Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Orleans’ mayor commits to tackling unemployment among black men; Rep. Barrow: Louisiana should take Medicaid expansion; Another task force tackles transportation funding shortfall; and State ranks poorly in frequency of men killing women

New Orleans’ mayor commits to tackling unemployment among black men
More than half of African-American men in New Orleans are unemployed—about 38,000 people—a shockingly high share that far surpasses any state or national average. On Monday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced a commitment to lower that rate and help black men enroll in job training and provide pathways to steady jobs, reports the Times-Picayune, though specific initiatives and sources of funding have yet to be rolled out. The push came out of a report last year from Loyola University that detailed the vast disparities in employment and identified major hurdles. According to the Times-Picayune, researchers “found a population where half the men had high school diplomas, were fathers and had access to a car. They discovered more than one out of every four earned most of their money through informal work and that 43 percent had never married. Over 60 percent had been arrested, but only 43 percent had been convicted of a crime.

Rep. Barrow: Louisiana should take Medicaid expansion
Writing in The Advocate, state Rep. Regina Barrow of Baton Rouge makes the case that expanding Medicaid coverage to the working poor is a win for hospitals and patients alike:

Accepting the Medicaid expansion is the perfect free-market solution to the crisis of the uninsured. The money follows the patient. The hospital or clinic that can serve the newly insured earns their business.”

Not only would the federal government pay for over 90 percent of the costs, Medicaid expansion would also help create jobs and strengthen the workforce. Moving away from charity hospitals and toward a 21st century, coverage model of care would help avoid crises like the near-closure of the emergency room at Baton Rouge General’s mid-city hospital:

“Under Jindal’s privatization plan, the state picks the winners and the losers. The private hospitals with the state contracts get paid for the uninsured’s business. The hospitals — like Baton Rouge General — that don’t get paid for the uninsured patients will have to close clinics, ERs or entire facilities.”

Another task force tackles transportation funding shortfall
Louisiana has a $12 billion laundry list of overdue road repairs because of years of insufficient infrastructure funding. On Wednesday, a new legislative task force will meet for the first time to think up new ideas for tackling the problem, reports the Associated Press. But the eight members of the new task force are unlikely to make much progress in strengthening the gas tax or raising any new revenue for roads in a political environment where Gov. Bobby Jindal has threatened a veto of almost any tax bill. As the AP notes, “ideas from previous study groups have gone nowhere.”

State ranks poorly in frequency of men killing women
Twenty years after the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in September 1994—and with domestic violence in the news this week after the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice was indefinitely suspended for beating his wife unconscious—a new report from the Violence Policy Center finds Louisiana ranks 4th worst when measuring the percentage of men killed by women, according to the Shreveport Times. Last year, 45 Louisiana women were killed by men, a rate of almost 2 out of every 100,000. Almost all of the women knew their murderer. Half were killed by a husband, ex-husband or boyfriend. Louisiana has ranked in the top ten for nine out of the last 10 years.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

52—Percentage of black men in New Orleans who are unemployed (Source: Times-Picayune)