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Expanding Medicaid Eligibility Would Help Low-Income Workers Find Better Jobs: Study

International Business Times

Official U.S. labor market data released this week showed more Americans quit their jobs in February than in any month in nearly a decade, a sign that more workers are migrating to better jobs after so many of them spent years clinging to the jobs they had amid a slow pace of recovery and tepid hourly wage growth. But a recently study suggests that more Americans would be emboldened to switch jobs if their access to health insurance wasn't tethered to their employers. This uniquely American system encourages so-called job lock, in which workers are fearful of migrating to potentially better-paying jobs out of fear of losing access to employer-subsidized access to medicine and doctor's visits. In a study released in March by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Georgetown University labor economists Ammar Farooq and Adriana Kugler found that expanding Medicaid (the U.S. public health insurance program for low-income Americans) to cover more workers would encourage them to take the risks that could lead to better-paying jobs and higher qualities of life. "When Medicaid generosity rises, workers not only move to riskier occupations and industries but towards better jobs," Farooq and Kugler said in the report.


Medicaid is helping poor patients get needed care, even as Republicans push to cut it, study finds

Los Angeles Times

As the Trump administration and congressional Republicans push for sweeping cuts to the Medicaid safety net, a study released Wednesday provides new evidence the program is significantly improving poor Americans' access to vital medical care. Low-income patients in Arkansas and Kentucky, two states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, are getting check-ups more regularly and delaying care because of cost less frequently. Perhaps most encouraging, poor patients with chronic illnesses such diabetes are also seeking more regular care for their disease, according to the study, published in the journal Health Affairs. By contrast, low-income patients in Texas, which has not expanded Medicaid through Obamacare, have seen few gains in access to care in recent years, the researchers found. "With the changes being debated in Washington, we think this is very important to understanding the impact that [a repeal of Obamacare] might have on the most vulnerable people," said Harvard University's Dr. Benjamin Sommers, the lead author of the study.


GOP tax plan would decimate California's low-income housing funding, Chiang says in letter to Congress

Los Angeles Times

Welcome to Essential Politics, our in-the-moment look at California political and government news. GOP tax plan would decimate California's low-income housing funding, Chiang says in letter to Congress The tax plan authored by House GOP leaders would wipe out billions of dollars in funding for low-income housing in California, according to a Friday letter to Congress authored by State Treasurer John Chiang and lawmakers. Under the GOP's tax proposal unveiled yesterday, part of a tax credit program that reduces what companies owe in taxes in exchange for investing in low-income housing projects would effectively be eliminated, and so would a federal bond program that also funds housing developments. The two efforts generated billions of dollars to help build or preserve more than 19,000 low-income housing units in California last year -- two-thirds of the state's production, Chiang's letter said. "We cannot overstate the vital role these programs play in building and preserving affordable housing throughout the nation, but especially in California as we struggle with a housing crisis that is quickly metastasizing into a humanitarian and public health catastrophe," the letter said.


Cutting Planned Parenthood funding is a great way to punish poor women

Mashable

With the imminent inauguration of President-elect Donald J. Trump, Congressional Republicans now have exactly what they need to make good on a long-held obsession: "defunding" Planned Parenthood. Their previous effort to strip the nonprofit health care provider of the federal funding it uses for routine healthcare was stymied by President Obama's veto, but Trump has no such qualms. So it's important that Americans are clear on exactly what this means. SEE ALSO: These lawmakers want to make sure you can't have an abortion -- so we asked if they ever had one. "Defunding" requires excluding Planned Parenthood from participating in Medicaid, the federal insurance program for poor and low-income Americans younger than 65.


The world has failed at vaccine equity. Will 2022 be different?

Al Jazeera

On December 4, 2020, a 90-year-old grandmother in the United Kingdom became the first person in the world to receive a vaccine proven to be highly effective against COVID-19, kicking off a rollout of inoculants developed with unprecedented speed under dire circumstances in high-income countries across the globe. Two and half months later, on February 24, the first vaccines shipped under the COVAX initiative, a World Health Organization (WHO), GAVI vaccines alliance, and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) mechanism that sought to coordinate simultaneous distribution to both wealthy and poor countries, arrived in Accra, Ghana. Public health officials warned at the time that an equitable vaccine rollout – through COVAX, regional organisations, and bilateral donations – was essential to preventing mutations of dangerous variants that would prolong the pandemic, and potentially evade vaccines. As 2022 approaches, with nearly nine billion vaccine doses administered worldwide, public health experts say goals of global vaccine equity have fallen woefully short. Not only has ramped-up vaccine production failed to address shortages in low-income countries, but there remains a long way to go in addressing the myriad challenges related to getting vaccines from tarmacs in low-income countries into residents' arms.