Dose of reality Although I truly love Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, who has a brilliant future, I also care for the 1 million uninsured, deserving residents of our state. Political ideology has no place in legislation when it comes to the health care of our needy citizens.
To ignore the $430 million in savings to Florida taxpayers at the expense of our uninsured is simply not a perspective worthy of elected representatives charged with serving their constituency. To further burden the already overtaxed residents of our great state by adding $237 million to their taxes by the implementation of an ill-conceived plan that only covers a small percentage of the uninsured is the opposite of good governing.
We suffered the previous return of funds to the feds, for beneficial use by other states, in the high-speed rail issue. Now, there are those who would refuse the $55 billion in federal funds that would cover Florida’s uninsured, including the current medically needy, at no increase in taxes to our citizenry, while claiming to serve the public to the best of their ability. Indeed, some would sell us the Brooklyn Bridge if we were that gullible.
The bottom line is that Sen. Joe Negron’s plan benefits the uninsured population, covers the medically needy and spares Florida taxpayers while improving the health and welfare of residents who are most in need. Myopic vision caused by ideology can be cured by a good dose of fact and reality, and it is time to administer it to the House of Representatives.
Health care should never be a political football game when the lives of people are at stake.
Austin R. Curry
Elder Care Advocacy of Florida
Texting law unnecessary There is talk of making it illegal to text while driving in Florida. Such a law isn’t necessary. With the possible exception of a GPS, using any device that requires a driver to visually focus on the device and not the road should result in the charge of careless and/or reckless driving. This would include the use of a cellphone for texting, a computer or other such device that requires visual focus, reading a map or other material, and even applying makeup. Driving requires continuous visual focus on the road and nothing else.
Law enforcement should start ticketing drivers who are not paying attention to the road because they’re too busy texting or otherwise focusing on something other than the road. Careless, and in some cases reckless, driving would be the legitimate charge. Such violations, coupled with the accompanying increases in insurance rates should reduce the incidents of distracted driving. Distracted driving is impaired driving.
Bill not strong enough Last week the state Senate unanimously approved a bill that makes texting while driving a meaningless secondary offense. It represents nothing more than a slap on the wrist. If and only if you are pulled over for doing something other than texting, you could be cited for texting while driving and face a paltry $30 fine.
What kind of deterrent is this to keep drivers off the phone and focused on the road? And what kind of legislators, who were armed with horrific stories of many texting tragedies, do we have who would allow a law that is weak and inefficient? Is this the best they can do? I think not!
Life of constant challenges April is Autism Awareness Month. One in 55 children born today (mostly males) will be diagnosed with this debilitating neurological disorder, usually diagnosed by age three. This insidious disorder robs these individuals and their families of a normal life, for the victims probably will never be able to live on their own, handle their finances, drive a car, marry or do anything else that we all take for granted in life.
Per the Autism Society of America, more than 1.5 million Americans have an autism spectrum disorder, and less than 50 percent of students with a disability will graduate with a regular diploma. It is estimated that care over a person’s lifespan can cost $3.2 million each. Only 21.9 percent of all adults with disabilities are ever employed. Sadly, 47,000 new families start their lives with an autism diagnosis each year. There is no known cause and no cure. The emotional toll this disorder takes on victims and their families, who worry about who will take care of them when they are gone, cannot be calculated. It is overwhelming.
The brain-mapping that President Obama is attempting to fund to help find causes and cures for Alzheimer’s and autism is promising, but in our 23-year-old son’s lifetime, there may never be a known cause or cure. I cannot explain the depth of sadness that comes with a diagnosis of autism for a child. Again, since it is diagnosed early in life, compared to Alzheimer’s disease, the sadness, hopelessness and despair that you feel when you realize your child will virtually have no life as you and I have fortunately experienced can be incapacitating.
When you see a normal-looking child or young adult who acts strangely, (flailing fingers, yelling, etc.) please do not laugh, belittle or bully. Every day is a work in progress, and we are doing our best to ensure that our children are as happy and fulfilled as they can possibly be, under the most adverse of circumstances. If you can spare some money, please donate to Autism Speaks or the Autism Society of America, which are working hard to find causes and cures.
Mary Shofi Volpe