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August 2009 Newsletter
Health Care Reform
"From touring a national model disability center to visiting a community health center, working in President Obama’s White House Health Reform Task Force has been an incredible vehicle to help shape national health reform. I have hosted public forums and listened to stories and ideas from thousands of Arizonans to send to the President. As one of 32 legislators nationwide – the only state lawmaker from Arizona – selected for the President’s task force, I look forward to sharing best practices and lessons I learned from being a member of this team.
"One such story, which I took back to the Task Force, is the example of the Athertons, who adopted their daughter Becca when she was just a baby. They knew she had a life-threatening heart condition, but they also knew that with enough love, they could give her a chance at life. Becca, now 16, has had four heart surgeries, 17 heart catherizations, and the placement of a pacemaker defibrillator. She takes 40 pills a day and sleeps with oxygen at night. Her parents used private insurance at first to pay for Becca’s care, but those costs doubled each month and ballooned to unthinkable costs. They turned to a state program, but the funding for that program and for other vital health services were cut this year.
"To find out more about my efforts with the White House Health Reform Task Force and to submit your ideas and stories, please visit me on Facebook or my office website here."
Other Health Care Reform Efforts
Many of our YEOs are also working tirelessly on the health care issue.
In addition to Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, four other YEOs have been named to President Obama’s White House Health Reform Task Force: Maine State Representative Hannah Pingree, Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur, Illinois State Representative Susana Mendoza, and Pennsylvania State Representative Josh Shapiro. The goal of the task force is to “educate… communities on the need for health reform this year…host public events, author opinion pieces in local publications, and use their established networks to organize constituents in support of health reform." In addition, the team will submit a white paper that includes recommendations based on feedback received from town hall meetings, cyber discussions, conference calls, and emails with health care professionals, insurers, and citizens who are having trouble finding affordable health insurance.
Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy has introduced legislation that will waive mandatory waiting periods for uninsured children who would otherwise qualify for health coverage under state-federal programs. "Struggling families across the U.S won't have to make an impossible choice between providing vital health care coverage for their kids or paying for other basic needs, if they lose their jobs or face unaffordable out-of-pocket medical expenses," Congressman Murphy said.
Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan has announced a bill that aims to reduce the need for abortions by preventing unintended pregnancies. The legislation would increase access to contraceptive services, health care coverage for pregnant women and children, and adoption. It would also expand access to comprehensive sex education and adoption programs.
Alabama State Representative Merika Coleman introduced a bill that would require hospitals to disclose information in writing to patients about financial assistance programs for which they may be eligible. The information would be sent along with bills for hospital services. "What this would do is highlight for folks charitable programs," said Rep. Coleman. "Oftentimes people don't even know they exist."
Maine State Representative Alex Cornell du Houx served in Iraq with the Marines in 2006, and in his recent article in The Huffington Post he speaks about his discovery that health care for veterans is not as ironclad as you would think. Click here to read the full article by Rep. Cornell du Houx.
Rev. Joseph Lowery Receives Medal of Freedom
On behalf of the Young Elected Officials Network and the entire People For the American Way Foundation staff, it is our pleasure to congratulate Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery for being one of the 16 individuals selected by President Barack Obama to receive the Freedom Medal. We had the distinct honor of having Dr. Lowery as our keynote speaker at the Opening Reception during the YEO National Convening in Atlanta. His words inspired and invigorated us to continue our public service on the front lines of change.
When asked his thoughts about receiving the highest honor bestowed on a civilian Lowery said, “I am simply overwhelmed by this honor and especially grateful that an ordinary small town preacher such as I could be so honored....should be a great encouragement to all ordinary folks.”
We salute Dr. Lowery for this most deserved award and thank him for his lifetime service to justice, equality, and to humanity.
YEOs Training the Next Generation
The YEO Network would like to thank Florida YEOs, State Representative Oscar Braynon, II and State Senator Dave Aronberg for their participation in the inaugural Lawton Chiles Foundation Leadership Corps. This Florida-specific youth program is a bi-partisan effort to take the state’s education system from “worst to first.” Rep. Braynon co-trained 45 young people at a YEO Network civic engagement workshop, teaching the student leaders about grassroots campaigns. Both YEOs participated in a rousing Political Leaders Q&A, which was followed by an address from former President Bill Clinton.
When I first ran for the school board seat, I was starting my second business, just had my third son, and had moved back into the neighborhood in which I grew up...
In his arrogance, the incumbent thought that the community wouldn't care about the allegations against him which were undermining the integrity of the political process. I couldn't stop thinking that if I didn't do something about this, we would have another four years of the same thing. This guy was going to create policies for my school-aged children! I just couldn't stand around and wait for someone to make the rules for me...There was a point before I even filed as a candidate, where I looked at the guy and thought to myself, "You are in my seat."
“The Vision for the New England High Speed and Intercity Rail Network lays out key projects to strengthen passenger and freight rail service along new and existing rail corridors. The goal is to double passenger rail ridership in the Northeast by 2030.”
Click here for more information on the New England High Speed and Intercity rail network.
Progressive Policy Corner
RX Plus: Lowering the Cost of Prescription Drugs in Maine
Fair Share for Health Care in Maryland
Policy Brief from the Sloan Work and Family Research Network
“Paid Family Leave: One Solution to Helping Today’s Working Families Meet Their Family Responsibilities at Critical Times”
The Alfred P. Sloan Work and Family Research Network is a premier online destination for information about work and family. The Network serves a global community interested in work and family research by providing resources and building knowledge. The Network targets the information needs of academics and researchers, workplace practitioners, state public policy makers, and interested individuals. It is the place to find high-quality research and reports, easy-to-read summary sheets and briefs, and work-family topic pages.
Click here to read their brief on Paid Family Leave (PFL), entitled “Paid Family Leave: One Solution to Helping Today’s Working Families Meet Their Family Responsibilities at Critical Times." The brief describes state policy efforts to address PFL, why such policy is being introduced, why federal legislation in the form of the Family and Medical Leave Act is insufficient for many, and how PFL affects working families, employers, and the government.
©2009 Young Elected Officials Network
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