YOUR DAILY WEEKLY READER: Medicaid madness, Weatherford with you, DCF's decline



STOP ME IF YOU THINK THAT YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE. JUST A REMINDER: PEOPLE ARE DYING QUICKLY: “After a year and a half of sickness, Mark Heath found his entire life confined to a few boxes stacked in a spare room of a house he didn't even own. He picked up a Merchant Marines flag sprawled like a rumpled blanket on top of one of the boxes. Once the banner proclaimed the ship captain a “truck driver of the seas” and fluttered at his Panama City home. As a sailor, he said he carried freight for the federal government, doing a stint cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But on this day, he stood next to a kitchen table covered with prescription pill bottles and recalled when he learned he had a heart condition. Now, he found himself as the human face of a political battle over to what degree — if any — that the state should provide health care to poor, single adults. Since being diagnosed, Heath, 50, said he sold a boat his family owned since he was 9, lost his house to the bank and pawned most of his possessions. He kept a thick stack of receipts in a manila folder. He was on his fourth residence since he lost his home, staying at a friend's house in Edgewater. He worried he was quickly overstaying his welcome. “I ain't got nowhere to hang my flag,” Heath said. “Bad luck. Bad timing. I wish I had died that day. This has been horrible. What have I done to be thrown to the side of the road like this?’” (via Daytona Beach News-Journal)



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DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT. ALSO, CALL ME, MAYBE? “As he looks ahead to an uncertain future, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford wants to be remembered as a compassionate conservative who promoted the hopes of the working class with measures like lower auto tag fees for all and in-state tuition for undocumented children. ‘This is a session that cut taxes for every Floridian,’ Weatherford said Friday night. "This is the session that created educational opportunities for more children." Yet the Pasco County Republican may best be remembered for what he didn't do: expand Medicaid, leaving at least 750,000 Floridians without affordable health care. His sunny, upbeat conservatism was supposed to be an antidote to the win-at-all-costs brinksmanship of his predecessor, Dean Cannon. But the publicly unflappable 34-year-old didn't hesitate to retaliate against those who got in his way.mIn mid March, Sen. Greg Evers, R-Pensacola, gave a news conference with union groups and declared that it would "snow in Miami" before the Senate would go along with Weatherford's plan to put more state workers' retirement funds into private hands. Weatherford didn't like the forecast. ‘It was out of order,’ he said Saturday, the day after session. ‘It was rude.’” (via Tampa Bay Times)


IF ANYONE SHOWS UP: “Voters in west Orlando Tuesday will pick their first new city commissioner in 16 years, and the two candidates who want the job have been making a last-ditch scramble for votes. The runoff election pits political newcomer Regina Hill against attorney Juan Lynum, the heir-apparent for the City Council District 5 seat now held by his mother, four-term Commissioner Daisy Lynum. The election may come down to the clear differences between the candidates and which approach voters in District 5 prefer. Lynum represents the approach taken by his mother and has said he'll carry on her legacy while fighting for more investment in the district and jobs for those who live there. Lynum said he has been sharing his experience with voters. He also doesn't think his opponent is fit for office, given her past.m"Today is a last-minute pitch to the voters, distinguishing between me and my opponent," Lynum said Monday. "I'm an honest attorney who has been practicing in Orlando for years, running against a career criminal who's been arrested 21 times." Hill had her civil rights restored after her arrests, which included a felony cocaine conviction. She calls those arrests mistakes of her past and says she is more in touch with the downtrodden residents of the district because she has walked in their shoes. She also said she'll bring more jobs and vocational training to the district, which has more poverty and unemployment than the rest of Orlando.” (via Orlando Sentinel)


OK, TO BE CLEAR, THERE’S ACTUALLY A DISCUSSION ABOUT WHETHER DCF SHOULD BE TRANSPARENT? WHILE BABIES DIE? OH, OK: “Just days after the Miami Herald reported that the Department of Children and Families had shut down the the flow of information about a string of child deaths under its watch, the agency's new secretary has released a memo that promises to share more information with the public. Entitled "Vision for Transparency and Reporting of Child Deaths," the one-page memo released today by Interim Secretary Mike Carroll orders the DCF's assistant secretary Pete Digre to create a position within the Office of Child Welfare "to oversee reporting, data gathering and response to child deaths." He said he expects the position to be filled within a month and once it is, "all child deaths will be reviewed by the department to quickly identify the salient issues that will help inform and shape local prevention strategies." The memo also makes this claim: ‘These reviews must be documented in a way that can be shared with the public without violating confidentiality.’”(via Miami Herald)


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