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Daley’s View: Why We Needed the Public Option Then…

…and Why We Need It Now

 

Remember the big debate in the Congress about whether or not the ACA needed to create a public option to private insurance in order to make the new exchanges be competitive and serve all consumers. This proposal was defeated and left to die pretty much without a whimper.

Now we are just beginning to get a look at the participation of insurance companies in the new exchanges and are seeing why the public option was so important.

One of the supposed benefits of these exchanges is that there will be lots of competition among private insurance companies and a public option was simply unnecessary. Read more

Daley’s View: A Trillion Here, A Trillion There

…And Pretty Soon it Adds Up to UnemploymentBill

 

Well the new jobs numbers are out this Friday and the results are a paltry 88,000 new jobs in March. Private employment provided a mere 95,000 new jobs while federal cuts costing 14,000 jobs. There were offsets by slight increases in state employment, but overall government employment fell a total of 7000 jobs.

What could possibly be causing this?

Economists that actually study the economy rather than those who craft  right wing talking points have been telling us that now is the worst possible time to be reducing government spending. But the entire Federal leadership has been in the spell of an austerity frenzy nonetheless. Remember the “Super Committee” and the caps.? These policies will reduce Federal spending $1.5 Trillion by 2020.

This year, stumped for a better idea, Congress began an automatic “sequester” that cuts another $1.2 Trillion starting March 1st. Jobless claims jumped immediately in March.

And there is more to come. Over time, the “sequester” will pull 750,000 jobs out of the economy according to the Congressional Budget Office estimates.

When the new jobs numbers were announced the conservative pundits were quick to pounce: “Our plan to keep cutting jobs is good for the economy. The real culprit here is the Affordable Care Act.” Yep, the ACA is to blame, so we have to repeal it – thereby pulling another pile of jobs out of the economy.

Some days I want to go episodic and stand on a street corner yelling “ARE YOU CRAZY?” (Only a few of my neighbors would notice and are unlikely to be surprised. So I’ll skip it.)

But I will beg progressive advocates to continue to ask our political leadership a simple question: “Why not reduce the deficits by growing the economy?” Why not start with President Obama’s 2013 Budget?

 

To the President’s credit, his recently released budget does include a $350 billion jobs program and other investments in education, job training, infrastructure, and research. But over time it cuts another trillion plus out of the public funding for many important things including Social Security, Medicare and other domestic spending. Overall there are some $900 billion in cuts. The President’s budget also increases taxes by $600 billion.

Compare this budget to what is being proposed in the U.S. House. This budget cuts nearly $6 trillion out of spending and also lowers taxes. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that 66% of the cuts will affect people with low or moderate incomes.

These are the parameters for the recovery of jobs in the economy – cut either another trillion or cut another six trillion. How will either of these approaches lead to a thriving economy and jobs for the unemployed?

Every time they get anything done they do more harm. To raise the debt lid they cut a trillion. To avoid the fiscal cliff they cut another trillion. Then they sequestered. Now we are looking at a “grand bargain,” another debt lid crisis, tax reform…

 

whitehouse.gov/issues/sequester/interactive-map

Daley’s View: Are we winning the fight for the expansion of Medicaid?

The Supreme Court ruled that the Medicaid expansion in the ACA would have to be voluntary. The entire future of this expansion seemed to be in doubt. Resource strapped states were fighting to cut programs not to expand them. The entire expansion of Medicaid was challenged by Governors calling for the program to be “block granted,” or they were just flat out saying ‘no’.

The winds are shifting.
What we advocates have done exceptionally well to get people realizing the overwhelming benefit to states in saving benefits, saving lives and saving money. Keep pouring it on, you are winning. Read more

Paul Ryan Nomination Has Huge Implications for Medicaid

The decision by the Romney campaign to tap Representative Paul Ryan for the Vice-Presidency will have implications for the health care advocacy community. This nomination is sure to make the debate over Medicaid a national debate, not just a state-by-state one.

This will happen because the Republican Campaign seems to be embracing the entire Ryan Budget. Here are some of the things that are in that budget:   Read more

Supreme Court Upholds the ACA

LeeAnn Hall is the Executive Director of Alliance for a Just Society.

Today the United States Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act – the federal health reform bill that grassroots leaders across the country fought so hard for. We are gratified that our efforts will continue to bear fruit and bring the promise of health care to more and more families in the United States. Read more

ACA Decision: Much at Stake for Small Businesses

Millions of small business owners, and their tens of millions of employees, will be greatly impacted by tomorrow’s US Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act.  The enormous benefits that the ACA provides–expanding coverage options, lowering costs and giving consumers, not insurance companies, control over their own health care, to name a few–hang in the balance.   Read more