Updates

Communications from SPW

March 13, 2018

Work Requirements Don’t Solve Problems

Construction worker carrying a big pipeSince 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). Continue reading “Work Requirements Don’t Solve Problems”

February 13, 2018

The President’s Budget Doesn’t Reflect Smart Policy

Rebuild America's Infrastructure panel from White House budget graphicsThe 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”

January 22, 2018

Every Day Without a Budget Hurts Healthcare

Today's word: continuing resolution - from the White House websiteSmart 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.


See more posts on healthcare

January 22, 2018

The Executive Order and Veteran Suicide

President Trump signs executive order to improve mental health services for veteransOn 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”

January 17, 2018

It’s 2018 – and the ACA is Still Popular

Illinios New 1 license plate for January 2018Last year we had what we hope will be the last significant legislative effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The culmination came just a few days before Christmas with the signing of a bill undoing a major element of the ACA. It didn’t have any words like “healthcare” or “personal responsibility” in the title, but the Tax and Jobs Act, signed by President Trump on December 22, effectively eliminated the individual mandate as a spur for people to obtain coverage. The bill’s passage gave the majority their first legislative victory after nine years of efforts to kill the ACA. For those scoring at home, that puts the anti-ACA camp’s win-loss record at 1-70. Continue reading “It’s 2018 – and the ACA is Still Popular”

November 14, 2017

Small Businesses Want Good Employee Insurance

Health coverage factors that matter most important to small business owners for recruiting and retaining employeesIn a survey of 127 women-owned businesses in the Midwest, the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) and Smart Policy Works learned that affordable and accessible healthcare is a key consideration to starting and growing a small business.

We conducted the survey in late 2016 with the WBDC’s network of certified women business owners from the organization’s nine-state region, was intended to give a voice to these employers and gauge their perspectives on the ongoing healthcare debate. Continue reading “Small Businesses Want Good Employee Insurance”

October 25, 2017

What’s in a Name?

Barabara Otto speaking at Smart Policy Works launchI’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.

Continue reading “What’s in a Name?”

October 14, 2017

HDA Condemns Latest Attacks on the Affordable Care Act

Screenshot of image search results of President Trump signing executive order to weaken the ACA>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.

Continue reading “HDA Condemns Latest Attacks on the Affordable Care Act”

May 24, 2017

Say Hi to Bystander Intervention

Stick figure saying HiJust 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. Continue reading “Say Hi to Bystander Intervention”