Open Enrollment Ends Today! #GetCovered: Punching In

Long lines as people across the country get help getting covered in the ACA health exchanges.

Seattle Times: Obamacare may have already brought the biggest increase in health coverage we’ve seen in decades.

Key Quote: “We didn’t expect an expansion anywhere near that magnitude,” said Nathan Johnson, policy director at the state health authority. “It’s been a good surprise. A lot of these folks have gone their entire lives without medical coverage.”

Sheesh. Right-wing activists steal blogger’s picture, claims she opposes Obamacare.

San Diego will begin process to raise the city minimum wage above the state minimum (and index to inflation).

Will Maryland’s minimum wage increase leave tipped workers behind?

Bill to raise tipped minimum wage advances in New Jersey.

Interns are now protected from sexual harassment in New York City.

Missouri’s faith community speaks with one voice: no on “right to work.”

Poll: Only 48 percent of Americans know who the Koch Brothers are.

Finally: Did you know that there are three kinds of tax subsidies for private planes? Oh, and there’s more.

Connecticut Jumps Ahead of the Pack, Will Raise Minimum Wage to $10.10 by 2017

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More than 227,000 Connecticut workers will see raises in the next 3 years, thanks to a bill signed into law by Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy on Thursday.

Connecticut legislators passed a bill by wide margins raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017. In many respects, the bill mirrors federal legislation introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (I-IA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA) raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over a similar period and indexing it to inflation.

President Obama, who supports the Harkin-Miller proposal, praised the Nutmeg State:

“I hope members of Congress, governors, state legislators and business leaders across our country will follow Connecticut’s lead,” Mr. Obama said in a statement on Wednesday, “to help ensure that no American who works full time has to raise a family in poverty, and that every American who works hard has the chance to get ahead.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that if implemented nationally, Harkin-Miller would lift 5 million Americans out of poverty and reduce spending on public assistance programs by tens of billions of dollars.

This year, 29 states are considering either legislation or a ballot measure aimed at raising the minimum wage.

Image by Raise the Minimum Wage on Facebook

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New Hampshire Ends Cruel Denial of Medicaid Expansion, Maine May Follow

New Hampshire officially expanded its Medicaid program this week, enabling about 50,000 more people in the Granite State to afford health coverage.

Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan signed the bill into law on Thursday, enacting a bipartisan compromise plan that would use federal Medicaid funds to buy private coverage for adults making less than 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, rather than providing state-funded health insurance.

When the Supreme Court declared the Affordable Care Act constitutional in July 2012, they left the option open for states to reject the federal funds that would be used to expand their Medicaid programs. As of now, 25 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the expansion in full. 21 states, all with Republican governors or Republican-controlled legislatures, have formally rejected Medicaid expansion.

New Hampshire was one of six states where the final call had not yet been made on Medicaid expansion.

On the same day, legislators in Maine granted final passage to a bill that would expand Medicaid to about 70,000 low-income Mainers. The bill now goes to Republican Governor Paul LePage for his signature or veto.

LePage has expressed opposition to Medicaid in the past, calling it “sinful” just a few weeks ago. But many of his fellow Republicans don’t share this view:

Despite the references to different numbers and analyses, many lawmakers have conceded that support or opposition of the bill is as ideological as it is pragmatic.

The bill approved by the Legislature was crafted by moderate Republican Sens. Roger Katz of Augusta and Tom Saviello of Wilton as a compromise, designed to bring more Republicans on board.

Assistant State Majority Leader Anne Haskell (D-Portland) also pointed out that 10 other Republican governors, including Govs. John Kasich (R-OH) and Jan Brewer (R-AZ) have accepted expansion.

The last time a Medicaid expansion bill hit Gov. LePage’s desk in July 2013, he vetoed. Now, with more Republicans on board, we hope he makes a different choice.

Send a message: Tell Gov. LePage to accept federal Medicaid funds.

Photo by Governor Maggie Hassan on Facebook

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Why The Kochs’ Influence Matters: Punching In

Fight for $15 taking a toll

SeaTac update: Parking company fires workers who complained about not getting wage increase.

 

The Kochs own the House Republicans, and it shows

Not just Boehner: many House Republicans seemingly indifferent on unemployment insurance.

Is “Obamacare repeal fatigue” setting in? Yes. And yes.

House Democrats attempt discharge petition on immigration reform.

Discharge petition strategy aims to make immigration an issue in November.

Must read Facebook post: Robert Reich on why Koch Brothers’ influence matters.

 

On minimum wage, Demint and Co. can’t make their case

Richard Trumka: The facts are on our side in the minimum wage debate.

New report: If you work 40 hours a week on minimum wage, you can’t afford rent. In the United States. Anywhere.

Why a minimum wage increase is good for (all) women.

 

Finally: Dispatches from Walmart

Walmart manager speaks up about awful conditions at his store.

Key Quote: “There’s not enough time in the day to do it…They don’t have enough people to get the job done. And it shows. It shows on the shelves, in terms of the stock. You know, it shows with the morale of the associates. That definitely has issues.”

Get Health Insurance, Strengthen the Movement for Working Families. At. The. Same. Time.

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It’s exhausting. We know.

Trying to counter the misinformation about the Affordable Care Act AND trying to highlight out the few corporate donors pushing the lies AND holding the media accountable for inadequate coverage AND…

…all of a sudden, there are only a few days left to sign up for coverage for this year.

March 31 is the deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. If you enroll before then, your insurance will start May 1. If not, you may have to wait until January 1, 2015.

Politics aside, this is the point of the new health care law: getting as many Americans as possible from fear and uncertainty of no coverage to the security of health insurance, thereby bringing down costs and making life better for all of us.

And while we’re bringing more people into the “insured” fold, we also have an opportunity to grow the movement that’s fighting to make our lives better in other areas: higher wages, paid sick days, and protections from indignity at the workplace.

That’s why Working America Health Care is working with GoHealth to bring affordable health insurance to uninsured Americans.

Enter your information at WorkingAmericaHealthCare.org and you can compare and contrast plans and enroll in minutes.

We also offer something extra: by signing up for a health plan through GoHealth, you’re invited to join Working America and gain access to added member benefits, like discounted dental and vision benefits and a personal health advocate to help you troubleshoot with your insurance company.

Plus, by becoming a Working America member, you have access to hundreds of benefits through Union Plus including discounts on car insurance, wireless service, legal assistance, and many more. A full list of Union Plus benefits available for Working America members can be viewed here.

But benefits aside, we all win when the movement for working families grows. By signing up for insurance through Working America, you’re also opting in to receive updates and opportunities to pursue goals we all share: raising the minimum wage, gaining rights at the workplace, countering corporate power at the ballot box, and changing the conversation about the value of work in our country.

So don’t delay! Sign up at WorkingAmericaHealthCare.org and find a plan that works for you. And if you’re lucky enough to have insurance, please email, share, tweet – whatever – this blog post to friends and family who might not be covered.

The Koch Brothers, the politicians, the talking heads–they’ll always be making noise. But let’s focus on the real goal: getting America enrolled, covered, and secure with health insurance.

Photo by italintheheart on Flickr

*The relationship with GoHealth does not include MA, RI, VT, WV, HI, WA, OR, and select counties in CO and OH. The personal health advocate service is not available in Hamilton, Lucas, Summit, Stark, Montgomery, and Mahoning counties in Ohio.

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Why Demint Is Ducking Public Debate With Trumka on Minimum Wage: Punching In

Boehner still blocking UI extension

Message to Speaker Boehner: It’s really not that hard to backdate unemployment insurance.

Labor Department also pushing back on Boehner’s claims on UI extension.

 

Exposing ALEC

6 ALEC model bills that are being used to attack public schools across the country.

Missouri legislators ignoring state’s neediest in favor of an anti-labor agenda.

How ALEC weakened retirement security.

 

In case you missed it: AFL-CIO’s Trumka challenges Heritage’s Demint to debate

President Trumka hears no answer from Demint on minimum wage debate.

Key Quote: DeMint’s mission isn’t particularly to convince the public of anything like opposing a minimum wage hike. It’s to convince elected Republicans to do so even though a majority of their constituents disagree. Publicly engaging a well-informed and eloquent advocate for working people who enjoys rising to meet a confrontation is in no way in DeMint’s interest.

 

Wages over wealth

Paul Krugman on why the Republican Party stands firmly against raising wages.

Pennsylvania coalition pushing to raise the wage despite Gov. Corbett’s opposition.

 

Finally: Make things right in Tennessee

5 reasons the NLRB must overturn the tainted Chattanooga Volkswagen election.

 

Workers on the Move at Las Vegas Casinos, NCAA Football Fields, Community Colleges: Punching In

11 ways to raise Americans wages.

Key Quote: “The labor movement has tried during each of the past four Democratic presidencies—those of Johnson, Carter, Clinton, and Obama—to strengthen protections for workers in organizing campaigns. Each time, however, the unions failed to surmount the Senate’s supermajority threshold. Until they can, the most direct way to raise workers’ wages will remain a dead letter.”

Down with wage theft: fast food workers in 30 cities protest for overtime pay.

He used to love H.E.R., but now Common is standing with Nissan workers in Mississippi!

Las Vegas casino workers considering massive strike.

Republicans in House and Senate argue over unemployment insurance extension.

Chicago voters overwhelmingly support $15 minimum wage in non-binding referendum.

The latest on the NCAA unionization effort at Northwestern.

Will politicians needlessly blocking Medicaid finally be held accountable?

How President Obama helped women by fixing the overtime gap.

Finally: Organizing victory at Seattle Community College!

Projected Deficits Have Massively Shrunk. Has It Created Jobs? Punching In

Projected deficits have shrunk nearly $5 trillion since 2010. Has it helped spur job growth?

A Republican and a Democrat team up to crack down on Swiss bankers.

In Illinois primary elections, an exciting win for the Chicago Teachers Union.

If you’re ready to feel super nauseous, watch Target’s new anti-union training video.

Pennsylvanians are done with the Corbett agenda, so they’re fighting to raise the minimum wage.

Former Republican State Senator Dale Schultz on Wisconsin GOP: “I’m not willing to defend them any more.”

Key Quote: “It’s just sad when a political party has so lost faith in its ideas that it’s pouring all of its energy into election mechanics. We should be pitching as political parties our ideas for improving things in the future rather than mucking around in the mechanics and making it more confrontational at the voting sites and trying to suppress the vote.”

Related: Wisconsin legislature might not act on voting restrictions this year.

How public sector layoffs add to the racial income gap.

Finally: The defunding of public education will create a permanent underclass, says Julia Meszaros.

Moral Monday in Georgia! 39 Arrested in Medicaid Protest: Punching In

Moral Monday movement alive and well in Atlanta.

39 people arrested at Georgia state Capitol for protesting Gov. Deal’s blocking Medicaid expansion.

Key Quote: “We have people dying every day just because they don’t have access to health care. It’s morally repugnant to me. Sometimes you have to take dramatic action to get people’s attention.”

Why Republicans should support a higher minimum wage.

What’s paycheck deception? Another way to weaken union representation.

Fight over charter schools in New York City shows divides in progressive movement.

Four years after the Affordable Care Act passed, Republicans starting to think they should have their own health care plan.

Beware of “sneak laws.”

Letter: “Right to work” is a dangerous fraud.

Related: Ohio ranks in second for job gains in January. No “right to work” law needed.

Finally: Politico reminds us that some super rich people are still super out of touch.

5 Million Americans Now Enrolled in Private Plans Under Affordable Care Act: Punching In

Another Christie scandal. You’ve heard of Bridgegate, but what about Pensiongate?

Short Version: While trumpeting “pension reform,” the New Jersey governor placed retiree assets in the hands of hedge fund managers bankrolling his political career.

Letter: Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett attacks on public workers aren’t about fiscal responsibility.

Harry Reid and others directly calling out Koch Brothers. Why it’s a risky strategy.

Paul Krugman on Paul Ryan’s racial dog-whistling.

Key Quote: “American conservatism is still, after all these years, largely driven by claims that liberals are taking away your hard-earned money and giving it to Those People.”

Senate committee expected to recommend the wind-down and ending of Fannie Mae.

10 tricks employers use to cheat workers out of overtime.

Why shouldn’t we believe Walmart’s claims that associates have advancement opportunities? Lots and lots of stories from associates who tried to advance.

Minimum wage increase advances in New Hampshire. And in Massachusetts.

Finally: Health Insurance Marketplace enrollments hit 5 million.