Daily Archives: May 16, 2018

Passage of Dental Therapy Expands Access to Affordable Care (video)

Joint Health Committee Meeting

Joint House and Senate Health Committee Hearing on Novermber 28, 2017

For several weeks during the 53rd Legislative Session, I posted (almost) daily one-minute video updates from my office at the Capitol and posted them on Facebook and YouTube.

I never imagined how wildly popular these videos would be. At the Capitol, #RedForEd advocates would randomly come up to me and say, “I love your videos!” Now that I am back in Tucson, people come up to me at events, at church and in stores, and say, “I love your videos!”

So… I will be keeping them up during the interim.

My first interim video is on the passage of dental therapy. To catch up, I am doing a few videos on some of the bills we passed in a flurry at the end of the 53rd Session last week.

On the very last day, we passed dental therapy as a striker on another bill. I played an integral role in getting dental therapy out of the sunrise committee hearing last fall. Going into the November hearing (pictured above), only Republican Senator Nancy Barto and I were supportive of dental therapy. After five hours of testimony, it passed out of the sunrise committee but had a rocky road in the Legislature. I’m glad it finally passed.

I believe dental therapy is good public health policy because it will offer affordable dental care in rural and urban areas. This will expand access to care, prevent tooth loss, and offer a new career to residents of Arizona.

To Learn more about why dental therapy is important, you can read:

Economic Inequality, Access to Care & Workforce Development: A Progressive Roadmap.

Here is some of the media coverage on the passage of dental therapy:

Arizona law creates dental therapists to handle fillings, extractions and crowns 

Arizona is about to get a new type of dental professional

Chester Antone: Dental therapists good for tribes, good for Arizona

Watch the video below the fold. (Cross-posted from PowersForThePeople.net.)

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9th Circuit Court of Appeals hears DACA appeal while new arrivals face family-separation policy

A three-judge panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Tuesday questioned the government’s rationale for terminating the DACA program that offered a reprieve from deportation to immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children, with one judge inquiring whether officials had yet considered re-justifying the decision to make it more legally sound. Appeals court hears arguments on DACA — but offers few clues on how it might rule:

The 9th Circuit is the first appellate court to hear oral arguments on whether the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA, can pass legal muster.

The judges — two appointed by President Barack Obama and one by President Bill Clinton — asked skeptical questions of both sides, and it was difficult to determine how they might rule.

The judges inquired about whether the judiciary could rightly second-guess what the government characterizes as an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, and whether the government might — as one lower court judge suggested — consider providing more solid legal reasoning for coming to the decision it did. They also asked about whether the government might have violated the due-process rights of DACA recipients whose lives could be upended.

A federal judge in San Francisco — weighing bids to save DACA from the states of California, Maine, Maryland and Minnesota; California’s university system; and individual DACA recipients — had blocked the administration from ending the program, at least temporarily. The ruling was largely based on the judge’s conclusion that the decision to end it was arbitrary and based on flawed legal reasoning.

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‘Economically forgotten’ have much in common with America’s poor

Axios.com has an Exclusive: 40% in U.S. can’t afford middle-class basics:

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 6.19.16 AM

Data: United Way; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

At a time of rock-bottom joblessness, high corporate profits and a booming stock market, more than 40% of U.S. households cannot pay the basics of a middle-class lifestyle — rent, transportation, child care and a cellphone, according to a new study.

Quick take: The study, conducted by United Way, found a wide band of working U.S. households that live above the official poverty line, but below the cost of paying ordinary expenses. Based on 2016 data, there were 34.7 million households in that group — double the 16.1 million that are in actual poverty, project director Stephanie Hoopes tells Axios.

Why it matters: For two years, U.S. politics has been dominated by the anger and resentment of a self-identified “forgotten” class, some left behind economically and others threatened by changes to their way of life.

  • The United Way study, to be released publicly Thursday, suggests that the economically forgotten are a far bigger group than many studies assume — and, according to Hoopes, appear to be growing larger despite the improving economy.
  • The study dubs that middle group between poverty and the middle class “ALICE” families, for Asset-limited, Income-constrained, Employed. (The map above, by Axios’ Chris Canipe, depicts that state-by-state population in dark brown.)
  • These are households with adults who are working but earning too little — 66% of Americans earn less than $20 an hour, or about $40,000 a year if they are working full time.

When you add them together with the people living in poverty, you get 51 million households. “It’s a magnitude of financial hardship that we haven’t been able to capture until now,” Hoopes said.

By the numbers: Using 2016 data collected from the states, the study found that North Dakota has the smallest population between poverty and middle class, at 32% of its households. The largest is 49%, in California, Hawaii and New Mexico. “49% is shocking. 32% is also shocking,” Hoopes said.

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