Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Yes there is good news

Just so y'all know I'm reality based, rather than a constitutional depressive, let us all take note that the aspiring king and his court are indeed severely weakened. They've caved on suspending the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage law in the hurricane zone, and they've caved on developing new generation nuclear weapons -- tactical so-called "bunker buster" bombs designed for first use.

Much to their credit, CBS News not only has a well written story on this, but an interactive primer on nuclear weapons and nuclear dangers in the modern world. (Click the "interactive" links in the left side bar.)

Now, do we have a chance to stop the Congress from passing yet more tax cuts for the wealthy while taking health care, housing, and fuel assistance from the poor?

This is from our friends at Community Catalyst: (They had a call in day on Oct. 18 but it's not too late, these issues are still in play.)

Katrina Survivors Need Medicaid
Medicaid must not be cut!

The tragedy on the gulf coast has affected thousands of African American and low-income residents who depended on Medicaid and other programs, such as food stamps and subsidized housing. They will need emergency assistance to meet their immediate needs and to rebuild their lives. Emergency Medicaid is the best way to make sure that survivors have ready access to the full complement of physical, mental health and long term care supports and services they may need over the coming months, and that Medicaid can easily and efficiently provide, no matter where survivors are temporarily living.

"Ensuring that these individuals get access to health care, wherever they are, is our biggest issue," said Dr. Fred Cerise, who heads Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals. Tribune,September 14, 2005.


Set Congress's Priorities Straight!
Call Capitol Hill and tell your Senators and Representatives not to cut life saving health care services Katrina hurricane survivors need. Let them know you oppose cutting Medicaid, Foodstamps and other vital programs to pay for for the hurricane relief.
A new bipartisan proposal, supported by Senators Grassley and Baucus as well as members of Congress from the states hit by the hurricane, would immediately provide Medicaid coverage to low-income Katrina survivors. However, this proposal has been blocked by the Bush administration, and further delays immediate aid to Katrina stricken areas.

In this time of need, the Administration opposes paying 100 percent of the cost of coverage and administration, and expects each state to foot all or part of the bill. The Administration has made even more dangerous proposals:

Even more cuts! In response to the increasing cost of the Katrina damage, Congress may cut even more deeply! The House has already delayed the FY 2006 budget reconciliation and has set a higher target for cuts to programs such as Medicaid, Food stamps and other vital services.
States are on their own! Refusing to financially support states for Katrina relief leaves states vulnerable and may lead to further state cuts in Medicaid, denying benefits and coverage to those who rely on the program.
The poor are punished and the wealthy are rewarded! Federal tax breaks for the "well-off and well connected" are hurting middle and low income people. But plans to pass more breaks for the wealthy are proposed in the budget. This will result in more cuts of vital services that we all need, especially those who are vulnerable. Stopping the tax cuts for just one year would be more than enough to pay for the entire costs of Katrina/Rita recovery.

What we can do:

Call your Senators and Representatives and tell them that these cuts are devastating and unacceptable! Instead of cutting much needed life saving programs, Congress should:

Call on Majority Leader Frist to bring Grassley- Baucus up for a vote now: Each day that passes, more lives are put at risk. This legislation should be enacted on an emergency basis as soon as possible. People from the disaster areas have been forced to wait for help for too long.
Not make cuts in the FY2006 Budget to life saving programs such as Medicaid. Cost-savings in Medicaid that do not hurt beneficiaries are possible through prescription drug pricing reform. However, this should be done separately from the budget proposal to make sure savings help stabilize Medicaid.
Not increase tax breaks for the wealthy while middle and low income people are struggling to make ends meet.

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