- Associated Press - Monday, June 26, 2017

Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

The Columbus Dispatch, June 25

When Republicans campaigned last year on a pledge to “repeal and replace Obamacare,” they failed to add, as has become obvious, “with something just as flawed.”

Senate Republican leaders released their draft last Thursday of the much-anticipated revision of the health-care law after crafting their plan behind closed doors - and ignoring the concerns of governors and other stakeholders - in order to rush through a vote in time to go home for their July 4 recess.

Senators want fireworks? They’ll see them. The health and well-being of millions of American depend on Congress getting this right. Instead the Senate GOP plan trades one divisive, partisan and ill-vetted health-care overhaul for another.

No one suggests the Affordable Care Act could not be dramatically improved. Parts of it were economically unworkable, but it is the uncertainty created by the impending Republican repeal that has accelerated the exodus of insurance companies from participating; in as many as 20 of Ohio’s 88 counties, residents won’t have a single insurer willing to sell to them a plan on the exchange in 2018.

What the Affordable Care Act did accomplish, and spectacularly, was to establish the expectation that all Americans have a right to accessible and affordable health care. The ACA has proven to be neither for many, but Republicans did promise to come up with something better. …

The GOP will live with the legacy of this bill for decades to come. After years of whining, is this the best they can do? A replacement plan should improve affordability, restore certainty and stability to the insurance markets, encourage innovation and thin regulations. And it should be done with full transparency and open debate to ensure a sustainable and successful reform.

Online: https://bit.ly/2tcm0xN

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The Newark Advocate, June 23

The fact that Ohio is in the middle of an opioid addiction crisis is not in dispute.

With thousands of residents dying from these drugs every year, the epidemic has reached everywhere from urban cores to rural farm towns.

Yet some recent proposals by our state legislature draw into question how seriously they take this problem.

A state Senate proposal would provide $176 million to help fight the problem, which sounds good on its surface. The problem is to get that money, the state would strip $35.3 million from cities who currently levy an income tax.

Taking money from communities who are on the front lines of the addiction crisis is wrongheaded. No amount of state programming can make up for the potential loss of firefighters or police officers whose response times are the difference between life and death for an overdose victim. …

In addition, Republican legislators in Ohio seem committed to eliminating the Medicaid expansion pushed by Gov. John Kasich. House and Senate plans differ in the details, but in reality, they would both eliminate the ability of many Ohioans to get access to health care. The expansion is estimated to have provided insurance for more than 700,000 in Ohio. …

Yes, Medicaid expansion is not free, especially when there are questions as to whether the federal government will continue to pay for it under President Trump as it did under President Obama.

But without a thorough, funded plan to battle opiate addiction more Ohioans are going to die, more families are going to be destroyed and more communities are going to be damaged. These deaths have a cost too. …

Online: https://ohne.ws/2tcnSGL

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The Cincinnati Enquirer, June 22

A 20-something Otto Warmbier was accused of making a mistake in 2016 in a hermit-ruled country that overzealously punished him for the “crime” of removing a poster from a wall.

Warmbier, of Wyoming, was buried in Springdale last Thursday after being sent home in a coma - 17 months after he arrived in North Korea.

The last public image of him showed him being taken away by stern-faced law enforcement officials, but there is a better image of Warmbier that is important to note. Many accounts show him to be a friend to the downtrodden, class president, and a bright and accomplished son on whom his parents doted.

He did not deserve to die for the “crime” he committed.

Moving forward, the Trump administration will have to figure out how to handle relations with North Korea, which continues to provoke by testing ballistic missiles, thumbing its nose at international law and conducting nuclear tests. North Korea gets most of its economic support from China through means that skirt traditional economic systems. …

The United States can work with China to place more pressure on North Korea, possibly through economic sanctions. President Donald Trump has not ruled out military action against North Korea, but has been careful in discussing plans publicly, a practice that has become routine in previous administrations.

Meanwhile, there are many questions that remain to be answered, including how Warmbier came to be in a vegetative state, his exact cause of death and how the United States will respond to an irrational country with nuclear capabilities and a hair trigger.

Online: https://cin.ci/2sZ2pBQ

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The (Findlay) Courier, June 23

Ohio has enough wind to generate electricity on a large scale, but the state has not exactly welcomed new business. The setback rule for wind turbines is the most restrictive in the Midwest and among the most restrictive in the country.

That has discouraged companies from investing here.

For the sake of business and those landowners who aren’t opposed to alternative energy in their backyard, Ohio’s setback should be reduced. That will happen if Sen. Cliff Hite’s amendment to the state budget bill survives the next several weeks of fine tuning. …

Currently, wind turbines must be about 1,300 feet away from the property line of an adjoining landowner, unless they waive the rule.

That minimum standard, established in the 2014 budget bill, more than doubled the previous setback of 550 feet, and greatly reduced the number of turbines a developer could place within a project area.

Hite’s amendment would put the mark at about 600 feet, a figure supported by the American Wind Energy Association and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. …

Hite’s proposal would help restore Ohio as a wind-power friendly place to do business, provide an additional revenue source for some farmers, and bring new investment and jobs to the state.

Online: https://bit.ly/2tWF8wR

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