Communications from SPW

The Executive Order and Veteran Suicide

On January 9, President Trump signed an executive order expanding access to mental health care for Veterans as they transition out of military service. The details of this move are not finalized, but it will include allowing access to Military OneSource for 12 months.

For those who think that transitioning Veterans are not eligible for mental health care currently – let me assure you that is not the case. However it can be confusing. Once a Veteran is discharged from the service they can apply for disability benefits at the VA, but most will wait an extended period of time before their applications are approved. Continue reading “The Executive Order and Veteran Suicide”

What’s in a Name?

Barb addresses 25th Anniversary and SPW launch gatheringI’m really excited to share our news – on October 26th we are launching our new name and identity, Smart Policy Works.

The name Smart Policy Works signifies our commitment to making policy work smarter, not harder. It is the culmination of 25 years of working with communities, social services and health providers, and government to break down barriers to health and well-being.

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HDA Condemns Latest Attacks on the Affordable Care Act

Trump in the news over CSRsHealth & Disability Advocates stands in strong opposition to the steps President Trump has taken to undermine the vital consumer protections found in the Affordable Care Act. As a result of pushing federal agencies to expand the growth of association and short term insurance plans, coupled with his late night decision to end critical subsidy payments to insurers, people with complex conditions are now at greater risk than ever for higher premiums, lifetime caps, and losing coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

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Say Hi to Bystander Intervention

Just introduce yourself and say, “Hi.” That’s all it takes and all I’m asking. Don’t fall prey to thinking that someone else is going to intervene. They aren’t. (See Why People Don’t Intervene and this famous New York Times article from 1964 describing how 37 people saw the murder of Catherine Genovese and did nothing.)

Bystander intervention has been a staple of sexual assault prevention. Colleges are increasingly adapting the philosophy and encouraging incoming students to learn about the concept.

At the core, we’re trying to change youth’s reluctance to intervene – a laudable goal and one that helps remove the burden of prevention from solely resting on the shoulders of a survivor. Bystander intervention means that we all have a role to play in prevention. But the challenge with any attempt to change behavior is making as clear as possible the script: what is the behavior to change, when, and how.

We get that you shouldn’t forcibly rape someone. However, rarely are any of us in a situation which has already escalated into a stereotypical rape. More often, we’re in a drinking scene where one is encouraging another to drink in excess. There’s our cue: Introduce yourself.

Promising anecdotes show that a third party coming up and saying “Hi, my name is John. How about this weather?” reduces the likelihood of sexual assault (see One Act). Being a sociable person, at an event where the point is to talk to others, is a form of bystander intervention.

Granted, merely introducing oneself and then walking away is not the intervention: Engaging with both persons is the intervention. Once in that conversation, the third party now has an opportunity to present the other person with an out: “Hey, do you want to come talk with some of my friends?”

The new “introduce yourself” concept appears to resonate with those I’ve taught. It’s clearer than “If you see something, say something.” (What is the something I’m looking for? What do I say?) With this model, if you’re at a party where someone seems to be pressuring someone to drink, then just go up, say “Hi” and see what’s going on.

In other words, keep mingling.

A Sad Day for Health Care in America

Screenshot of final House vote on HR 1628Health & Disability Advocates was disappointed that the House of Representatives passed HR 1628 – The American Health Care Act (AHCA). Despite assurances that the AHCA will ensure better coverage at less cost, the AHCA will instead:

  • Cause an estimated 24 million people to lose coverage
  • Give states the option to remove cost and coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions
  • Reduce Medicaid funding to all states by $880 billion over the next ten years
  • Increase out-of-pocket costs for seniors

Continue reading “A Sad Day for Health Care in America”

How Much Medicaid Flexibility Do States Already Have?

Congressional proposals have argued that states deserve more flexibility in their Medicaid programs.

But states already have great flexibility in their Medicaid programs.

Every state has its own Medicaid plan, which can be permanently altered. This series of informational briefs seeks to show in clear and simple ways how states can change the payments rates, services covered, benefits and benefit limits, and their cost-sharing in partnership with the federal government. We hope you find them helpful.

Continue reading “How Much Medicaid Flexibility Do States Already Have?”

ACA Congressional Outreach

Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois’ member of Ways & Means

Right now, Congress is weighing the merits of the “American Health Care Act” – the ACA repeal-and-replace bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimates 24 million would lose coverage. These are regular, middle-class people who would be left behind: older adults, people with disabilities, people with complex health needs. People like you and your neighbors. Read our statement

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Our One-pagers on ACA and Medicaid

As you know, the Affordable Care Act is critically threatened. And these threats extend beyond the confines of the ACA to include attacks on Medicaid the overall federal-state healthcare system. Anticipated changes will dramatically affect people’s lives and shift the entire health care landscape.

That’s why we are creating this series of one-pagers, to show in clear and simple ways how the protections of the ACA affect everyday people’s lives in substantial ways.

Continue reading “Our One-pagers on ACA and Medicaid”

Giving Voice to SCI Patients in Their Own Research

Person using a wheelchairEvery time Joe needs routine health care unrelated to his spinal cord injury (SCI), he ends up providing the doctors with a laundry list of things they should be asking him, but don’t. Even though he is in his 30s, Joe doesn’t have a primary care physician. He can’t find one with an accessible office for routine exams; he gets his routine care from the specialist who he’s been seeing for his SCI. He’s starting to give up on trying to find a primary care physician because every time he educates them about how his injury affects his health, he gets a new doctor and has to start all over again. He feels it’s a waste of time and demoralizing, so he’s just stopped looking for a primary care physician.

Continue reading “Giving Voice to SCI Patients in Their Own Research”