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Economic Justice: Access to health care – 3/1/2011

Still no action has been taken last week on HB 1847 that generates more than $100 million/year to fund the Basic Health plan by closing tax loopholes.

Action: Call House Ways & Means Committee Chair Ross Hunter and request he schedule a hearing for HB 1847.

HB 1889, which requires review of all tax expenditures on a biennial basis so that the costs and benefits of these programs are better coordinated with the budget calendar, was heard in House Ways & Means.

Action: Ask House Ways & Means members to take Executive Action to pass HB 1889 out of committee and refer it to Rules.

Basic Health, Disability Lifeline, and Apple Health for Kids: The House and Senate kept Basic Health alive through the end of the current biennium, however, they did eliminate benefits for people earning more than 133% times the federal poverty level: $29,725/year for a family of four. Individuals who fail to document they are legal residents will also lose their Basic Health. It is believe that 17,500 people will lose their Basic Health on March 1,2011 as a result of these changes.

What is worse, rumors abound there is an increased projected budgetary shortfall about to be announced. This will once again put pressure on legislators to cut Basic Health, Disability Lifeline, and Apple Health for Kids when the 2011-2013 biennium budget is developed.

Action: If you have not already called your representatives and senator to ask they support Basic Health, Disability Lifeline and Apple Health for Kids in the biennial budget, now might be a good time. Tell them they can get additional needed revenue by passing HB 1847.

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