In Arizona, 300,000 people will get the health care coverage they need, thanks to Gov. Jan Brewer’s change of heart on a key program of the Affordable Care Act. Brewer signed a bill into law accepting federal funds to cover low-income families under Medicaid—a bill that she had to fight against members of her own party in the state legislature to get passed in a special session she called.
It was a hard fight, but one we’re glad to see turned out the right way. The Medicaid provision was one of the key components of the ACA, but it was put at risk by a Supreme Court decision that left it up to the states to accept or decline the funds. Many states have—but others, like Texas, are refusing, leaving millions without coverage.
In other states, the process is still unfolding:
- About half a million people are waiting on the Michigan state Senate, who should vote this week on a state House-passed proposal to accept expanded Medicaid funds. Gov. Rick Snyder has promised to sign the bill into law.
- As the state legislature in Ohio debates accepting expanded funds, a new poll shows 63 percent of Ohioans want the expansion, which would cover an estimated 275,000 people.
- In Virginia, a commission to study accepting expanded Medicaid funds had its first meeting this week. The next meeting will take place in August.
- In New Hampshire, the state House—which supports accepting expanded funds—is working to craft a measure that will be able to get through the Republican-controlled Senate. This may mean a commission will be created to review the issue.
- Unfortunately, in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a measure to accept expanded funds. The bill, which would cover 60,000 people, passed by strong but not quite veto-proof margins, so the fate of Medicaid in Maine remains unclear.
Tags: ACA, Affordable Care Act, Arizona, Health Care, Maine, Medicaid, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Forget the silly fluff pieces mainstream media are reporting about sequestration’s effect on White House tours—there is real pain happening all over the United States.
Sam Stein and Amanda Terkel of The Huffington Post cover 99 stories of the job losses and pain felt in states across the country in Sequestration Effects: Cuts Sting Communities Nationwide.
Here are the first 10 stories:
1. Air Force base jobs lost in Tullahoma, Tenn.—The Aerospace Testing Alliance announced it is cutting 128 of 1,809 civilian jobs at Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma starting April 19. It also has put in place a 20% pay cut and weekly furloughs for workers at a research facility. [Link]
2. Loss of jobs in Rock Island, Ill.—The U.S. Army garrison, Rock Island Arsenal, announced it is firing 175 employees, 44 of whom are temporary workers, 131 of whom will see their jobs unrenewed when their terms expire. [Link]
3. Medical response times lengthened in central Nebraska—Medical responders have had response times lengthened because of the closing of a control tower at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport. [Link]
4. Food pantry closed in Murray, Utah—The Salt Lake Community Action Program closed its food pantry, one of five locations that serve more than 1,000 people every month. Executive Director Cathy Hoskins told The Huffington Post that in addition to the closure, the organization has stopped paying into employees’ retirement plans, won’t fill an open job and told some staffers to take a week’s unpaid leave. “I’ve had one person retire, we’re not replacing them. We’re not doing any hiring at all,” Hoskins said. “We’re trying very hard to boost our volunteers, but this is hard work working in a pantry. And if you get a volunteer, usually it’s a short-term volunteer because it’s just very, very difficult work…. No raises, no increases, none of that stuff. We’re cutting everything we possibly can.” [Link]
5. Research employees lost in Durham, N.C.—The Duke Clinical Research Institute is planning to “downsize” 50 employees. [Link]
6. Contractor jobs lost in southwest Oklahoma—Northrop Grumman Information Systems’ Lawton, Okla., site issued 26 layoff notices. The defense contractor CGI is anticipating that sequestration would affect 270 workers at its Lawton site. [Link]
7. Health care jobs cut in Hampton Roads, Va.—Officials at Hampton Roads Planning District Commission announced that 1,600 jobs in the region’s health care sector would disappear. “It won’t be job cuts,” said James A. Clary, an economist with the group. “It will be not filling the positions.” [Link]
8. Health care workers laid off in Saranac Lake, N.Y.—Adirondack Health, a medical center at Lake Placid, announced it was laying off 18 workers after firing 17 in December. [Link]
9. Rehabilitation center for Native Americans closed in Sitka, Alaska—The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium announced that on April 30, it is closing the Bill Brady Healing Center, a residential drug and alcohol treatment center for Alaska Natives. Michael Jenkins, communications director, said the approximately 20 people who work there will be transferred to other positions in the organization, furloughed or fired. “For the most part, because of our location here in Southeast, alcohol and drug abuse has a very high incidence. So taking this away is going to make it difficult,” he said. [Link]
10. Education jobs lost in Sioux City, Iowa—The Iowa Early Intervention education program is bracing for the loss of 11 teaching positions, while the Sioux City Community School Board is looking at potentially 30 staff positions being eliminated. [Link]
Read the rest of the 99 stories on The Huffington Post.
Remember, the sequester is a completely made-up, dumb idea and can be easily repealed by Congress. This year alone, 750,000 people will lose their jobs because of the sequester.
Working families are calling on Congress to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from benefit cuts (i.e., raising the retirement age and the “chained” CPI), repeal the sequester and close tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthiest 2%.
Tags: aflcio, alaska, budget cuts, Health Care, Illinois, Iowa, Jobs, nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, sequester, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia
Working America has endorsed the following candidates and ballot initiatives in the 2012 election. These endorsements do not cover all the candidates and ballot issues in which we have a stake, but they all reflect the passion of our members and the values of our organization.
On November 6, please consider the following as you go to vote:
Barack Obama for President
Elizabeth Warren for U.S. Senate, Massachusetts
Claire McCaskill for U.S. Senate, Missouri
Martin Heinrich for U.S. Senate, New Mexico
Sherrod Brown for U.S. Senate, Ohio
Tim Kaine for U.S. Senate, Virginia
Tammy Baldwin for U.S. Senate, Wisconsin
Joe Miklosi for U.S. Congress, Colorado, 6th District
Ed Perlmutter for U.S. Congress, Colorado, 7th District
Betty Sutton for U.S. Congress, Ohio, 16th District
Mark Critz for U.S. Congress, Pennsylvania, 12th District
No on Proposal 1, Michigan
Yes on Proposal 2, Michigan
Yes on Issue 2, Ohio
Tags: Barack Obama, Colorado, endorsement, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin
We’re proud to support President Barack Obama for re-election on Tuesday.
Four years ago, the nation was in crisis. We’d seen nearly a decade of stagnating wages, growing corporate power and steady erosion of the middle class. We were squandering time and resources we could have been using to rebuild America and create a fairer economy. In the fall, an under-regulated, irresponsible and out-of-control financial system detonated, which led to a massive recession and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs every month. We nearly lost a major American industry as the recession crippled auto companies.
Today, we’ve seen nearly three straight years of jobs being added in the private sector. Though things are still tough, we stopped the nosedive of our economy avoided the catastrophic depression that seemed imminent in 2008. We saved nearly a million jobs or more by rescuing the auto industry. And what’s more, we passed much-needed reforms to our health care system and our financial system that will help protect working people and rein in corporate power. None of this was inevitable, none of it was easy, and none of it would have happened if our hard work hadn’t elected Barack Obama as our president.
President Obama also signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and an important credit card reform bill. He passed the Recovery Act that halted the economic collapse, cut taxes for working-class and middle class families and invested in our schools, our infrastructure and new kinds of energy. And he appointed champions for working people to the U.S. Supreme Court, the National Labor Relations Board and the new Consumer Financial Protection Board.
We haven’t agreed with the president on everything, but when it comes down to it, he’s shown that he wants to make America work better for middle class and working-class families. His values and his priorities are the same ones we hear from ordinary people at their doors thousands of times a week: building prosperity by strengthening the middle class, ensuring a great education for our kids, keeping the promise of Social Security and Medicare for today’s retirees and tomorrow’s.
Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, has been hard to pin down on a lot of issues, but on the basic economic issues that matter most, his views are remarkably clear: he thinks corporations and the very wealthy are the most important actors in the economy, and so in order to make the economy work we have to tilt it ever-further in favor of those rich and powerful actors. He said we should “let Detroit go bankrupt” rather than investing in the auto industry. He named Paul Ryan as his running mate—endorsing a radical plan to demolish Medicare and leave seniors at the mercy of private insurance companies. As a finance-industry CEO, he exemplified the worst trends in our economy, stripping companies of value for himself and his shareholders and leaving the people who worked for those companies stranded. In his business career, he was referred to as a “pioneer” of outsourcing, and his proposals would give companies further incentives to ship He’s maddeningly unspecific about much of his tax plan, but every serious analysis shows that he would give bigger tax breaks to millionaires (like him) than even George W. Bush did. And he has declared time and time again that his top priority is repealing the health care reform and Wall Street reform that President Obama worked so hard to pass.
This isn’t a close call. President Obama’s skill and leadership in stopping the economic collapse and putting in place health care reform and Wall Street reform would be enough to earn him a second term—but the case for a vote for Obama is even clearer when you compare it to what a Romney administration would look like.
On Tuesday, we recommend a vote for President Obama—and we hope you’ll get your friends and family to the polls, too.
Photo by Intel Photos on Flickr
Tags: Barack Obama, Colorado, endorsement, Jobs, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin
In the race for Virginia’s open Senate seat, two former governors are squaring off: Tim Kaine, who served as governor from 2006 to 2010, and George Allen, who served a term as governor from 1994 to 1998 and a term as Senator from 2001 to 2007. When you look at the two candidates—their records and what they say they’ll do in office—it’s clear that Tim Kaine is the right choice for Virginia voters.
As governor, Kaine had an outstanding record. He gave targeted tax cuts to homeowners and small businesses, while eliminating tax loopholes for big corporations. He invested in early childhood education and the state’s higher education system to help move Virginia forward. Under his leadership, Virginia was named the “best-managed state” by Governing magazine, the “best state for business” by Forbes and the “best state to raise a child” by Education Week, each year he was in office. He’ll bring those values and priorities to the U.S. Senate.
Allen is running for another chance at holding the seat he lost in the 2006 elections. He has a Senate record we can evaluate. And his record isn’t good enough to merit a trip back across the river to D.C. He was a close ally and enabler of the Bush administration, and voted for the Bush tax cuts that gave their biggest benefits to the richest 2%. He’s given every indication on the campaign trail that he would pick right up where he left off—and what’s more, he says he’d support the Paul Ryan budget that AARP says ends Medicare as we know it, driving up costs for seniors. Paul Ryan’s budget would also cost Virginia thousands of jobs.
You don’t just elect a Senator to take votes, however—that’s only part of the job. You elect a Senator to represent your state and its citizens at the national level. That’s a question of values and temperament, and it’s a test Tim Kaine excels at. He’s a compassionate, smart and pragmatic leader who knows how to reach out to all corners of a changing and growing state.
Allen, however, falls short. In his last race, Allen lost in part because he was caught on tape bullying a young Indian-American cameraman from a rival campaign, telling him “welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.” It was an embarrassing moment that showed Allen’s character clearly.
Tim Kaine’s impressive record, and his talent for connecting with people from all walks of life, will serve Virginia well if he’s elected as their Senator. He’ll make smart policy choices—the kind that were sadly lacking during George Allen’s term.
Kaine is the right choice. Plan your vote here.
Photo by The U.S. Army on Flickr
Tags: endorsement, George Allen, Tim Kaine, Virginia