Last December, I wrote that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had announced that it would be changing its policy on blood donations by men who have sex with men (MSM). For decades, the FDA has banned MSM from donating blood indefinitely. However, last December the FDA announced that it will be replacing its current indefinite deferral policy with a policy that allows MSM to give blood if they have not had sex with another man in the past year. Earlier this week, the FDA released “Revised Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission by Blood and Blood Products,” which address the FDA’s policy on MSM blood donations.
Two weeks ago, Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed a Medicaid expansion bill into law, increasing the number of states that have expanded Medicaid to twenty-nine, plus the District of Columbia. However, concerns from the White House over provisions in the Medicaid expansion bill highlight the difficulty of expanding Medicaid in red states. Read more…
In response to the U.S. Senate passing a budget yesterday that would cut vital programs for the poor and repeal the Affordable Care Act, RAC Director Rabbi Jonah Pesner issued the following statement:
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.