Medicaid freeze would leave workers out in the cold

Medicaid freeze would leave workers out in the cold

Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone has proposed to “freeze” Medicaid enrollment if elected governor, a move that would cost thousands of people their access to healthcare. The Advocate’s Lanny Keller points out that a freeze would hit particularly hard for low-income workers like the neighbors Rispone grew up with:

As best anyone can tell, given Rispone’s vast silences, the goal of a Medicaid “freeze” is to use complex enrollment and re-enrollment procedures to kick off health insurance the folks he used to live with in north Baton Rouge, who cooked food and cleaned floors and labored to build things. As a policy, that is not just counterproductive for health care in Louisiana. It’s morally repugnant, and completely at odds with the message of Rispone’s bio spot.

Keller points to a recent blog by LBP that shows how a “freeze” has worked in other states. 

Expansion supporters at the Louisiana Budget Project slammed the notion, very thoroughly. “Although Rispone has provided no details about his plan, the experience of other states shows that an enrollment freeze would reverse the dramatic gains in health coverage that Louisiana has seen since Medicaid was expanded in 2016,” LBP director Jan Moller wrote. “An enrollment freeze also would face legal roadblocks and potentially drive up the state’s health care costs by hundreds of millions of dollars.”

 

Housing market is pricing out black families
Black Americans are seeing the lowest unemployment levels in years, but the cost of home ownership has outpaced economic gains for black workers. This leaves many black families priced out of real estate markets that would have been accessible just six years ago, locking them out from an important avenue for building wealth. For Kjara Smith, a 30-year-old black woman in Las Vegas, rising home prices meant settling for a less-than-ideal home in a challenging neighborhood, rather than settling close to her relatives. Paul Davidson of USA Today has more:

The median-income black household could afford just 25% of U.S. homes on the market last year, down from 39% in 2012, according to data provided exclusively to USA TODAY by real estate brokerage Redfin and based on the 46 largest markets. By contrast, median-income white households could afford 57% of homes for sale last year, down from 69% seven years ago. “African Americans who haven’t been able to buy a home since the recovery began have only seen prices rise further and further out of budget,” says Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist.


Race is still a problem in the South
The road to shared prosperity starts with addressing the racial inequities that hold back people of color from full participation in America’s economy. A new report by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s E Pluribus Unum Fund highlights persistent barriers facing people of color in the South and calls upon leaders to find common ground to remove those barriers. The AP’s Kevin McGill has more: 

Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is tackling the race issue, starting with a report called ”Divided by Design.” The report released Friday is based on surveys and interviews with people in 28 communities in 13 Southern states. It touts efforts to bridge racial gaps. But it also says segregation and inequality remain major barriers to advancement for many. And it notes widespread, conflicting views on racism among African Americans, Latinos and whites.


Black Voters Matter is elevating issues in elections

LaTosha Brown and Cliff Albright of Black Voters Matter have been traveling on what they call “the blackest bus in America,” working to build political power around the issues that impact black citizens. But while their goal is to increase black voters’ impact on elections, their method is different from traditional get-out-the-vote efforts. Janell Ross of NBC News explains how Black Voters Matter is organizing communities by focusing on the issues that rarely get candidates’ attention, rather than simply encouraging black voters to vote:

Brown and Albright also began planning their next trips this year: Georgia, Mississippi and Virginia. “There are black people all over this country, living in red states and blue states, where their issues are every bit as serious and complex as Flint and almost equally ignored,” Brown said. “But we see that pattern as an opportunity. We know that the hard stuff, the ignored stuff is what people really care about.”

 

Number of the Day
16.5% – The percentage of homes for sale in New Orleans in 2018 that were affordable, based on the median incomes for black and white residents and assuming a 20% down payment. This is a 15.1 percentage point decline from 2012. (Source: USA Today via Redfin)