Much like families around the country, states need to balance their budgets, too. If they spend too much on one program, they can’t afford another. And if they don’t take in enough revenue, they don’t have the money to spend. That’s what states are currently struggling with: Since the economic downturn, states have been raking in less cash and have had to explore options to balance their budget—which oftentimes has meant slashing programs that serve the people who most need the help.
Sometimes you see a story that is so touching, so heartbreaking, that you simply have to share it. Last week, our friends at PICO sent out an email sharing the story of Marlene Kahn, an advocate from Missouri who made a touching sacrifice to defend health care rights for seniors, children, and people with disabilities.
Please read Marlene's story and get involved in the fight to protect this critically important program.
Many Americans may have recently discovered a little extra money in their wallets.
In recent discussions about the controversial Republican budget proposal, the focus seems to be the public’s strong opposition to the proposed cuts to the Medicare program. Although Medicare is incredibly vital to the American people, it’s unfortunate that Medicaid, the program designed to provide coverageto the most vulnerable Americans, has been left out of the discussion. But that’s changing: 41 Democratic Senators are presenting a united front against proposed attacks on Medicaid.
On May 17, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a list of five great options states can use to ensure that low-income people get and keep Medicaid coverage when the new simplified, streamlined enrollment system opens in October 2013. (It’s important to note that those determined eligible for Medicaid before the end of the year won’t receive benefits until January 2014, unless they are currently eligible for Medicaid.) As states attempt to enroll millions of new applicants in coverage, the following options will make it easier for them to ensure people get covered:
The New Year should welcome in a clean slate, but since opponents of reform won’t give up their campaign of misinformation, we have to set the record straight yet again.
Let’s all say it together this time: The Affordable Care Act does not contain death panels.
The rumors started last year when a few opponents of health reform saw an opportunity to gain political points by misrepresenting a benefit in the bill.
On Tuesday, a federal court in Lynchburg, Virginia dismissed a lawsuit brought by Liberty University and five individuals challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Among other claims, Liberty University—an institution founded by Jerry Falwell, and now led by his son, Jerry Falwell, Jr.—made the now familiar, if dubious, argument that the personal responsibility provision of the law is unconstitutional.
The tax extenders bill (also known as the jobs bill), H.R. 4213, has been stalled in Congress for weeks. The Senate has now attempted to pass a bill to address the unemployment and state budget crisis three times to no avail. Each step along the way, the Senate has hit a wall of opposition that is supposedly based on concerns about increasing the federal deficit. To appease these concerns, the Senate cut a critical provision to provide additional assistance to states for Medicaid by one-third – but the bill still failed to win the 60 votes necessary to pass.
At the eleventh hour, Congress came up with a deal to avoid defaulting on our national debt. That deal ties raising the debt ceiling to a two-part deficit reduction plan. In the first round of the deal’s deficit reduction, which included $1 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, Medicaid was spared from any cuts. However, the fight to protect Medicaid is far from over. As part of the debt agreement, a “super committee” of 12 members of Congress is charged with coming up with a plan by the end of November that will reduce the deficit by an additional $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
Last week a lot of people were standing up for health care reform. There were marchers in the streets of Washington, D.C. trying to get equal access to insurance. There were congressional hearings on the subject, and 24 health care survivors spoke of their healthcare tragedies. One of those wonderful people was Marcelas. He is 11 years old.