Marco Rubio lamented Donald Trump's rise in spite of his bad behavior: "This year it seems to work, for reasons I don't fully understand." Rubio and the leaders of the Republican Party have got to understand that Trump is not the major problem. Republican leadership, especially the hateful, bickering, do-nothing Senate and House, is the problem.
Trump is a symptom of that problem. Polls show congressional approval ratings hovering around 12 percent. As Trump continually and more deeply embarrasses the party in the media, he still thrives. That, coupled with the polls, clearly shows the disdain for the Republican establishment. Don't blame Trump as the problem. Blame yourselves.
Steve Wilson, Safety Harbor
Signs of dictatorship
How to tell when you've got a dictatorship on your hands:
When the news media is silenced for doing its job.
When protesters are threatened and beaten.
When the new leadership encourages violence.
When the public ignores all of this and blindly accepts the lies they're told by those seeking power.
When will they ever learn?
Dennis Bush, Tampa
Bondi's backing renews questions | March 13
Backers angling for jobs
So Pam Bondi is backing Donald Trump. That makes three prominent backers. My prediction is that if Trump wins the general election, Bondi will be made attorney general, Chris Christie will be vice president and Sarah Palin will be Trump's choice for the Supreme Court.
Steve Wilson, Safety Harbor
A simple political equation
It's a simple, two-step process: (1) Donald Trump donates $25,000 to And Justice for All, Pam Bondi's political committee; (2) Bondi refuses to investigate $40 million worth of fraud complaints against Trump University.
It can't get much more straightforward than that. Unless, of course, you want to question Bondi's redefinition of "all."
Richard Downing, Hudson
Trump's campaign of fear, hate | March 15, editorial
Not hate, just prudence
Judging by your editorial page, it seems your paper is anti-Trump. As one of many who side with Donald Trump, I think you have it all wrong. Trump is not promoting fear and hate but what is a reality in this country. We cannot afford to let everyone and anyone come to our country; we have people all around the world who wish to do us harm. If they indeed don't want to cause us harm, they should have no reason not to come in legally. I see no hate in that.
John George, Wimauma
I voted too early
It's interesting that mail-in ballots were sent out nearly two months ago. I voted right away and returned my ballot. Now, after seven or eight weeks of television coverage, I have changed my mind.
I wonder if that factor influenced the outcomes. At least a couple hundred thousand ballots were already received along with mine, I'm sure. Had I waited and voted Tuesday, my vote would have changed.
Shirley C. Moravec, Clearwater