May 20, 2013 | Permalink »
Medicaid Expansion Significantly Decreases Financial Hardship and Improves Mental Health
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examining the impact of expanded Medicaid coverage has gained national attention. The study collected data on Oregon residents who received insurance through the state's expanded health care program. Although 90,000 low-income people qualified and applied for the program, only 10,000 ultimately received coverage. Unlike previous studies, this allowed researchers to test the impact of Medicaid expansion by comparing health and other outcomes between those who received coverage and those who did not.
One of the key conclusions drawn by the study is that health care coverage nearly eliminated out-of-pocket medical expenses, especially catastrophic expenditures, for the program's 10,000 participants. As the study's lead researcher stated, Medicaid coverage generated "enormous reductions in financial strain and hardship," preventing participants from having to face mounting medical costs and/or debt, while also reducing other forms of financial strain such as borrowing money or delaying other bill payments.
This is good news for poor families who have a hard time making ends meet. Without health care coverage, they must often choose between paying medical bills or other basic necessities. Expanded Medicaid coverage can eliminate that stress, allowing low-income families to pay for things like rent, food, and childcare without racking up debt.
May 13, 2013 | Permalink »
Proposed SNAP Cuts Would Result in Millions of Empty Dinner Tables
Update (5/22/2013): The full Senate began consideration of the Farm Bill on Monday, May 20th. The Senate is considering amendments to the bill, many of which propose to make further cuts into SNAP. Contact your Senator now to urge that they protect SNAP and VOTE NO on amendments that would weaken SNAP!
Update (5/20/2013): The Senate Agriculture Committee debated the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 (also known as the Farm Bill) and voted on amendments on Tuesday, May 14th. The bill, which includes over $4 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was passed in committee by a 15-5 vote. The bill will next go to the Senate floor for further debate as early as May 20th.
The House Agriculture Committee debated the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act on May 15th. The bill was approved in committee by a vote of 36-10 and is expected to be taken up by the full House in June. The House bill includes $20.5 billion in cuts to SNAP.
This week, both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees will mark up their versions of a Farm Bill that includes provisions on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Despite the program’s effectiveness—helping over 47 million people afford nutritionally adequate meals and make ends meet—and a long history of bipartisan support, SNAP continues to face threats of deep cuts.
Apr 23, 2013 | Permalink »
Immigration Bill Envisions Path to Citizenship
By Helly Lee
Last week, the bipartisan Senate "Gang of 8" introduced S. 744 the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. If enacted, this bill would be the largest scale change to immigration laws in over 25 years.
One of the major hallmarks of the bill is that it provides a path to citizenship for aspiring citizens, many of whom have lived and worked in this country for many years. Other key elements of the bill include border security measures, reforms to family- and employment-based immigration policies, and interior enforcement measures including the requirement, phased in over 5 years, for all employers to use an Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS) to ensure that all newly hired employees are legally eligible to work in the U.S.
Eligible aspiring citizens may apply for a newly created Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status, renewable after 6 years and then be eligible for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status after an additional 4 years (a minimum of 10 years in RPI status). Aspiring citizens following this path will be eligible to apply for citizenship after 3 years in LPR status.