Nelson on HCR
So-called "winners" in the HCR fight include "beneficiaries of Medicare Advantage plans - the private managed-care plans within Medicare - in Florida. Hundreds of thousands of them will have their benefits grandfathered in thanks to a provision tailored by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., that also affects a much smaller number of seniors in a few other states." "Who wins, who loses in Senate health bill".
Jeremy Wallace: "When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dropped a Medicare buy-in provision to the latest health care reform bill, he likely secured Sen. Bill Nelson's support when the package goes for a vote of the full Senate this week."
Nelson, a Florida Democrat, publicly questioned the Medicare buy-in provision that would have allowed people between 55 and 65 to buy into Medicare early. That provision was seen as a final effort to offer some semblance of a public option that some Democrats had been pushing."Getting Florida's Nelson to vote for the health bill".
But Nelson feared the expanded Medicare provision would be too costly to taxpayers.
With that provision now gone, Nelson has said he will likely vote for the bill this week, even though his earlier attempts to amend the legislation failed. Nelson had proposed a measure to allow people to buy prescription drugs from other countries, such as Canada, where drugs are often cheaper.
Nelson's amendment failed.
Randy Schultz wonders if "will Florida get smart enough to abolish the death penalty?"
Business groups have joined the departments of Corrections, Juvenile Justice and Children and Families in calling for major changes in how Florida administers criminal justice. They want more rehabilitation behind bars and more support for newly released inmates. They want diversion programs for addicts who commit crimes because of their dependency. They want prison reserved for the dangerous, not the annoying.Schultz continues:
All of it makes sense, so it may be lost on a Legislature that slurps up federal stimulus money while denouncing the federal stimulus program. Landmark reform, too, would mean touching the untouchable issue of capital punishment.
Florida offers the best explanation for that caution. No state has released more Death Row inmates (23) because of exoneration. Another died of cancer before he could be released. No juror wants to worry that he or she might have sent an innocent person to his death. ...Much more here: "Kill the death penalty"
Every objective study shows that life imprisonment costs much less than sentencing someone to death, because of the costs for lawyers who handle specialized, complex death penalty appeals. To Jeb Bush, the answer was to limit the number of years during which an inmate could appeal. The Florida Supreme Court shot him down. Good thing. Under Mr. Bush's 10-year limit, Florida would have killed people before they could be exonerated.
"1.6 million poor children"
"While the nation waits for Congress to vote on massive health-care reforms, advocates for 1.6 million poor children in Florida are pinning their hopes on a Miami federal judge." "Court to hear Medicaid reimbursement lawsuit".
"Especially in Florida"
"Home prices may be falling, but many Americans are spending a bigger portion of their incomes on housing, especially in Florida. The Sunshine State ranked second among all states for its share of severely cost-burdened working families, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Housing Policy." "For Floridians, gap grows between home prices, incomes".
"Feds investigate possible campaign violations by lawyers at Rothstein's Fort Lauderdale firm".
Bill Cotterell writes that some people have "convinced themselves that every state agency could be cut anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent without hurting services. ... they indicate that many people don't perceive the government doing anything for them, personally, so they don't see why they should pay taxes for all of it."
In theory, they have a point. There are people who don't have children, at least none in public schools, so they feel they shouldn't pay for education. That view is heard often in Southeast Florida among retirees, many of whom spent their productive years in other states (states with income taxes) and now have come down here feeling entitled to as free a ride as possible."Public dislike of state employment is understandable. Bob Graham, when he was governor, said it's partly due to unhappy customer contact. For most people, the only time they notice state government is when a trooper writes them a ticket, when they have to apply for a permit or when they're paying for some needed service."
But do those people benefit from living in an educated community? From having a trained work force? Never mind, if I don't see an immediate, tangible and direct benefit, I don't want to pay for it.
Most taxpayers, even in government-oriented Tallahassee, don't think about the accuracy of a gas pump or the cleanliness of a meat counter as something state government assures. When your insurance company pays a claim, you don't wonder what it might do if not for state regulators. ..."Critics love to see cuts in government".
Most of the criticism is anecdotal: I went to renew my auto tag and saw three employees chatting while people waited, or, I used to work in an office where they made up statistics to justify hiring more and more people every year.
So that proves all of state government — not to mention the city, county and Washington — is made up of a bunch of incompetents. But you could probably find the same things in any large business operation.
Does anybody ever say, "Oh, yeah, computer technicians — you know how lazy they are ..." or, "Well, what can you expect from an insurance company? Bunch of over-paid loafers just watching the clock ..."?
Readers who click on the comment line to gloat or laugh every time we have a story about state or local government cutting back — do their employers or customers have such contempt for them? Are the shops, factories or offices where work recklessly overstaffed, charging far too much and producing almost nothing?
Then why do they think it's that way in government?
"Crist, GOP challenger Marco Rubio, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek are among the candidates expected to address the nation's most powerful Cuba lobby, the US-Cuba Democracy PAC, on Monday in Coral Gables." "Fla. Senate candidates to meet at Cuba forum".
State Farm drops its threat
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Florida's consumers scored a significant victory last week when State Farm dropped its threat to walk away from this market. The company decided instead to continue to write policies under a much smaller rate increase than it first requested -- or should we say demanded?" "Insurance consumers win one -- at a price".
Another fine Jebacy
The Daytona Beach News Journal editors ask, "How religious is too religious?"
The Florida Supreme Court ducked that question in the 2006 case of Bush v. Holmes. The court ruled that state-funded vouchers for tuition at private schools, many of which were operated by churches, put the state in violation of its constitutional duty to fund a "high quality system of free public schools." But the court was reviewing a decision by the 1st District Court of Appeals, which had overturned vouchers on a different point -- saying the state couldn't give money to schools that incorporated religion as part of their mission."The line between".
That same appellate court decided last week to allow a lawsuit against the state Department of Corrections that questions whether the department crossed that line when it funded two faith-based substance-abuse programs for probationers leaving prison. The decision came after oral arguments in October, in which a three-judge panel asked pointed questions of the lawyer defending the contracts with Prisoners of Christ Inc. and Lamb of God Ministries Inc.
"They're getting $20 a day for each offender that . . . clearly provides for religious indoctrination. Why isn't that aid directly for a religious purpose?" Senior Judge Edwin B. Browning asked Assistant Attorney General Timothy Osterhaus, representing the Department of Corrections. ...
By forcing the Department of Corrections to establish contracts with faith-based groups, lawmakers set up a nearly unavoidable court battle. But they could easily resolve this problem by changing the law that created the prison-based programs.