July 22, 2015

An all too rare win for workers

One of my favorite Tom Petty songs reminds me that "even the losers get lucky sometimes." I don't really think of the good guys of the world as losers, but I think you'd be in serious denial not to admit that the deck is stacked against them. So it was a pleasant surprise for me to learn today that fast food workers in New York state actually seem on the verge of winning a three year long campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, an increase of 70 percent above the state minimum of $8.75.

I didn't see that coming. At best, I thought the $15 campaign might lead to a smaller state increase. But then what do I know?

I can already hear the weeping and gnashing of teeth by low wage employers. Ruling class apologists are generally one trick ponies, the trick being trying to convince the public that any steps intended to help working or poor people would actually hurt them. The corollary of this is that anything that really sticks it to them is actually good for them. As if they gave a **** (fill in the blank as you choose) about working or poor people to start with.

All I can say to that line of thinking is "we'll take that chance."

July 21, 2015

More good news

I'll take all the good news I can get these days. Here are two items that fit the bill. The first is an AP article about Medicaid expansion in West Virginia and what a huge success it has been. Let me say again that this has been the biggest advance for social justice on my watch.

At the time I was a small part of the push to get Gov. Tomblin to make this decision, the most optimistic of us thought we might eventually cover 120,000 or so uninsured West Virginians after a few years. The latest numbers are right at 164,400, which comes pretty close to being 1 out of 10 state residents. Again, these are people who work for a living.

Yesterday's post talked about how Utah may be moving toward its own version of expansion. I found out today that Alaska Gov. plans to expand Medicaid coverage, this time without one of those lame waivers that reduces the quality of coverage and transfers wealth to the private sector. This will mean health insurance for around 42,000 low income working

I think this means that something like 30 states and the District of Columbia have embraced basic humanity by enacting this life saving and life changing reform.

It's not all bad news.

July 20, 2015

A little good news, maybe

It looks like Republican leaders in Utah have hammered together a version of Medicaid expansion that will bring health coverage to thousands of uninsured residents. It still has to make it through the state legislature and get a waiver from the feds, but as the Salt Lake Tribune reports,

If the new proposal is ultimately accepted, Utah would be the first state with a Republican-led Legislature and a GOP governor to expand Medicaid through a market-driven system.
Here's hoping....