Too Small to Fail avoids D.C. "Madness" Speaking Directly to Parents with Twitter
VIDEO OF THE DAY
On October 1, the federal government succumbed to partisan gridlock, failed to pass a budget for the new fiscal year and grinded to a halt – idling as many as 800,000 federal employees and halting vital services for kids and families.
WIC, the nutrition program for low-income mothers and their children under the age of five, now only has enough funding until the end of October. The National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center, the hospital of last resort and home to cutting edge science, closed its doors – barring 200 patients from new clinical trials, including 30 children. Head Start closed 23 programs in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi – impacting roughly 19,000 children – causing a ripple effect among their families who often depend on the program for childcare.
President Obama’s remarks on the shutdown are here. With no end to the shutdown in sight, state governors across the nation are facing tough decisions. Brad Plumer supplies a list of how the shutdown impacts everything. For a synopsis on why Washington can’t get its act together, check out this essay by Ezra Klein. Alice Rivlin, director of the OMB during the 1995 shutdown, explains why today’s budget impasse is more serious. Bob Greenstein discusses why demanding policy concessions to resolve the stalemate makes this shutdown different and dangerous.
October 1 was a red-letter day for the Affordable Care Act, with the new health exchanges opening for business. Four days after opening, 8.6 million people visited www.getcoveredamerica.org and the exchange call center received 406,000 calls. Yet, despite a flood of initial interest, the site has been plagued by glitches since it’s launch.
Overwhelming traffic is a big part of the problem. The Obama Administration's top technology official revealed a major software component crashed under the weight of millions of users. Apparently the site was designed to manage roughly 50,000 to 60,000 simultaneous users and ended up handling 250,000. Major malfunctions have surfaced in the software design. Repairs are underway. Still, the setbacks have everyone, who expected ‘Travelocity for health care’ on Day One,” worried. More speculation about the cause of the glitches appear here and here.
Despite sweeping efforts to make health insurance affordable for everyone, gaping holes still exist in the coverage. Two-thirds of poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of low-wage workers remain uncovered under the ACA – primarily because many of these folks reside in the 26 states that have opted out of the new healthcare law. 6.6 million low-income kids in the U.S. also remain uninsured, even though two-thirds of these kids qualify for health coverage under Medicaid and CHIP. Child advocates hope the ACA’s outreach efforts to uninsured parents will serve as a ‘welcome mat’ encouraging more parents to enroll their children in these programs.
Powerful voices in support of children continue to be heard, despite the dissonance coming out of Washington.
In an Op-Ed, Hillary Clinton addresses the ‘word gap’ that often inflicts low-income children – affecting their early learning and preparation for school. In a call for greater investment in early education, former Senators Bill Frist and Chris Dodd point out that most brain development is complete by age three. Next Generation Board Chair and Co-Founder Jim Steyer calls on parents to embrace their role as their child’s first teacher. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a strong statement condemning the federal government shutdown – reprimanding Congress for failing to prioritize the needs of children in the budget. And, in a profile commemorating 40 years of work for the Children’s Defense Fund, the organization she founded, Marian Wright Edelman spells out why child advocacy is needed now more than ever.
Finally, with new data estimating that 22 percent of all Californians – and 25 percent of children – are living below the poverty line, Californians are mindful that the State’s social safety net needs strengthening. In addition to raising the minimum wage to $10.00, Governor Brown simplified eligibility for California's food stamp program. As the State with the second highest percentage of multigenerational households in the country, the passage of SB 770 extending paid family leave benefits all families, but especially families with higher risks of financial instability. Under the new healthcare law, California is extending free health insurance to families of three with incomes of $26,951 – aggressively promoting enrollment. Last Tuesday, despite its share of hiccups, during the first day of open enrollment, Covered California had about 514,000 unique visitors and more than five million page views. All things considered, it’s been a very good couple of weeks.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
“There will be no negotiations over this. The American people are not pawns in some political game. You don't get to demand some ransom in exchange for keeping the government running.” Remarks made by the President on the government shutdown, Rockville, Maryland, October 3, 2013.
“Save us from the madness." Sentiments expressed every day last week by Senate Chaplain, Barry C. Black, during his morning invocation in the U.S. Senate.
"We know it's frustrating for everyone." Kathryn Gaglione, manager of public relations at the National Association of Health Underwriters, on how health insurance agents and brokers as well as consumers are dealing with the delays gaining online access to the new healthcare exchanges.
"You can't campaign on the fact that millions don't have healthcare and then be surprised that millions don't have healthcare,” "How could you not be ready? That's like 1-800-FLOWERS getting caught off guard by Valentine's Day." Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Anchor, Saturday Night Live-October 5, 2015.
“I am totally intolerant and inflexible about children going hungry in the richest nation on earth . . . about children being homeless, about children being in schools that don’t teach them how to learn. If that is inflexible, yeah, I’m inflexible.” Marion Wright Edelman responding to a question about having a reputation for being inflexible.
GRAPH OF THE DAY
2013 Medicaid Eligibility Levels, Family of Three The American Prospect. September 3, 2013
TOO SMALL TO FAIL
Closing the Word Gap. Hillary Clinton
It's Common Sense to Come Together for Our Kids Chris Dodd and Bill Frist
AAP Press Statement on Government Shutdown and its Impact on Children