August 08, 2019

Four things to know about Medicaid expansion in West Virginia

Not sure how clear this infograph from the WV Center on Budget and Policy will show up on your screen, but here are four takeaways:

*As of now, over 155,000 West Virginians are covered by the expansion.These are overwhelmingly adults from working families.

*38,00 to 71,000 of these could lose coverage if the state enacts medicaid reporting requirements.

*The state experienced a 56 percent drop in the uninsured rate between 2013 and 2017. The expansion went into effect in 2014.

*Most interesting is a study of mortality rates in states that expanded Medicaid versus those that didn't. It suggests that 435 non-elderly lives were saved in the state as a result of the expansion.

This was a huge win for human rights and social justice, the biggest in my lifetime. We need to be ready to fight to keep it.

August 06, 2019

A little good news...for real

These are pretty dark days, but here's a bit of good news about the closing of a huge child detention camp in Florida that people all over the US, including WV, worked on:

 MIAMI, FL (August 3 2019) – The last migrant children in the detention center in Homestead, FL have left. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that has worked for immigrant and refugee rights for over 100 years – has led a campaign along with organizations in Florida and across the country to shut down the detention center and work to end the practice of detaining migrant children. 
“We are immensely relieved and overjoyed that our community will no longer be home to a detention center that has traumatized and harmed children,” said Mariana Martinez, an organizer with AFSC and a resident of Homestead. “And it is time for our community to heal and to invest in jobs that bring sustainability and resources.”
“We are incredibly grateful to the hundreds of thousands of people who signed petitions, wrote to their congresspeople, and took to the streets across the country to close the prison camp for children in Homestead,” said Kristin Kumpf, Director of Human Migration and Mobility for AFSC. “Thanks to their help, we were able to deliver over 128,000 petition signatures to the Department of Health and Human Services to successfully shut down Homestead detention center and say never again to the use of facilities like these to imprison children.” 
The campaign to shut down Homestead detention center also included actions outside the center with community members, elected officials, and faith leaders, and a letter writing campaign to send messages of hope to the children inside. 
The campaign called on the leadership of the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to close the detention center and stop using emergency influx facilities – instead ORR should work as quickly as possible to unite children with their sponsors. The campaign also called on these agencies to stop collaborating with the Department of Homeland Security to criminalize and intimidate sponsors for migrant children.
HHS has said that most children were reunited with sponsors, but some have been transferred to other facilities. AFSC is working to end the practice of detaining migrant children. 
“As the school year resumes here in Florida, it is time for these children to be in schools and homes instead of prison camps. It’s well past time to end the abusive practice of detaining and deporting migrants seeking a better life for themselves and their communities,” said Lis-Marie Alvarado, community organizer with AFSC. “Closing Homestead detention center is a massive victory in this struggle. We will continue to work to end child detention for good.” 
More information will be shared as it becomes available. 
To learn more about the campaign to shut down Homestead detention center and end child detention, visit: