One of the most popular aspects of the Affordable Care Act is the protection it provides for people with pre-existing conditions from discrimination by health insurance companies. Nearly two-thirds of Americans support that provision. But not Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who recently joined a federal lawsuit that seeks to strip those protection and threaten the coverage for 849,000 non-elderly Louisianans who have a “declinable pre-existing condition.” Elizabeth Crisp of the Advocate has more:
Appearing on CNN Monday morning, Landry said it would be the Louisiana Legislature’s responsibility to protect people with pre-existing conditions from losing coverage if the latest anti-Obamacare lawsuit he’s backing is successful. “I think that would be a debate we would have at the Capitol in the Legislature,” Landry said. Landry, a Republican, was repeatedly pressed during the interview for specifics on what the GOP alternative would be in Louisiana. “I’m not the Legislature — I’m the attorney general making sure we abide by the rule of the law,” he said.
The Democratic governor called Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry’s decision to back the Texas-based lawsuit “deeply disturbing.” … “Entering into this lawsuit should not be an impulse decision. It requires thoughtful consideration of the repercussions to the people of Louisiana,” Edwards said in a statement. … “It’s clear he did not think this through,” Edwards said.
Spoiler alert: The Legislature has no plan for protecting those whose coverage would be threatened if Landry’s lawsuit is successful.
Cash bail is an injustice against the poor
As Louisiana continues down the path of criminal justice reform, some are calling for an overhaul of the bail system as a way to ensure that low-income people accused of crimes aren’t held in custody simply because they cannot afford freedom. The Lafourche Daily Comet weighs in:
It is worth exploring alternatives that might give defendants strong incentives to come back to court without locking away people who simply cannot afford to purchase their freedom. … Some states have done away with cash bails altogether. One reform idea is to implement an assessment system that assigns bond values based on the defendant’s risk to the community rather than simply having certain values for certain charges. Some estimates say that seven out of 10 people in American prisons are there awaiting trial – meaning they have not been convicted of any crime. That means that we have a problem that deserves attention and thought.
Nursing homes and the mentally ill
A two-year investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice found that Louisiana violated federal disability law by warehousing people with mental illness in nursing homes instead of providing them with less-restrictive options. The probe led to a legal settlement that requires the state to provide more home- and community-based options. Now comes the hard part: implementing the settlement. The Advocate’s editorial board:
“Individuals with serious mental illness in nursing facilities in Louisiana who express a desire to leave the facility and return to their own communities routinely receive little or no assistance to do so,” the Justice Department wrote. This means that Louisiana may well have to invest more in the home- and community-based programs that would help those willing — and able — to move from nursing homes.That can be problematic for the budget, subject to months of tiresome dispute in the State Capitol this year. Home- and community-based services are in an annual tussle in the Legislature with traditional nursing homes for limited dollars. This can also be problematic for individuals who are without family support. Obviously, in an aging society, nursing care is necessary for the elderly in physical need.
Teacher diversity and student outcomes
The teaching corps is making strides in racial diversity, but women actually make up a larger percentage of teachers than they did decades ago. Girls are pulling ahead academically and graduating high school at higher rates than boys, which has prompted researchers to look into the feminized teaching corps as a contributing factor to their success. But what if gender is not the only factor? Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times’ Upshot blog reports that black students, particularly boys, fare better in school when they have a teacher who looks like them.
The effect is stronger on boys. Research has found that boys, and particularly black boys, are more affected than girls by disadvantages, like poverty and racism, and by positive influences, like high-quality schools and role models. Yet they are least likely to have had a teacher that looks like them. … When black children had a black teacher between third and fifth grades, boys were significantly less likely to later dropout of high school, and both boys and girls were more likely to attend college, Mr. Gershenson and his colleagues found in a large study last year. The effect was strongest for children from low-income families. The study included 106,000 students who entered third grade in North Carolina from 2001 to 2005, and it followed them through high school. There was no effect on white children when they had a black teacher.
Number of the day
$48,000 – The annual income required for a family of four to break into the “middle class” of Louisiana. (Source: Pew Research Center)