In The Spotlight

Louisiana families continue to struggle

The poverty rate in Louisiana for adults and children remained unacceptably high in 2016 even as other states saw significant improvements. New U.S. Census data released Thursday also show that Louisiana continues to have one of the highest rates of income inequality in the United States.

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Uninsured rate at historic low. Progress threatened by repeal efforts.

More Louisianans than ever before were covered by health insurance in 2016, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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NEW REPORT: State of Working Louisiana

Every Louisiana worker deserves access to a steady job, with good benefits, that pays enough to afford basic necessities. But that is not the reality for many families in our state.

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The Daily Dime

Every major health group in the country opposes Sen. Bill Cassidy’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act that would lead to major coverage losses, decimation of the Medicaid program and instability in the individual market.

Number of the Day

$97 billion - Total loss of federal funding for Louisiana under the Cassidy-Graham proposal from 2020 - 2036. (Source: Avalere)

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Our Two Cents Blog

Congress has a lot on its plate as it returns to work this week from its annual August vacation. The list of “must-pass” legislation includes raising the debt ceiling, reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, making a down-payment on Hurricane Harvey relief and passing a bill to keep the federal government from shutting down.

One proposal that deserves to stay on the shelf, however, is the budget resolution approved in July along strict partisan lines by the House Budget Committee. This resolution – essentially a 10-year blueprint for federal spending – calls for deep cuts to programs that serve working families, children, the elderly and disabled people. It substantially increases defense spending and cuts taxes for the wealthiest people and corporations.

House and Senate leaders in Congress may try to use the same “fast track” procedure for the budget resolution that was tried earlier this year during the failed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  Instead of rushing an irresponsible budget plan through Congress, legislators should start over in a bipartisan fashion to craft a responsible budget that support working families and vulnerable Americans by protecting vital programs.

The budget plan proposes $1.3 trillion in cuts to “non-defense discretionary” programs over the next decade. This is the area of federal spending that includes job training and education, housing assistance, environmental protection and other key public services. By 2027, non-defense discretionary spending as a share of the economy would be at its lowest point since before the Great Depression.

With reduced federal funding for public services, the state would be left in the tenuous position of deciding whether to continue critical public programs including early childhood education centers, rental assistance, and domestic violence prevention efforts using already-limited state funds, or end those programs entirely.  

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