- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:


Oct. 9

Opelika-Auburn News on the possibility of Roy Moore becoming a senator:

The rule of the law will be the same for Roy Moore if he is elected to the U.S. Senate.

There are constitutionally backed laws and procedures, and he will be expected to follow them.

Can Roy Moore do that?

Do the voters in Alabama care?

If he is elected, as many predict he will be in this Red state, care we had better, because otherwise our state is headed for nothing but stagnant limbo if Moore can’t manage to find other senators, lawmakers and policy-setters to work with him.

It’s not an executive-branch office he is seeking, as did Donald Trump with the White House. Instead, it is membership to a club, a club that governs with votes; and right now, that club has a skeptical eye cast toward Roy Moore.

That could be a problem for a state that desperately needs representation that will be respected.

There is great fanfare and now more of a national spotlight on Moore, or the “Ten Commandments judge,” as many seem to prefer calling him.

We here in Alabama know the story. Moore grabbed headlines on more than one occasion by taking populist stands sure to gain votes and just as sure to defy laws and dare the mean ole establishment to do something.

Alabama voters like that kind of thing.

Headlines such as firmly planting a Ten Commandments monument on public property or urging clerks to disregard federal laws and mandates regarding same-sex marriage do much for moral arguments, but much less in respect for the law.

Laws that twice have led to Moore being stripped of his job, although many critics feel he took the stands he did as an opportunistic political play to become a voter hero.

And it worked.

However, Alabama cannot afford for his “strike three” to come in the U.S. Senate, as the state already has endured enough embarrassment with its recent history of criminal indictments and scandals in high offices of supposed leadership.

We need our next senator to fully understand just how important it is to fulfill the many countless needs we have of that so-important office, and it starts by merely being able to keep the job.

Can Roy Moore do that this go-around?

His election is not a sure thing just yet. Moore still must defeat Democrat Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 general election to fill the Senate seat.

There is enough backlash to President Trump and enough head-shaking at Roy Moore becoming the GOP’s Senate candidate that Jones actually could garner a surprising share of the votes. But it would require a huge upset to win, otherwise leaving Moore in the role.

If that happens, Moore certainly will have a chance to have an influence on Capitol Hill.

Given his history, however, that influence could turn negative, and it could cost Alabama.

Let’s hope Roy Moore understands what winning the role of U.S. senator could mean in actual responsibility, not just in carrying a meaningful yet single banner of moral proclamation that goes only so far in the shark-frenzied waters of Congress.

Congress, we all can attest, certainly needs more good influence, but it first must respect the source.

Roy Moore, like it or not, must follow the rule of the law to get the job done.

So far, he’s not been willing to do that, and we will get nowhere if that history repeats itself.

Can Roy Moore do this job?

It likely won’t take long to find out.

Online: https://www.oanow.com/


Oct. 9

Decatur Daily on child health care:

Stephanie Azar, Alabama Medicaid commissioner, sounded a warning a few days ago that should concern everyone.

She said Congress has thus far failed to provide funding for the Medicaid program used by the state to provide health care services to low- and moderate-income children. Unless the money comes through by the end of the year, there is a good possibility coverage will be cut for tens of thousands of children.

In Morgan, Lawrence and Limestone counties, almost 8,000 children could be affected, according to state statistics.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired at the end of September without reauthorization by Congress.

Alabama has several levels of coverage for children who qualify. The CHIP funding pays for two groups of children and teenagers - about 81,000 in a program called All Kids and 75,200 children on Medicaid. Unlike other Medicaid recipients, these children’s care is 100 percent funded with no state contribution.

The children on Medicaid can’t lose their federally mandated coverage, though the state could be forced to pay for a portion of it if CHIP funding isn’t continued at its current level. That’s not the case for the slightly higher-income All Kids participants, who could lose coverage.

There is a reprieve, but a short one. Azar said good stewardship of the money created a reserve, allowing coverage “at least through February.”

About $165 million in CHIP money was spent on Medicaid recipients in 2016, and about $198 million was spent on children in All Kids, state officials said. Without CHIP being reauthorized, officials said All Kids would have to be dismantled.

Congress has been in a state of disarray for years, and it’s only getting worse. The slender Republican majority in the Senate twice has tried - and failed - to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and is now focused on passing a massive tax bill that is meeting stiff Democratic opposition because of tax cuts for the wealthy.

The Alabama Legislature’s performance in recent years has been worse. Services have been cut to the bone, and there is no new money from the usual sources. Alabama’s recovery from the 2008 recession has been slower than most states’ recoveries, in part because of an antiquated tax system.

Providing health care protection for vulnerable children should be a priority for lawmakers.

Online: https://www.decaturdaily.com/


Oct. 9

The Gadsden Times on incorrect STD numbers for an Alabama county:

We didn’t just climb on our soapbox in our Sept. 28 editorial; we stomped around a bit while we were up there.

The reason for our consternation was a report on sexually transmitted diseases from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that showed Etowah County led the nation in per capita cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in 2016.

A St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter first reported that story, having monitored the CDC’s data to see if her city, which had held that “distinction” (we’re not going to sully the word “honor” even in jest) for much of the last decade, would finally get some relief.

The fact that it apparently was replaced by a tiny county in Alabama (the tiniest in acreage, even though its population ranks in the top 20 percent or so) was downright attention grabbing.

It turns out that attention was misplaced.

Pardon us for a second while we revisit one of Rodney Dangerfield’s memorable comedy routines. Dangerfield went off on a riff about a lost motorist asking someone for directions, who became despondent (and probably felt disrespected) after hearing “Oh, you’re WAY off” in response.

The CDC’s numbers weren’t just wrong; they were “WAY off.”

Somehow, Etowah County was credited with more than 8.2 times the cases of chlamydia and 13.1 times the cases of gonorrhea that actually were reported here last year. Like we said, “WAY off.”

So what happened? The Alabama Department of Public Health on Friday, in announcing the correction, said there was an issue in the “translation” of state and county data between it and the CDC, possibly linked to the implementation last year of a new STD surveillance system.

The ADPH said its STD and information technology divisions are working to diagnose the problem and prevent it from happening again.

We certainly hope so.

Look, we’re not going to hammer anyone, even bureaucrats, for what we’ll call an honest mistake until we see evidence otherwise.

We’re also not going to crawl up Broad Street in penance, or expect our compatriots in St. Louis to do the same on First Street there, for reporting or commenting on the facts that were in evidence at a given moment.

It all got sorted out and fixed; let’s move forward.

We’re just concerned that someone in Etowah County dealing with an STD - a situation that already carries a stigma of embarrassment - might have been dissuaded from seeking help by the furor over this error and its correction.

That doesn’t need to happen. The discussion we proposed between various entities about how to deal with STDs still does, however, because one case is too many in the 21st century.

The subject shouldn’t be stashed back in the closet just because, thankfully, Etowah County isn’t No. 1.

Online: https://www.gadsdentimes.com/

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