Tag Archives: health care

GOPtinos 2.0?

Looks like they’re at it again. The Republicans are courting Latinos by hiring Latinos and then sending a press release about it.

Quick! Point me to the nearest polling location! I’ve been convinced that the GOP likes us!

It seems the Republicans are still lying to themselves. Still far from supporting a path to citizenship, which over 80% of Latinos support, their efforts on immigration reform have stalled to the point of indifference. They have convinced themselves that immigration is not a top issue for Latinos, although thousands showed up in Washington, DC to demand Congress wake up and pass some sort of reform a couple of days ago. The right-wing “Caller” rag called them “illegals.” But that’s not the entire Latino message for the GOP.

Here in Texas, Greg Abbott is already attacking Wendy Davis on driver’s licenses for immigrants, and is on record supporting racial profiling as a means of state-sanctioned immigration enforcement. Right-winger for state comptroller Glenn Hegar just started a poll asking his supporters if the comptroller should do a study about the “impact of illegal immigration.” The title alone tells us what his intent really is. Even Carol Strayhorn used the term, “undocumented” in her report. Mostly, Hegar is also on record as saying he supports voter ID because “illegals” vote illegally in record numbers–a downright lie.

And I’ll also mention that voter suppression through voter photo ID and gerrymandering sent Latinos a clear message:  No representation for you!

What do I usually tell Latinos who may be buying into GOPtino outreach window dressing?

It’s the policies, ¡pende**s!

And Latinos are on record as being overwhelmingly in support of more progressive policy stances on jobs and the economy, health care, immigration reform, and education. Any other issues, particularly the cultural ones the GOP seems to stick to, are far from priorities for Latinos. Just read any poll by Latino Decisions or the Pew Hispanic Institute.

As always, I’ll tell Democrats and Democratic candidates–stay strong and progressive on these issues; defend against right-wing attacks; and don’t give in.

About these ads

SB5 Is Now HB2 and SB9 [Special Session 2]

As Cryptic Philosopher reminds us, the rallying cry for defenders of women’s rights no longer will include “#sb5″ in any of the communications regarding the 2nd Special Session called by Rick Perry. A new session brings us new bill filings and designations, so, now, we are looking at HB2 and SB9.

While SB9 targets “abortion-inducing pills” prescribed by physicians, HB2 looks more like the bill that came up in the Senate and was cause for the successful protest that smacked it down. In other words, HB2 resubmits banning abortion procedures at 20 weeks; dispensing of “abortion-inducing pills”; the change in medical standard (without much medical evidence of such need) that would result in the closing of 80% of abortion-providing clinics around the state of Texas; as well as  a requirement that physicians have admitting privileges at hospitals located within a 30 mile radius of their clinics.

Rick Perry’s special session is about republican primary politics and about a full-fledged war on Texas women. Every part of this bill targets the reproductive rights of all types of Texan women; be it women, in general, poor women, minority women, women from rural areas of Texas, etc. If Rick Perry and the Republicans were interested in the health care or “safety” of women, they would support an expansion of Medicaid, but they do not. Every part of this bill is based on politics–not on professional medical opinion–as was being announced by State Senator Wendy Davis and her Democratic colleagues during the filibuster.

One more nugget of information to the “anti-” folks; some who trolled my Facebook page the other day. This bill does not ban abortion. Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land. Simply closing down clinics will not end abortion, but it will mean unsafe and dangerous back-alley abortions for those who do not have access. If any of the “anti-” folks can live with this in their “Christian” conscience or simply say it’s “punishment for sins,” then their hypocrisy and disdain for women will only be more evident. And every attempt must be made to defeat them and these horrific bills.

Now, are the odds against the Texas Women defending against Rick Perry’s misogyny? Well, awful redistricting and lack of energy from voters during non-Presidential elections can be blamed for that. The Supreme Court of the United States is even lending them a hand in that regard with the recent Voting Rights Act decision. But if it serves as a catalyst to finally trek toward defeating Rick Perry and his right-wing minions, then it is safe to say we are on the right track. Once this battle is done within the next 30 days, it becomes about expanding this movement’s reach, utilizing all of the issues stances which make the Democratic Party the one to support. Better to begin now than 2 weeks before election day, right?

Poll: Latinos Really Want to Know More About ACA

As much as Latinos respond to Republican negativity about immigration reform, can you imagine how they would react if more Latinos knew about the Affordable Care Act?

A poll by Latino Decisions announced that 52% of Latinos are not informed about what is called Obamacare. Another 69% of Latinos state that the ACA is complicated; however, 89% want to know more about it. 71% of Latinos claim they cannot name one policy within the ACA. The Obama Administration could do much more to educate the Latino community on the ACA, considering that health care is a top issue of the community and the fact that Republicans are adamant about getting rid of Obamacare.

Furthermore, after hearing some basic information, 75% believe ACA will be good for the Latino community in the long run compared to only 16% say it will be bad. These findings from the survey provide some optimism that if properly engaged the Latino community will be avid consumers of information pertaining the to the historic reform legislation.

The poll also showed that Latinos are definitely worried about rising health care costs, especially with as many as 45% of Latinos lacking health insurance. Latinos have been hit hard by medical bills, according to the poll.

Republicans are still not getting it right with immigration reform, but there are other issues, including health care, where the GOP simply doesn’t get–or doesn’t care–where Latinos stand. I see a major opportunity for increased political education on the part of President Obama and the Democrats.

Texas Lege Must Increase Nursing Home Medicaid Funding

While expanding Medicaid is a very important issue to support, there are problems that the Texas Legislature has caused to one part of the program today and since 1999, particularly to the State Medicaid nursing home program. The problem isn’t only that the State of Texas would cut its own investment in Medicaid, it’s the fact that there is an even bigger reduction in Texas’ Medicaid allotment from the Federal government with ever dollar cut by the Texas Legislature. Given the chance that Medicaid is at risk of federal cuts because of the so-called sequester, we are in the midst of a health care crisis if the Legislature does not act during the 83rd legislative session.

As the Trib reported last year, nursing homes were not hit with the anticipated 33% state-federal benefit cut, but they still experienced a 3% cut which hit nursing home facilities to the tune of over $58 million. What’s worse, is that Texas reimburses nursing homes at a rate of $126 per day, far less than the $176  per day national average. When one realizes that 70% of nursing home residents are enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program, then one fully realizes the extent of any cuts to the program and its weak reimbursement rate.

As the Texas Health Care Association puts it:

The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) says Medicaid spending in 2014-2015 will require $925 million just to meet the cost of caring for the nearly 60,000 Medicaid-dependent elderly and disabled Texans living in nursing homes.

This means Texas nursing homes and their residents will shoulder a nearly $1 billion burden in state government underfunding unless the Texas legislature adds that amount in the state budget for the next two years.

Obviously, this is an issue near and dear to my heart because my elderly mother and many Texas grandmothers and mothers are beneficiaries of this program, and that even the best-run nursing homes are talking about shutting down is something that should scare all Texans, but it should also be a call to action.

Call, write, email your Texas Legislators today. (Click on link)

  • Tell them that you know someone in a Texas nursing home,
  • Tell them that you support an increase in the daily rate for Nursing Home Medicaid to meet the cost of providing quality care for frail elderly Texans.
  • And remind them that Texas ranks 49th in reimbursement rates and that elderly Texans who have helped make Texas what it is today are at risk of poor quality care and the closure of their nursing homes. They deserve better from our elected officials.

There are many issues before the State Legislature, especially regarding health care. Nursing Home Medicaid is especially in a crisis mode. Act today and act everyday to support Nursing Home Medicaid.

This is just a start. DosCentavos will be writing more about this crisis as the Legislative Session continues.

It’s Time for Texas to Support Medicaid Expansion

Texas Republican leaders have been quite vocal in opposing any expansion of Medicaid. Much talk from Republicans as a means of attempting to soften on Latinos has centered on immigration, but health care is as much a Latino issue as immigration reform; if anything, it is quite vital to the community.

According to the Texas Medical Association, there are 6.3 million uninsured Texans, including 1.2 million children. Of those, groups with a high likelihood of being uninsured are:  Poverty-stricken families; Hispanics; and young adults. And almost 40% of Hispanics live uninsured. And non-citizens have an even higher likelihood of being uninsured; in fact, 30% of the uninsured in Texas are non-citizens.

When one looks at cities around the state, the numbers become quite real:  Houston – 30%; Laredo – 36%; Dallas – 33%; McAllen – 32%; El Paso – 28%, the list goes on. Just 35 counties of the 254 in Texas account for 80% of the uninsured.

So, why are Texas Republicans against the uninsured? Expanding Medicaid will help over a million uninsured Texans. Billions of Federal dollars will be returned to Texas within a few years, and billions more in a ten-year period. Federal dollars means jobs–for doctors, nurses, other medical staff, and businesses who work in the field.

Republican Governors in New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, and Michigan now support expanding Medicaid. They have recognized the crisis, as well as the benefits of receiving Federal dollars that their taxpayers have invested. Public opinion and the opinion of Texas businesses are on the side of Medicaid expansion. It’s just the right thing to do to ensure more Texans have access to medical care, rather than only emergency room care that ends up being more costly and a less efficient use of resources.

One way or another, the taxpayers will foot the bill while Texas plays catch-up at becoming a healthier state. But when a responsible approach is available through Medicaid, then Texas should do the responsible thing.

My friends at Progress Texas are currently promoting an online petition in support of the Medicaid expansion. I’m asking you to sign the petition and support Texas doing the right thing.

DosCentavos will be doing more writing on health care and elder care in Texas. When it comes to health care, Texas is in crisis mode and Texans must come together, put politics aside, and do what is right. And when it comes to Elder Care, there’s no doubt that the lives of many of our viejitos and viejitas are at stake with decisions being made in Austin and Washington, D.C.

Sign the petition. Please.

Texans may also participate in Texas Medicaid Matters! Advocacy Day at the State Capitol on March 5, 2013. (Thanks to our friends at Texas Well and Healthy).

We are mobilizing to:

1)     Protect Medicaid for children and other vulnerable Texans.

2)     Extend Medicaid to low-income adults who qualify for it under the Affordable Care Act.

Get a schedule of events in PDF format here. DosCentavos will be blogging more about this advocacy day, too.

NARAL: 2012 A Record Year of Anti-Choice Attacks

Catching up with news on women’s reproductive rights, NARAL released a report on the status of a woman’s right to choose as we celebrate 40 years since Roe v Wade.

NARAL also released a Congressional Record on choice–who supports women and who does not in D.C..

Unfortunately, it seems the fight to preserve Roe v Wade will continue.

Since 1995, states have enacted more than 700 anti-choice measures cumulatively. Each of these measures interferes with a woman’s right to make her own private, personal decisions about her reproductive health. And state governments continue to be dominated by anti-choice politicians, which likely means the trend of legislative attacks on reproductive freedom will continue in the year ahead.

NARAL outlined the War on Women in the report.

Anti-Choice Attacks:

  • 25 states enacted 42 anti-choice measures in 2012. (Readers of the book will note that the numbers are slightly different. That’s because in late 2012, two states enacted two additional measures.)
  • Arizona enacted the most anti-choice legislation in 2012, with four measures. Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin each enacted three anti-choice measures.
  • Since 1995, states have enacted 755 anti-choice measures.
  • 24 states earned a “F” on the women’s reproductive rights report card.

Pro-Choice Progress:

  • 6 states enacted 8 pro-choice measures in 2012.
  • Vermont enacted the most pro-choice legislation in 2012, with 3 measures.
  • 2012 marks the eighth year in a row that Colorado has enacted a pro-choice measure.

Keenan also pointed out states like Arizona, Georgia, and Louisiana enacted bans on abortion care after 20 weeks that are clearly unconstitutional and designed as a challenge to Roe v. Wade. And states like Alabama, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisconsin enacted abortion-coverage bans in the states’ health-insurance exchanges.

“This is why elections matter,” Keenan continued. “Women continue to face legislative hostility in states dominated by anti-choice politicians. We may have won some battles but anti-choice politicians attack this right relentlessly – if we allow them. It is incumbent upon us to educate the public on these anti-choice tactics and hold these extreme politicians accountable.”

All I can say is that if you’re running for office (especially as a Democrat) and you are part of the attack or just stay quiet, you are doing a disservice to women.    If you are serious about running for office, any office, then you better be in tune with this issue.

HD134: Ann Johnson on Health Care

This morning I awoke to an ad attacking HD134 candidate Ann Johnson for Obamacare. The right-wing opponent said “Obamacare” a few times, as if that is a negative thing. An hour later, I look on Facebook and find what could count as a strong response from Ann Johnson. Here’s the video: