Tag Archive | poverty relief

The Heart of the Matter

What sort of people will we be?
What will we choose to believe?
Will we be open and unafraid;
Or angry, frightened,
Stuck in our own ways?

Will we choose generosity
And noble pursuits;
Will we be tight-fisted,
Uncaring brutes?

Will our power and wealth
Be invested for good
Or squandered and hoarded
Until all who would
Prosper alongside us
Are sickened and dead?
I say,
Let’s be people of principle instead.

The heart of the matter is,
We have a choice:
We can silence the cries of need
Or join with our own voice.
What will you hold on to?
What will be your way?
I invite you to choose rightly;
Let’s join together today.

Impact and Ideas

This is an excerpt from a report on the New York Times site.  Go there to read it in its entirety:

WASHINGTON — A bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that
narrowly passed the House
this month would increase the projected number of people without
health insurance
by 14 million next year and by 23 million in 2026, the
Congressional Budget Office
said Wednesday. That 10-year figure is slightly less than originally estimated.

It would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over a decade, less than the $150 billion in savings projected in late March for an earlier version
of the bill. And in states that seek waivers from rules mandating essential health coverage, the new law could make insurance economically out of reach
for some sick consumers.

“Premiums would vary significantly according to health status and the types of benefits provided, and less healthy people would face extremely high premiums,” …

The House repeal bill was approved on May 4 by a vote of 217 to 213, without support from any Democrats. It would eliminate tax penalties for people who
go without health insurance and would roll back state-by-state expansions of
Medicaid,
which have provided coverage to millions of low-income people. And in place of government-subsidized insurance policies offered exclusively on the Affordable
Care Act’s marketplaces, the bill would offer tax credits of $2,000 to $4,000 a year, depending on age.

****
You know, it might look like following through with the health care plan from the House would save the government money; but I’m thinking it will cost a lot more in the long run:  People without insurance who become ill will still need care.  They will wait until they are seriously in trouble; then go to their local emergency room; hospitals will take care of them, forgive the debt; then pass the cost on to consumers and funds from government grants, among other sources.  These people will be less able to look for work or continue in their employment as their circumstances worsen…  We will spend money on health care and poverty relief anyway; why not do it right from the beginning.
Another point about services covered by Medicaid and other provisions in the ACA:  Part of the funding that seems to be on the chopping block makes it possible for severely disabled people to stay home and receive care from family members.  This is by far the most compassionate, cost effective approach.  Do away with these resources and those with severe disabilities either die or go to care facilities, hwere they will likely have poorer care.  The bent to do away with funding for people in need is very short sighted and unkind.
Then there’s this idea of a tax credit instead of subsidized insurance:  Most people receiving financial help for their ACA insurance can’t afford to wait a year for a tax credit.

It isn’t fair to complain if I don’t have some ideas for solutions:
*Go after the providers who steal from the government.  They take kfar more away from all of us than all of the “moochers” and legitimate recipients together.
*Have people on the front lines contribute to policy making…those who work in the system; those who live it.  We know more about the ins and outs than anybody in Congress or the White House.
*Increase incentives for making healthy choices, including preventative  care and early intervention.
*Empower natural helpers, such as family care givers.
*Leave the Affordable Health Care Act in place for now; take time to iron out the real bugs.

Holes in the Safety Net

These are excerpts from an article in the Washington Post.  The url is at the bottom of my post, in case you want to read it in its entirety.  Meanwhile, I have some thoughts:

“President Trump’s first major budget proposal on Tuesday will include massive cuts to Medicaid and call for changes to anti-poverty programs that would
give states new power to limit a range of benefits, people familiar with the planning said, despite growing unease in Congress about cutting the safety
net.

For Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health care to low-income Americans, Trump’s budget plan would follow through on a bill passed by
House Republicans to cut more than $800 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could cut off Medicaid benefits
for about 10 million people over the next decade.”
*****
In spite of negative imagery that paints a picture of people on Welfare and Medicaid as “moochers” and “manipulators,”  The reality is, the vast majority of people receiving these benefits are there legitimately.  Many of them are very ill or disabled.  Moreover, these programs are monitored on a regular basis, making it very difficult to misuse the system.  Anybody caught doing so can be charged with Welfare fraud.
***

“The White House also will call for giving states more flexibility to impose work requirements for people in different kinds of anti-poverty programs, people
familiar with the budget plan said, potentially leading to a flood of changes in states led by conservative governors. Many anti-poverty programs have
elements that are run by both the states and federal government, and a federal order allowing states to stiffen work requirements “for able-bodied Americans”
could have a broad impact in terms of limiting who can access anti-poverty payments — and for how long.”

****
People receiving benefits in many States are already required to “work toward work.”  In my State, for example, anyone who doesn’t have a disability must take part in a jobs program designed to get them into the work force, starting with volunteer work if appropriate.  It is obvious that a rather large group of people don’t know this.  They assume that those on Welfare are whiling away their days while they collect benefits.  Again, the truth:  The days of sitting home and collecting a Welfare check until your youngest child turns 18 are long over and past.
***

“Trump’s decision to include the Medicaid cuts is significant because it shows he is rejecting calls from a number of Senate Republicans not to reverse
the expansion of Medicaid that President Barack Obama achieved as part of the Affordable Care Act. The House has voted to cut the Medicaid funding, but
Senate Republicans have signaled they are likely to start from scratch.”

***
Dear senators:  Our hope lies with you at this point.
One colossal advantage of the Medicaid extension was that small towns could afford to have a medical clinic.  This allows their citizens to receive care in a timely, healthy way in a non acute setting.  They can now have preventative services and important monitoring without driving at least 200 miles, in some cases, to see a doctor or go to the hospital.  This means better care at far less cost per patient.  This also impacts whole communities; not just individuals.
***

“Trump offered a streamlined version of the budget plan in March, but it dealt only with the 30 percent of government spending that is appropriated each
year. In that budget, he sought a big increase in military and border spending combined with major cuts to housing, environmental protection, foreign aid,
research and development.”

***
Do you have a problem with Mr. Trump’s priorities?  I do.
***
“But Tuesday’s budget will be more significant, because it will seek changes to entitlements — programs that are essentially on auto­pilot and don’t need
annual authorization from Congress. The people describing the proposals spoke on the condition of anonymity because the budget had not been released publicly and the White House is closely guarding details.”
****
This is significant because it forces these programs to compete for funding, along with everything else.  Imagine that you rely on subsidies for food, housing, basic living expenses and medical care.  Now think about how secure your living situation will be if that funding is subject to whatever party has the majority and the mood of the nation.  Basics are necessary if people are to have the time and energy to improve their lives…including the development of job skills and the procurement of employment.
***
Programs in danger include:
Medicaid
SNAP (The modern version of food stamps)
Habitat for Humanity (which, by the way, includes some “sweat equity” on the part of the people getting the house.)
subsidized school lunches (Children learn better when they are not hungry…just a thought.)
“The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates the federal response to homelessness
across 19 federal agencies.”

“Trump has instructed his budget director, former South Carolina congressman Mick Mulvaney, that he does not want cuts to Medicare and Social Security’s
retirement program in this budget, Mulvaney recently said, but the plan may call for changes to Social Security Disability Insurance, seeking ideas for
ways to move people who are able out of this program and back into the workforce.”
***
Social Security already conducts regular evaluations to determine the ability of beneficiaries.  They also offer assistance, such as the PASS Plan (Plan to Achieve Self Sufficiency) so that anyone who is able can become employed.  It is a grave misconception that people are lazily hanging out on Social Security Disability.  Moreover, SSDI is based on a person’s work history:  He or she has paid into the system, at least a little bit.
One more thing:  There are strict criteria for who is eligible or not, to the point that some people who truly would benefit from SSDI are not enrolled.
Mr. Trump really doesn’t know what he is talking about when it comes to Social Security Disability Insurance.

I do have to say, it’s appalling to me that the ones making these decisions have absolutely NO idea about what these programs are, who benefits and what their lives are like, especially Mr. Trump, who is so isolated from the real world.

I think every congressperson, senator and president should have to live for one year on the amount of money that people in poverty relief programs receive, in the same neighborhoods and with the same level of care.  They might…possibly, maybe, I hope…find some compassion.

One more thing:  This “safety net” affects everybody from the poorest to the wealthiest among us, whether people recognize that or not.

There are more points on which to comment.  If you want to read the article, here it is:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/trump-to-propose-big-cuts-to-safety-net-in-new-budget-this-week/2017/05/21/62c01f44-3e34-11e7-adba-394ee67a7582_story.html