August 02, 2018

Rubio wants to enact paid family leave by delaying social security benefits

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@alextdaugherty

Sen. Marco Rubio unveiled his plan to provide paid family leave for most working Americans on Thursday, an idea that would allow families to take weeks off work after having children in exchange for delaying social benefits at the time of retirement. 

"This is pretty significant reform, this is a dramatic change," Rubio said. "This is not something we intend to pass in a matter of weeks or days. I hope that by offering this bill we’ll start a conversation." 

Though Republicans are usually wary of adding new entitlements like paid family leave, Rubio says his plan passes the conservative smell test because it is paid for by families delaying their social security benefits instead of raising taxes. Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner plans to introduce a similar plan in the House of Representatives, though her plan would cut social security payouts by a small amount over a period of time to pay for family leave instead of lengthening the amount of time one would work until they can access federal retirement benefits. 

Rubio has worked closely with President Trump's daughter and White House advisor Ivanka Trump on a paid family leave plan for months, though Ivanka acknowledged Thursday that a paid family leave plan won't become law during this Congress. 

"I do believe there is one issue on which we all agree and that is we need to do everything we can to help our children," Rubio said. "It is hurting our children to have parents who are going into debt to spend more time with them." 

The Florida Republican said he's not worried that his bill would incentivize employers to axe existing paid family leave plans, arguing that only 15 percent of Americans receive such a benefit and that most businesses with paid leave plans are at the high end of the income and talent pool. If an employer cuts an existing paid family leave plan and they don't use the money to pay employees more they'll lose out to competitors, Rubio said. 

It's unclear whether Rubio's idea has the backing of Senate Republicans. The bill doesn't have any cosponsors and Rubio acknowledged he "got impatient" and introduced the bill to start a debate within the party. 

Democrats have also proposed paid family leave plans that would not cut social security benefits. Instead, plans like New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's would raise taxes to pay for it. 

Rubio's plan would apply to every working American and would allow mothers and fathers to share the benefit, and Rubio argued that extending the timeline for social security is a worthy tradeoff because more Americans are earning more money at the end of their careers than they are at the time they have children. 

"For the Republican Party it's a new issue, its an issue that’s traditionally associated with the Democratic Party and the left," Rubio said.

The U.S. is one of a handful of countries that does not provide paid time off for parents, though many countries only extend the benefit to mothers.

August 01, 2018

Rubio to introduce paid family leave plan

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via @learyreports

Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday will finally reveal his paid family leave proposal allowing parents to draw from future Social Security benefits.

"Our proposal would be a consistent application of Social Security's original principle — to provide assistance to dependents in our care — to the challenges of today," Rubio writes in a USA Today op/ed. He is introducing the bill with Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo.

Democrats have already criticized the plan, which Rubio has talked about for months, because it affects Social Security. People would delay future benefits in order to draw them for family leave.

"We appreciate that Sen. Rubio and Rep. Wagner are looking for a way to provide the paid leave America's families urgently need, but a program that only covers parents caring for new children, provides no leave for family care and personal medical needs, and forces parents to choose between paid leave and retirement security is absolutely the wrong way to go," said the National Partnership for Women & Families. "In fact, it is reckless, irresponsible and ill-conceived. This is a Social Security benefit cut for the working people who need Social Security the most."

Rubio pitches it as a conservative solution to an idea long advocated by Democrats.

"Like Social Security, the benefits under our plans would be most generous to working class families. Parents taking the option would receive monthly payments that will help cover costs like rent, groceries and new baby supplies during a time of significant income constraints," Rubio writes. "The benefit will also be transferable between parents in the household. And unlike other paid parental leave proposals, this option would be available to working and stay-at-home moms and dads alike."

Rubio was expected to introduced the bill earlier in July but that was delayed.

The idea, backed by Ivanka Trump, matches one promoted by the Independent Women’s Forum, which called for 12 weeks of paid leave per parent. To get that, an adult would defer Social Security retirement benefits by six weeks.

Rubio votes against defense spending bill amid China concerns

Marco Rubio 3

@alextdaugherty

Sen. Marco Rubio joined a small minority of the most liberal and conservative members of the U.S. Senate to vote against a massive defense spending bill named after ailing Sen. John McCain on Wednesday after Republican leaders declined to punish Chinese telecom giant ZTE, a company that ran afoul of U.S. sanctions against North Korea and Iran. 

Rubio voted against the yearly defense spending package along with nine other senators, eight of them Democrats including potential presidential hopefuls like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders who will likely use their opposition to military spending as a campaign issue in a future Democratic primary. 

It's the first time that Rubio has voted against a defense spending bill since joining the U.S. Senate. He missed a vote on the package in 2015 while running for president. 

"We got a lot of good things in it that we fought for, but the ZTE, the threat that China poses in my mind, overrides everything," Rubio said.

In June, the Trump administration announced that Chinese telecom giant ZTE will pay a $1 billion fine and fund an in-house compliance team staffed by U.S. experts after the company was caught shipping communications equipment to North Korea and Iran, and lied to U.S. investigators about it. The ZTE deal came after the Commerce Department announced a seven-year ban on ZTE buying American parts, an action that President Trump said would lead to "too many jobs in China lost."

Trump then instructed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to cut a deal, over the objections of Rubio and most lawmakers on Capitol Hill from both parties.

But Republican leaders recently took out a provision in the military spending bill that would have prevented ZTE from buying American technology in a rebuke to Trump. The decision was met with derision by some Republicans and Democrats, though it wasn't enough to sway most senator's votes. Instead, the bill includes a provision that limits government purchases of ZTE technology such as cell phones and handsets. 

"Sadly we failed this chin check," Rubio tweeted a few hours before the vote. "The U.S. saved as a goodwill gesture to Xi. And responded to this overly generous gesture of “goodwill” by blocking Qualcomm pur­chase of NXP Semi­con­duc­tors NV even after asked them for it in return. Learn the lesson!" 

Rubio said he's not worried about voting against a bill the the president pitches as a win for the military, saying service members and veterans understand why it was important to send a symbolic rebuke to China. 

July 27, 2018

Miami lawmakers plan to publicly rebuke Daniel Ortega for violence in Nicaragua

Nicaragua Unrest

@alextdaugherty

Daniel Ortega’s biggest foes in Washington are trying to draw more attention to Nicaragua’s ongoing human-rights crisis, though they acknowledge that military action by President Donald Trump against the leftist leader is unlikely.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Sen. Marco Rubio of Miami are leading efforts in the House and Senate to publicly rebuke violent attacks by masked gunmen linked to Ortega’s government who have killed 97 people since July 11. This week, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution written by Ros-Lehtinen that condemns the violence and calls on the use of sanctions for individuals that are connected to the killings. Rubio has proposed a similar resolution in the Senate.

The retiring Miami congresswoman said the successful resolution was the first step in a four-part plan to rebuke Ortega.

Additionally, she’s angling for the Senate to pass her bill that limits U.S. loans to Ortega’s government until the longtime president carries out democratic reforms; more sanctions for individuals who can be connected to violent acts against anti-Ortega protestors, and overturning the Trump administration’s decision to end a temporary immigration program that allowed 2,500 Nicaraguans to live and work in the U.S. without the fear of deportation.

“I would not want to compare atrocities, but Nicaragua is a smaller country than Venezuela, smaller population, and they had almost 400 people killed and the international community shrugs,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “If we’re going to say that it’s terrible in Nicaragua, why are we going to deport Nicaraguan Americans to Nicaragua when we are saying that it’s in political chaos?”

The Trump administration decided to end Nicaragua’s Temporary Protected Status in November 2017, a designation that was made in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch killed nearly 4,000 people and uprooted land mines around the country. Nicaraguans who have been living in the U.S. with TPS since 1998 now have until January 2019 to seek another form of legal residency or else return to Nicaragua.

“By next year, they will all be deported,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “These are law-abiding people, they are legal, they have permits to work, they’re being educated, they’ve got driver’s licenses and now we’re going to deport them to the violent hell that is Nicaragua? That’s just not right.”

Ros-Lehtinen’s letter to Trump urging him to change Nicaragua’s TPS designation was signed by four of Miami-Dade County’s five House members, including Republicans Carlos Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart. Miami-Dade is home to about one-third of all Nicaraguan Americans.

Rubio said there is already work being done to sanction individuals and entities in Nicaragua that are responsible for the violence. Ortega’s recent decision not to move up elections that were scheduled for 2021, as requested by the nation’s business community and Catholic clergy, moved him past the point of no return in Rubio’s eyes.

“There is a direct national security interest for the United States in seeing a return to democracy and stability in Nicaragua,” Rubio said in a statement. “The message from the U.S. to the Ortega regime was very clear: Call for early elections and allow legitimate elections. That did not happen. As Nicaragua follows Venezuela’s dangerous path, the U.S. should be prepared to take further action with our regional allies to address the threat of Ortega’s regime.”

Read more here.

July 17, 2018

Republicans say Rubio’s bill is the way for Congress to deter Russian meddling

Mueller

@alextdaugherty

Conservatives are lining up behind Marco Rubio’s plan to automatically sanction Russia for any future election meddling a day after President Donald Trump’s meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin drew widespread derision from the entire political spectrum. 

Trump supporters like Fox News host Laura Ingraham, moderates like Miami Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Senate leaders like Mitch McConnell have all expressed support for Rubio’s bill, signaling that Congress could pass substantive legislation that would swiftly punish Moscow if U.S. intelligence determines that the Kremlin tries to meddle in future U.S. elections. 

“There are some possibilities, Senator Rubio, for example, has got a bill that targets the 2018 election cycle we’re right in now which is, as I understand it, is potential penalties if the Russians do it again,” McConnell, who controls the U.S. Senate, said on Tuesday. “So yeah, there’s a possibility that we may well take up legislation related to this.” 

The push by conservatives for a bill that was introduced in January by Rubio and Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland comes a day after Trump and Putin met privately for two hours and the president said he believes Putin instead of U.S. intelligence over the extent of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The joint press conference sparked widespread outrage and condemnation from Democrats and Republicans, though Trump tried to walk back his comments on Tuesday by saying he misspoke. 

Rubio and Van Hollen’s bill, called the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act, is the first bill since the 2016 presidential election that sets specific punishments for the Russian government and other countries that interfere in U.S. political campaigns.

“Congress has already taken various steps when it comes to Russia and its interference in 2016, this will just be one moving forward that hopefully would deter future attacks, which I believe is the real threat here ultimately,” Rubio said on Tuesday. “It’s not what happened, but what could happen in the future. Hopefully we’ll get to a critical mass and momentum that we can get going on it and get it passed.”

Rubio’s bill, if passed, codifies specific penalties for the Russians that must implemented within 10 days if the Director of National Intelligence determines that interference took place.

The penalties include “sanctions on major sectors of the Russian economy, including finance, energy, defense, and metals and mining” and blacklisting every senior Russian political figure or oligarch identified in the Russian sanctions bill that became law in 2017 over the initial objections of Trump after a supermajority in Congress approved it.

The bill lays out specific acts by foreign governments that constitute election interference. Foreign governments are forbidden from purchasing advertisements to influence elections, using social and traditional media to spread “significant amounts” of false information, hacking election or campaign infrastructure such as voter registration databases and campaign emails, and blocking access to elections infrastructure such as websites that provide information on polling locations.

Read more here

July 16, 2018

Florida lawmakers blast Trump for not calling out Putin

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via @learyreports

Florida lawmakers on Monday blasted President Trump over taking Vladimir Putin's word that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election, a conclusion that stands in dramatic contrast to widely held views among the intelligence community and on Capitol Hill.

"I don't see any reason why" Russia would do that, Trump said in Helsinki.

"What the president said today is not accurate," Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said during an Atlantic Council event.

Florida Democrats were the first to react and in sharper terms.

"The president's refusal to acknowledge that Putin interfered in our elections should alarm us all," Sen. Bill Nelson tweeted. "Putin is a threat to our democracy and our upcoming election, that's a fact. The president's unwillingness to stand up to him and defend our nation is unacceptable and embarrassing."

"Today @RealDonaldTrump became an illegitimate president when he showed the world that his loyalty lies more with than the people of the United States," Miami Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson tweeted. 

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio did not directly criticize Trump but did say "Foreign policy must be based on reality, not hyperbole or wishful thinking."

Rubio was more specific during an Atlantic Council event.

"What the president said today is not accurate," the Florida Republican said, adding that "all I can speculate" is that Trump was trying to be nice to Putin to establish a better working relationship.

"The flaw is that Vladimir Putin is not interested in a better working relationship," Rubio said.

Miami Republicans Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen directly criticized Trump. 

"The President's comments in Helsinki were deeply alarming," Curbelo said in a statement. "Russia's meddling in the 2016 election is fact – and the recent indictment from Director Mueller and the evidence it outlines proves that. It is unacceptable that an American President not only stood there and said nothing while Vladmir Putin spewed fiction at that press conference, but also questioned the hard work and findings of American intelligence and law enforcement investigators. The U.S. relationship with Russia has deteriorated to its current state because of Russia's criminal interference in our elections, lack of respect for human rights, and invasive and militant actions against its neighbors and our allies around the world. Blaming it on anything else, is unacceptable."

"No, @POTUS. Mueller investigation on election manipulation by is not 'a disaster for our country,'" Ros-Lehtinen tweeted. "It is law enforcement doing work our country needs it to do. What has 'kept us apart' is failure to condemn Russia, lack of any sign that you’ll stop it from happening again." 

Miami Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart avoided directly criticizing Trump in his statement. 

"As our own intelligence experts and the House Intelligence Committee have asserted, Russia interfered in the United States' 2016 election just as it meddles in the elections of its neighbors," Diaz-Balart said in a statement. "Throughout the world, Russia is often on the opposite side of U.S. interests in crucial areas such as Ukraine, Syria, and Iran. Under Putin's charge, Russia has become increasingly undemocratic, expelling pro-democracy NGOs from its territory, suppressing independent media, ignoring human rights, and manifesting a perilous environment for journalists. We must remember that Russia is not an ally of the United States, and that those responsible for attacks on our democratic institutions must be held accountable."

July 11, 2018

Rubio symbolically rebukes Trump on tariffs

Marco Rubio

@alextdaugherty

Sen. Marco Rubio joined a majority of his Senate GOP colleagues to vote in favor of a symbolic resolution that would give Congress more power to check President Donald Trump's tariffs that are justified through national security concerns. 

Rubio and Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson voted in favor of a non-binding resolution by Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker that would require the president to receive congressional approval when enacting tariffs due to national security concerns, which Trump did last month when imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. 

The final vote was 88 in favor of the resolution and 11 against. The 11 "no" votes were all Republicans. 

Rubio has not directly criticized the Trump administration's decision to levy tariffs on U.S. allies, though he has been critical of the administration's decision to back away from tariffs on China. His office did not immediately respond when asked if he would have voted in favor of Corker's proposal had it been introduced as an actual bill instead of a symbolic resolution. Other Republican Senators who voted for Corker's resolution said they would not have voted for it if it was a bill with substantive trade policy implications. 

Trump's decision to levy tariffs on certain countries has drawn sharp criticism from a host of groups traditionally aligned with the GOP, though Republicans in Congress haven't moved forward with legislation on the issue after GOP leadership declined to bring Corker's bill up for a vote unless it was symbolic. 

A number of Florida industries, including boat manufacturers, fisheries, coffee producers and food manufacturers could be negatively impacted by tariffs imposed on China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They estimated that $713.4 million in exports from Florida could be affected by a trade dispute over tariffs. 

July 05, 2018

Trump sanctions top Nicaraguan officials for attacks on demonstrators

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@francoordonez

The Trump administration slapped sanctions Thursday on three top Nicaraguan officials - including an in-law of President Daniel Ortega — accusing them of human rights abuses, corruption and ordering attacks on peaceful protesters.

The sanctions come as Washington turns up the heat on Nicaragua, where more than 200 people have died in two months of anti-government protests.

"The United States will not stand by idly in the face of the abuses taking place in Nicaragua," a senior administration official said. "Rather we will expose and hold accountable those responsible for the Nicaraguan government’s ongoing violence and intimidation campaign against its people."

The U.S. Treasury Department is targeting three top officials for human rights abuses under the U.S. Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the executive branch to impose visa bans and targeted sanctions on individuals anywhere in the world responsible for committing human rights violations or engaging in corrupt activity.

The officials include Francisco Lopez, head of the private company ALBANISA, a joint venture between the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, PDVSA, and its Nicaraguan counterpart. They targeted Francisco Diaz, who leads the National Police and, critics charge, orchestrated the repression and killing of Nicaraguans. Diaz's daughter is married to Ortega's son.

They also targeted Fidel Antonio Moreno Briones, who the Trump administration said has directed attacks against demonstrators for years and is seen as the main link between the municipal government and the Sandinista National Liberation Front.

The sanctions means that that the targeted people don't have access to any property they have within U.S. Also, U.S. businesses or American individuals are prohibited from engaging in transactions with the sanctioned individuals.

"Under Francisco Javier Diaz Madriz’s command, Nicaragua's National Police has engaged in serious human rights abuse against the people of Nicaragua," Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman said. "Fidel Antonio Moreno Briones has directed acts of violence committed by the Sandinista Youth and pro-government armed groups which have been implicated in numerous human rights abuses related to the ongoing protests against the Nicaraguan government. Jose Francisco Lopez Centeno is the vice president of ALBANISA, the president of Petronic, and the treasurer of the ruling FSLN party and has been accused of leveraging his position to his and his family’s benefit by using companies they own to win government contracts."

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fl., and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fl., quickly welcomed the sanctions against the Ortega regime.

"Time is running out for Ortega to address the current crisis by holding early, free & fair elections," Rubio tweeted.

"As so many Nicaraguans exercise their rights to free speech and assembly, the violence in Nicaragua continues unabated with almost 300 people killed at the hands of the Ortega regime," said Ros-Lehtinen, who has introduced a resolution urging the Trump administration to impose more sanctions. "Though the State Department has rightfully imposed visa restrictions to some of Ortega's puppets, this resolution empowers the administration to go further to identify and sanction those who have engaged in acts of oppression in accordance with our laws."

Read more here.

Rubio wants to stop kickbacks that keep drug addicts perpetually in recovery

Rubio

@alextdaugherty

Marco Rubio is just as tired as you are of the ubiquitous commercial where a man in blue scrubs urges families beset by drug addition to call for treatment options.

As Congress seeks to stanch an ongoing, nationwide opioid crisis, the Florida Republican is trying to crack down on companies that make money every time a distressed parent or family member tries to find a drug treatment clinic to help a loved one become clean.

Rubio is set to introduce a bill in the next two weeks that prohibits drug addiction call centers from making money off every patient referral without verifying whether the treatment provider is reputable, and changing the system to reward companies that have a track record of getting people clean.

Currently, call companies can receive a small commission from the treatment centers for every caller they send their way, about $50, a pittance when various treatment clinics can reap $40,000 or more in insurance claims when someone goes through treatment for drug addiction. Unscrupulous treatment clinics can also tap into insurance money by routing addicts to labs that charge thousands for routine drug tests. The labs and "sober homes" where addicts reside while in recovery then get a cut of the insurance money in what amounts to a kickback.

The companies that run ads like the "man in blue" ad, a staple of late-night television, make money for every call they farm out to a treatment center, regardless of whether the caller ends up paying for treatment or if the addict becomes clean. Critics argue the companies that farm out calls to clinics aren't concerned with the patient's specific needs and best path to recovery.

Rubio said the current system treats addicts and their insurance plans as cash cows.

"Too many Americans suffering as a result of the opioid epidemic are exploited by illicit actors seeking to make a profit from addiction," Rubio said in a statement. "My bill will help stop the cash flow for middlemen involved in illicit sober homes and paid referrals. I remain committed to addressing this important issue that has left no part of the state untouched."

The kickbacks for government-run insurance plans like Medicare and Medicaid are already illegal. Rubio's bill would extend the anti-kickback provision to people who have private insurance, including Obamacare plans.

"The federal government has not done enough because this problem continues to be enabled and exacerbated by well-intended federal policies," said Palm Beach County state attorney Dave Aronberg, who has set up a task force to investigate the drug addiction recovery industry that flourishes in South Florida.

Read more here.

June 28, 2018

Report: Here's how Florida lawmakers, including Marco Rubio, ignited America's heroin crisis

The Palm Beach Post is out with a devastating series of stories about Florida's role in America's heroin crisis, citing little-seen data and interviews with officials from around the country.And few people look worse in it than Florida legislators - including Marco Rubio - for waiting a decade to crack down on dirty doctors and pill mills.

Post investigative reporter Pat Beall writes that their failure to act fed the nation's appetite for pills, making the nation's heroin crisis that much worse when Florida finally cracked down, in 2011.

(Full disclosure: this reporter worked on the series while at the Post.)

The stories are filled with fascinating nuggets about the history of Florida's opioid crisis and how it was viewed by officials in other states.

There's a lot to unpack, and the entire series is a must-read (seriously, click on it), but here are three highlights:

1. Marco Rubio killed a critical prescription drug monitoring program over "politics."

Florida had the chance to implement a program that would track overprescribing by doctors - considered a "silver bullet" against pill mills - but one person blocked it in 2002, early in the opioid crisis, according to the Post:

“And there was one person who was responsible,” said former state Sen. Burt, now an Ormond Beach insurance executive. “And it was Marco Rubio.”

A rising state lawmaker in 2002, now-U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio had the clout to make or break the legislation. He had been one of two state House majority whips and was on the fast track to becoming House speaker.

Rubio didn’t kill the 2002 bill out of opposition to prescription monitoring.

It was politics.

That year, Rubio favored a bill changing the Miami-Dade County charter, which failed to pass because of a single “no” vote in the Senate. Burt cast the vote.

Angered by what he saw as Burt’s betrayal, Rubio killed the prescription drug monitoring bill.

“When I found out he broke his word, it made the choice easy,” Rubio told The Miami Herald.

It's not clear whether the bill would have passed the Legislature anyway, and Rubio was hardly the only one who stood against it - lawmakers didn't roll out the program until 2011.

From 2002 to 2011, 35,000 Floridians would die after taking prescription opioids, the Post writes.

2. Kentucky went berserk when Rick Scott considered stopping the drug monitoring database in 2011.

Gov. Rick Scott considered stopping the database's rollout in 2011, and officials in Kentucky nearly lost it.

As much as 60 percent of the illicit oxycodone in Kentucky state flowed from Florida, the Post writes, and Kentucky Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo proposed erecting billboards at the Florida line: “Welcome to the Oxy Tourism Capital of the World.”

Federal lawmakers tried to intervene:

U.S. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, also from Kentucky, twice wrote Scott. “Canceling Florida’s prescription drug monitoring program is equal to firing firefighters while your house is ablaze,” he wrote.

And a small-county Kentucky sheriff was convinced Scott was on the take, and was warned to be quiet about it:

In Greenup, an infuriated Cooper told a reporter, “In my opinion, (Scott’s) getting money from somewhere. He has to be.”

A few days later, recalled Cooper, “A lieutenant with the state police I’d been talking to down there called me, said, ‘Man, just a head’s up: I wouldn’t come to Florida.'”

The database was saved by Attorney General Pam Bondi, who convinced Scott to leave it alone.

3. Florida's drug database curbed overprescribing - and led to heroin deaths across the country.

Much has been made about the arrests of pill mill doctors, but the Post's reporting suggests that the prescription drug monitoring program was the real reason that prescription opioids became hard to come by.

“When we look back at when the line (of heroin admissions) started going up, the prescription monitoring database is the inciting event,” Dr. Hansel Tookes, a former ER doctor-turned-professor at the University of Miami, told the Post.

And Florida's crackdown was felt across the nation:

Little-noticed DEA reports and federal court records show that by 2010, South Florida was a reliable oxycodone supplier to users and traffickers not only across the Southeast, but also in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions, an area encompassing half the United States.

And when Florida finally began shutting down its pill mill pipeline, users and addicts there did exactly what users and addicts did in Florida: They turned to heroin.

Academic studies, news reports and government agencies all have lauded the success of this state’s overdue efforts to shutter its pill mills.

None has documented — or even suggested — what The Post found: East of the Mississippi, as Florida-supplied oxycodone began disappearing, deaths tied to that and similar drugs started falling.

And simultaneously, deaths linked to heroin started rising.

Really, there's lots more to the must-read series.

And as a reminder, Florida  lawmakers still have not done much to help with the heroin crisis.