Medicaid expansion and Kings Ranch
Uninsured poor need a PAC
After reading that Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and House Speaker Will Weatherford have been taking hunting junkets and "fundraising for the party" paid for by Big Sugar, I realize that we have been making a big mistake in our approach for Medicaid expansion in Florida: The uninsured poor have not been sending Florida's lawmakers on any trips.
Perhaps all 750,000 uninsured people who have no medical help because some Tallahassee hunters have refused the expansion should send in a dollar to the "Medicaid Expansion Party." That money could then be used to send Scott and Weatherford on another hunting expedition, where they could wine, dine and shoot for as long as the money holds out.
Like with any junket, there would never be any pressure at all applied or even hinted at, but the hope would be that the politicians would then take a kinder view toward Medicaid expansion and change their minds about the value of all Floridians receiving health care.
It's worth a try, and if it doesn't work, the poor people of Florida will have only lost a dollar and will have at least gotten some politicians out of Tallahassee for a while.
Cecilia Yocum, Tampa
Dream cruise | July 20
Plan risks water quality
With a $2 billion cost for raising the Sunshine Skyway bridge and no maneuverability for these megaships at Channelside in Tampa, the concept under consideration is a Pinellas cruise port built on an artificial island erected from a massive dredging program.
The dredging required for this undertaking will certainly be a giant step backward for the sea grass recovery stewarded by Tampa Bay Watch and community volunteers. Thirty years ago the bay had recorded sea grass loss of 80 percent, and since then there has been steady recovery progress.
According to Swiftmud, the water quality in our bay continues to improve and is now better than at any time in the past 20 years. Sea grass provides a breeding ground for inshore fish and 80 percent of offshore fish species.
This cruise terminal would be located at the heart of the recreational fishery and has the potential to have a severely negative impact on Tampa Bay fishing and our quality of life. Recreational fishing is a $5 billion industry in Florida, so why not commission an economic study that compares the cruise industry to recreational fishing?
Quality recreational fishing requires clean water, and as you move farther south of Tampa Bay, the water quality gets better and better. For that reason, maybe I'll move farther south if they spoil our beautiful resource.
Richard Happle, St. Petersburg
Ranch exec sits on board | Aug. 1
Needed leadership skills
This recent article referenced Audubon's support for the appointment of Mitch Hutchcraft to the South Florida Water Management District governing board. Audubon is pleased with Hutchcraft's service. We find him accessible and open-minded. He meets frequently with environmental advocates and voted in favor of our top priority: approval of the Central Everglades Plan. Hutchcraft has also provided leadership on the governing board for budgets that will provide more money for water resource protection. Performance, not one's employer, should be the standard by which we evaluate our public officials.
Jane Graham, Everglades policy manager, Audubon Florida, Miami
Pasco County and immigrant children
Hypocrisy over Hondurans
Some Pasco County residents are upset that a tiny number of Honduran children are being cared for at a humanitarian shelter in the county. I have heard their arguments against caring for refugee children: "We have our own poor to take care of," or "American children are being killed on American city streets."
Both of these statements are factually true but are morally false. Jesus said: "But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
Furthermore, I doubt that the people making these arguments have ever cared for their fellow citizens who are poor or volunteered to shelter any American children from criminal violence.
I wonder whether there would be as much angst from these people if the children were coming from Canada and were of Northern European stock.
Susie Hoeller, Land O'Lakes
Top attorney warns Scott | Aug. 2
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's letter to Gov. Rick Scott regarding voting practices in Florida is more than justified. Just look at his record. In 2012, Scott instituted a voter purge list supposedly designed to eliminate illegal voters. In reality, it targeted Latinos and African-American voters and many election supervisors refused to comply. Scott ended early voting on Sundays, a day African-American voters historically voted after church services. Another rule under Scott bans voters from dropping off absentee ballots at libraries and other previously allowed places. Holder's letter isn't pure politics, as stated by Scott. It's pure common sense based on Scott's record of voter suppression.
Deborah Green, Sun City Center
Investment and innovation
Health care and high-tech
Community Health Charities of Florida represents more than 60 charities with missions to raise awareness of and treat a variety of diseases. Monitoring symptoms is a critical aspect of treatment, and fortunately, it's getting easier. People who suffer from diseases don't need to spend as much time at a doctor's office. Instead, they can monitor their symptoms and communicate with their doctors through apps on their mobile phones and other remote technologies.
To realize the full potential of health IT, we need a regulatory climate that encourages investment and innovation. I'm encouraged by the undertaking in the House Energy and Commerce Committee to update the Communications Act and hope that Florida's congressional delegation will take an active role in this effort.
Joe Crozier, president and CEO, Community Health Charities of Florida, Jacksonville