For over a decade, the RAC has been a strong supporter of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which provides health insurance coverage to children. Last month, the House passed a bipartisan bill, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which includes an extension of funding for CHIP, as well as a fix to the flawed Medicare physician payment formula. The Senate is likely to vote on the bill this week.
At the end last month, Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi introduced a bipartisan bill, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which addresses two key healthcare issues:
- Extending funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health insurance coverage to children; and
- Fixing the flawed Medicare physician payment formula (known as the sustainable growth rate or SGR)
As people of faith, we advocate for a moral budget that protects the key programs that lift so many Americans out of poverty each year. Now that Congress is in recess, we have time to reflect on the many different budget proposals, and where they currently stand in the process.
The budgets that the House and the Senate Budget Committees each adopted on March 19 each cut over $3 trillion over ten years (from 2016-2025) from programs that impact our most vulnerable.
On Passover, we remember the ten plagues that were put upon the Egyptian people. Thousands of years later, modern-day plagues of inequality should ignite contemporary responses to combat these injustices. Many of the most vulnerable members of our society are disproportionately affected; they cannot be “passed over” or ignored, especially during this important holiday. As we think about the ancient plagues, let us also keep in mind those who still live under the weight of modern plagues.
Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and a lot has changed in the past five years. Thanks to the ACA, the 129 million non-elderly Americans with pre-existing health conditions can no longer be denied coverage or charged more because of their pre-existing condition. Also, millions of low-income individuals are now eligible for Medicaid thanks to ACA expansion of the program. And, a March 16, 2016 Department of Health and Human Services report states that 16.4 million uninsured people have gained health insurance coverage since 2010 under the Affordable Care Act. These improvements, among many others, on the five year anniversary of the ACA are a cause to celebrate and rededicate our commitment to affordable and accessible care for all.
I’ve loved working at the RAC these past six months and one of the highlights of my time at the RAC so far has been our L’Taken social justice seminars for high school students, where nearly 300 Reform Jewish teens come to Washington, D.C. for a weekend to learn about social justice, lobby on Capitol Hill and get inspiration to be lifelong Jewish advocates. Now, when I first applied for this job, I wasn’t particularly excited about L’Taken. While the idea of engaging high school students on important social justice issues sounded appealing, I thought back to how my classmates behaved in high school. Fortunately, it turned out I was wrong and running six L’Takens the past three months has reminded me why I love working for the RAC so much.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case, King v. Burwell, a lawsuit that claims that the Affordable Care Act only allows people to receive premium tax credits in states that run their own health insurance marketplace, as opposed to the states who use the federally-facilitated Marketplace. These premium tax credits make health care affordable to low and middle income individuals who gain insurance through the marketplace.
At the end of last year, the FDA announced that it would replace its policy banning men who have had sex with men (MSM) from donating blood with a policy that allows MSM to give blood if they have not had sex with another man in the past year. In December, I wrote a blog post commenting that this new policy still raises questions about judicious, equal treatment for MSM in this particular situation. Recent news, however, illustrates that this isn’t just an issue that impacts men who have sex with men—it’s an issue that impacts all trans individuals.