Archives: Voices

Close the Medicaid coverage gap

I have terrible chronic pain that’s left me unable to work for the last few years. I can’t sleep well, and every day is a battle just to take care of myself. It would be life-changing if I could be seen by a doctor. But I’m one of the 2 million Americans caught in what’s called the Medicaid coverage gap: we’re people in a no man’s land who can’t afford health insurance on their own, but aren’t eligible for their state or federal health insurance programs.

Hurricanes Maria and Fiona show our shameful neglect of Puerto Rico and her 3.5 million U.S. citizens 

As my flight descended into San Juan, I was surprised and amazed to see what appeared to be hundreds and hundreds of swimming pools dotting the landscape of Puerto Rico’s capital. But as the airplane banked and descended further, and the landscape expanded outside my window, my amazement turned to horror and anguish: what appeared to be swimming pools, I now saw, were actually blue tarps, covering thousands and thousands of houses. 

Voter registration: ‘It takes less than 2 minutes’ 

Tuesday, September 20 marks the 10th anniversary of National Voter Education Day. This civic and nonpartisan holiday was created to help educate and unite the American people. Volunteers from all over the country flood busy college campuses, libraries, and workplaces to help people register or update their registration to vote.

CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, September 16, 2022

The U.S. Census Bureau poverty data edition. This week brought us a trove of data related to the level of poverty in America. There is much good news to report, along with some bad, and along the way we have learned some important lessons about the ability of government to do good when it comes to lifting up our children and our families. 

Celebrating Disability Voting Rights Week: ‘The largest minority voting bloc’ 

Every year, issues that directly impact people with disabilities, such as Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare are placed on the operating table, ready to be sliced up and examined. “Vote as if your life depends on it because it does,” says Justin Dart, Co-Founder of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). This statement can resonate with anyone but rings especially true for people with disabilities.  

CHN: Federal investments pay off and lift millions out of poverty

In 2021, families saw the benefits of federal investments in their well-being. The Child Tax Credit, improved nutrition assistance, and other benefits aimed at helping people cope with the economic dislocations of the pandemic worked to lift millions of people out of poverty. The Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which takes many federal benefits into account in calculating poverty rates, found that 9.6 million fewer people were poor because of low-income tax credits, and 8.9 million people were protected from poverty by the stimulus payments sent out. Other forms of assistance also lifted millions out of poverty, including SNAP and school lunch food aid (3.4 million) and housing subsidies (2.4 million).   

CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, September 2, 2022

The back-to-school edition. Kids are returning to classrooms, but we find students, teachers, and schools themselves in a pandemic-related crisis. For students, the damage that has been done became more apparent than ever this past Thursday, September 1, when new data revealed just how big a hit students took academically during the pandemic’s first two years. New test results from the National Assessment for Educational Progress, often called the “nation’s report card,” showed students of all income levels and ethnicities on average fared much worse in early 2022 than they did in early 2020, just before the pandemic. But students from families with low incomes and Black and Hispanic students fared even worse. 

Biden’s student debt relief is a big deal

We’re told that higher education is one of the best ways to overcome poverty. But for many indebted borrowers, it’s been just the opposite. Since 1980, the cost of college has increased at nearly 9 times the rate of paychecks. If you’re poor and don’t join the military, land a full scholarship, or gain a mysterious wealthy benefactor, you have one option: borrowing against your future prospects.

An historic action: Advocates applaud Biden announcement on student debt relief 

Many human needs advocates are applauding President Biden’s decision this week to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt – an executive order that would completely wipe out student debt for 20 million Americans. Biden’s order appears carefully tailored to target those who need the most help. His action would provide up to $10,000 in relief for all holders of student debt, and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. Only individuals who earn less than $125,000 or couples earning less than $250,000 a year would qualify for either level of loan forgiveness.