The Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act marks a critical victory for women's health and the health of all Americans. Because of this landmark decision, millions of women and families — many of whom previously had inadequate coverage or no coverage at all — will continue to have access to affordable, quality health care
At Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, we understand how this law will have an unprecedented effect on women's health. The law guarantees women direct access to ob/gyn providers without referrals and ends discriminatory practices against women, such as charging women higher premiums and denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
And in just six weeks, women will gain access to birth control without a co-pay. This will have a tremendous economic impact on already stretched family budgets.
Since August 2010, more than 45 million women have already received full coverage for preventive health screenings, including mammograms and Pap tests. Now with this ruling, 17 million more women will have access to health insurance for the first time. And millions more young adults will be able to stay on their parents' health insurance plans, just like the 3.1 million young adults who have done so since September 2010.
In Florida alone, 920,543 women of reproductive age will now gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act by 2014.
The increased access to preventive health care and family planning under the Affordable Care Act provides immeasurable economic value to women, families and society. Not only does every dollar invested in federal family planning save taxpayers and families nearly $4, but unintended pregnancies are already costing U.S. taxpayers $11 billion a year.
Barbara Zdravecky, president/CEO, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, Sarasota
Affordable Care Act
The law vs. politics
The Supreme Court has spoken on the merits of Obamacare. It seems that Florida's illustrious attorney general, Pam Bondi, and company need a refresher course in basic constitutional law. Bondi seems to have confused the law with the mandates of the Republican Party line.
Frank Gegunde, Tampa
Freedom of choice
What is wrong with the Supreme Court? It ruled that all Americans must purchase health insurance or pay a fine.
I am on unemployment, and due to my husband's pay we are just able to make all of our payments. Has this country become the Big Brother that I read about in the novels of my youth? The government basically took away our freedom of choice and is shoving this health care bill down our throats whether we can afford it or not.
It is those of us trying desperately to survive who will be hurt the worst.
Linda Schorel, Hudson
With the Supreme Court ruling to uphold Obama's signature health care law, along with its favorable ruling striking down three of the four provisions of Arizona's immigration law, President Barack Obama is now assured of a second term in office. Jobs are the only trump card Mitt Romney has left, and I suspect it will not be enough, particularly if the economy continues to improve into the fall.
Individuals have effectively been mandated what kind of health care they must have, and states have been barred from protecting their own borders from illegal immigration by this ruling.
Henceforth, as the federal government increases its stranglehold on individual and state rights, we can look to the day when we as a people will be pejoratively referred to as "the Socialist States of America."
Earl A. Myers Jr., Tampa
Court regains its standing
Everyone, on both political sides, complains that Republicans and Democrats can't get anything done. Thursday's decision got something done. It is reminiscent of Republican President Dwight Eisenhower's appointment of Chief Justice Earl Warren, whose court courageously decided that separate was not equal in the civil rights case Brown vs. Board of Education. This decision was not popular with many of Eisenhower's constituents, but it has proven its value.
Chief Justice John Roberts went above perceived political alliance to leave this positive imprint on his legacy. This decision gives a much needed boost to the standing and efficacy of America's third branch of government.
Robert F. Clifford, Tarpon Springs
President stalls reform | June 26, commentary
He can't be serious
Is Al Cardenas serious about "documenting the millions of immigrants already here"? When I was 7 years old I believed that we could lift the ice sheets off the poles and drop them in the deserts to grow food. I'm almost positive that I had the lesser of naive notions about what is possible in a nation of 314 million people throughout 50 states.
I am also somewhat mystified about his claim that Mitt Romney has "set forth critical policy positions on immigration reform." Really? That's great. When is he planning to tell the rest of us?
Christopher Jonathan Gerber, St. Petersburg
Lawmaker: No evidence information withheld | June 25
Can we dispense with the disingenuous outrage? I am suspect of executive privilege; while it may have its place, I didn't like it when George W. Bush used it (many times) and don't like it when Barack Obama uses it for the first time.
But for eight years of the Bush administration we heard theories, most vociferously espoused by Dick Cheney, about the supreme executive, which led to the assertion of privilege — we could not know what energy executives met with him — as well as executive orders and signing statements. Some feared, even then, this eerie echo of Richard Nixon's assertion that "when the president does it, that means it is not illegal."
It is unfortunate that President Obama, who espoused an open and honest presidency, has now asserted this privilege. But more disheartening and distasteful is the fake outrage of Republican lawmakers who once cheered Bush's exercise of executive power only to now view it as dictatorial.
Jack Darkes, Temple Terrace
Tropical Storm Debby
The vicious storm this week did one good thing: It managed to knock down many of the political signs.
David Miller, St. Petersburg
Term limits fight is back | June 28
Idea whose time has passed
Years ago, I supported the idea of term limits, but today I'm adamantly against them. As I've grown older, I've seen that they don't work. Take Tallahassee: We're no better off now than before term limits, but we spend much more on costly transition and training for new officials.
I hear constant demands that government be run "like a business." Well, how many successful businesses purge their most experienced and knowledgeable employees every eight years? Human resources experts say it takes three to five years for new employees to reach full competency. So, with term limits, the best we can hope for is five good years of leadership for every eight served. That's a pretty poor return.
I've seen far too many truly caring and wise leaders forced out because of these laws, which have done little to thwart corruption and improve our political climate. With all due respect to Mark Twain, not all politicians are like diapers.
Bob Lasher, Clearwater
St. Pete Pride
Learning to live in peace
On June 28, 1969, gay people in Greenwich Village, N.Y., decided they had suffered enough from the hate and bigotry of the establishment. They stood up for themselves and fought back. It became known as the Stonewall Riots, and since 1970 it is remembered in late June with pride parades all over the world.
Today the city of St. Petersburg will host its very own pride parade. It's important that we all take a stand for the rights of every citizen. Join the celebration. No matter your personal feelings or beliefs about homosexuality, there should be no room in our society for discrimination. There should be no room for hate or intolerance in our hearts.
Our goal should be to love everyone, no matter how different we may be from one another. Don't live in the past. But do remember it, and learn from it. Peace.
J. Larry McElveen, Safety Harbor