Editorials excerpts from across the region …
The Columbus Dispatch, Aug. 18
Ohio lawmakers wanted more details about how expanding Medicaid could affect the state’s bottom line, and now that they have them, it’s good news: Enabling more poor Ohioans to have health insurance would, as previously reported, save the state money in the long term.
That good news won’t matter, however, unless the legislature enacts the Medicaid expansion, and so far this obviously beneficial path has been blocked by tea party Republicans for no reason other than ideological obsession. Some refuse to consider the expansion because it is part of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Republican Gov. John Kasich recognizes that whether one likes the law or not, it is the law, and his job is to make it work to the benefit of Ohioans. The expansion will make people healthier and save the state money, so Ohio’s leaders have an obligation to pursue it. …
Reforms such as better coordination of care are good for Medicaid recipients and taxpayers: People get healthier, so their lives improve even as their state-paid medical bills go down.
It’s reasonable to think those reforms can be sustained, and the pleasing scenario spelled out in the latest report — healthier people, fewer tax dollars spent — can be reality.
But it won’t come to pass until lawmakers put Ohio’s well-being before political point-scoring.
The (Martins Ferry) Times Leader, Aug. 14
Ohio University Eastern played host to a hearing that focused on the future of the Ohio Valley. The subject matter was coal, and the negative impact the Environmental Protection Agency and President Obama have delivered on that industry. …
Dozens of Ohio coal-burning facilities have been forced out of business in recent years. Several hundred have met the same fate throughout the nation.
Much of the demise is directly attributed to the suffocating restrictions imposed by the EPA, supported by Obama’s “War on Coal.” …
The loss of well-paying jobs that coal provides is a painful pill to swallow. It is made even more bitter when realizing that less coal means much higher electricity rates. …
Industry officials and supporters need to continue their passionate pleas with the hope that they will reach friendly political ears, reversing coal’s downward spiral.
Coal is a no-brainer solution to many of our nation’s problems. Unfortunately, Obama and the EPA do not have the sense to realize that.
The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune, Aug. 16
Taxes have gone up, not just for “the wealthy” but for every American who works. The national debt is approaching $17 trillion. Deficit spending still is reported in hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
But some liberals are saying federal spending cuts can be put on the back burner now, because government revenue has been increasing.
What kind of insanity is that?
Liberals’ new confidence was bolstered by a report that federal government revenue through June was up 14 percent in comparison to the same period last year. The trend is expected to continue.
It has prompted some liberals to suggest the “sequester” spending cuts be rescinded and that talk of other reductions in the size of government be dropped.
But some of the revenue increase is because the payroll tax break, benefiting all Americans who work, was allowed to expire in January. And, again, Washington continues to spend far more than it receives.
The problem still is that our government spends — and misspends — too much. That cannot be allowed to continue.
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Aug. 16
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s powerful speech in San Francisco before the American Bar Association, in which he announced that he would direct federal prosecutors to avoid charging low-level, nonviolent drug offenders with crimes that trigger mandatory prison sentences, should be encouragement for Congress to reform those harsh laws.
Time in prison ought to fit the crime, not just for drug offenders but for all felons.
According to Holder, the Department of Justice has too often pursued tough charges against minor-league drug offenders in a draconian war on drugs. Judges are then forced to follow harsh federal guidelines that put the guilty behind bars for years.
Currently, 47 percent of the nation’s 219,000 prisoners were convicted of drug crimes, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.
Holder said his new national policy requires that offenders who are nonviolent and not affiliated with street gangs be charged with offenses “better suited to their individual conduct” or turned over to their states for prosecution.
Joe Frolik, spokesman for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty, says that already is being done here in Ohio.
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