Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Opinion
Every day, hundreds of sick and injured patients walk into free and charitable clinics around the Tampa Bay area in need of a doctor.Many are suffering from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Some patients were referred to the clinics by staff at hospitals where they landed after years of neglecting to care for treatable conditions.The clinics allow the patients to pay what they can, or nothing at all. They are staffed by doctors and nurses who volunteer their time. They survive off donations and small grants.Many of the patients have jobs but they are living paycheck to paycheck. None have health insurance, either because they do not qualify for Medicaid or can’t afford private coverage. For these patients, the clinics are often their only option for primary care.

Lawmakers Should Grab Health Care Deal

Even more than usual, health-care issues are some of the most important coming before the Legislature this year. At the top of the list is the chance to expand Medicaid, thereby providing coverage to 1 million uninsured Floridians at little to no cost to state taxpayers, the Orlando Sentinel writes.

Other issues that merit attention: improving mental health funding and getting rid of local hospital taxes.