Once at a high school track meet, a boy grabbed my butt. Before I could do anything, he scurried back to his group of male friends where they proceeded to point and laugh at me.
Later I told my mother what happened. She shared with me that a similar thing had happened to her when she was my age. It was comforting knowing that I was not alone. But it was frustrating knowing that my experience, like hers, would most likely not be addressed or taken seriously by any authority figure. Continue reading “Sexual Assault: A Community’s Responsibility”
We were distraught and disheartened – but sadly, not surprised – by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General report released Tuesday, which found that nearly half of the denied claims related to military sexual trauma were denied due to improper processing.
Wrongly denying services for MST is life-threatening. It is hard enough for a survivor to trust someone enough to disclose their experience in the first place – let alone go through this challenging process of applying for benefits only to be turned away. Continue reading “VA Wrongly Denies MST Claims”
We spend a great deal on medical research that often does not reflect the interests of people who have the condition.
In 2016, $171.8 billion was spent on medical and health research and development in the United States, the majority (67.4%) financed by industry, which includes biopharmaceutical developers, medical technology developers and healthcare service companies. Federal spending on medical and health research is subject to statutory budget caps. The American Journal for Managed Care estimates that the US spends less than 5 cents of each health dollar on research and development. The result is industry-driven research that doesn’t reflect the needs and priorities of those who stand the most to gain from it – real people with the actual condition being studied. Continue reading “Empowering Patients to Drive Research”
In case you don’t know how to end rape, a quick online search brings forward dozens of three-point steps to ending rape culture, stopping rape on campuses, and empowering women. “Make it a man’s problem,” “Promote Enthusiastic Consent,” or “don’t raise your boys to be ‘tough. ‘ ” My sarcastic self wondered, “How about ‘Don’t do it’?”
The best answer is, “tell your story.” Look, stories are how we convince people. We aren’t convinced by statistics. Continue reading “Have You Done Enough to End Rape?”
Since efforts to repeal the ACA stalled out in Congress, the Trump Administration has used its administrative authority in an attempt to reshape Medicaid to be more in line with conservative arguments that employment is linked to better health outcomes and helps move people off Medicaid and out of poverty.
The Administration is giving the green light to states to condition Medicaid eligibility on meeting a work and/or community engagement requirement. Guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has expressed a preference for following existing federal program work requirements found in programs like the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). CMS has also indicated that they will allow states to account for local conditions such as high unemployment in certain areas and other factors such as “lack of viable transportation.”
To date, CMS has approved three state demonstration waivers – Arkansas, Kentucky and Indiana – incorporating work requirements; several other states reportedly have waivers pending [Note: We are keeping this fact sheet updated as these numbers continue to grow]. Each carries a combination of additional provisions that may affect the eligibility or affordability of coverage. Approved waivers have exemptions for work requirements for “medically frail” adults, certain caregivers, students and pregnant women.
The President’s proposed budget is a wholesale shift of federal responsibilities onto states, with little to no support for those states to fulfill those responsibilities. It includes cuts to fundamental federal programs such as public housing, utilities, and food assistance programs. It also revives the President’s wish to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act through the use of Medicaid block grants that would strip $250 billion from state Medicaid programs over the next ten years.
Smart Policy Works is most troubled by the efforts of this Administration and Congress to consistently undermine the Medicaid entitlement. A shift to block grants breaks the 50-year compact between the federal government and states to provide health care to the poor. A block grant – or flat funding – puts the onus on states to deliver the same quality of care without taking into account increases in medical costs, health care epidemics, or increased Medicaid enrollment in times of economic decline. Continue reading “The President’s Budget Doesn’t Reflect Smart Policy”
Smart Policy Works is pleased to see that an agreement in principle was reached that will re-open our government, fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and allow for the resumption of critical programs. We continue to stand with healthcare organizations, businesses, and leaders to express our grave concern about the effect of continued budget uncertainty will have on programs and services that support countless millions.
SPW has spent 25 years breaking down the barriers to healthcare access faced by millions with complex health conditions. Many of these barriers are created when policy is written and implemented in isolation, without consideration to its impact on the people it’s meant to support and how various health programs can work together to improve outcomes. Countless healthcare agencies and organizations rely on a stable policy framework to drive their operations and support the health of the people they serve. Addressing long-term budget issues with short-term continuations creates tremendous uncertainty, which then forces organizations to work in the short term as well.
We believe that a clear budget policy that seeks to broaden access to healthcare is the best solution for everyone. We will continue to evaluate actions in Washington and provide information that translates those actions into impacts at the federal, state, and local level.
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”
I’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.
Health & 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.