ACPP news releases

Alabama's costly catch-22 Medicaid waiver plan would punish parents in poverty

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project policy director Jim Carnes issued the following statement Monday, July 2, 2018, in response to Alabama Medicaid’s submission of a “work requirement” proposal for federal approval:

“Alabama Medicaid’s work requirement proposal would create a no-win situation for thousands of parents living in deep poverty. They’ll lose health coverage if they don’t get a job – and if they do.

“This proposal is a catch-22. Because Alabama hasn’t expanded Medicaid, a mother with two kids is ineligible if she works just 10 hours a week at minimum wage. If she met the proposed work requirement, she would earn too much for Medicaid, but not nearly enough to afford private coverage. When parents lose their insurance, children are less likely to have regular doctor visits and more likely to become uninsured themselves.

“On the same day Alabama submitted its proposal, a federal court struck down Kentucky’s plan to impose a work requirement and other restrictions on people covered by Medicaid expansion. That ruling, against a state with a much more generous Medicaid program than Alabama’s, highlights our state’s risk of a similar costly lawsuit.

“Any way you look at it, this proposal is nothing more than an expensive plan for denying health coverage to parents in deep poverty. Instead of punishing struggling families, our leaders need a vision for a healthier Alabama. We urge Gov. Ivey to save tax dollars, cut red tape and save lives by withdrawing this misguided plan.”

U.S. Senate vote to protect SNAP is great news for Alabama

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Thursday, June 28, 2018, in response to the U.S. Senate’s 86-11 vote for a Farm Bill that protects and strengthens the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):

“SNAP helps nearly 900,000 Alabamians make ends meet, and we’re pleased that the Senate voted overwhelmingly today for a Farm Bill that protects this essential tool to reduce hunger and poverty. We especially want to thank Senators Doug Jones and Richard Shelby for supporting the bill and opposing an amendment that would have made harmful changes to SNAP.

“Strengthening SNAP – not cutting it as the House Farm Bill proposes – is the right path forward. We urge Senators Jones and Shelby to work to ensure that the final conference agreement retains the Senate’s bipartisan protections of SNAP. And we urge the members of Alabama’s House delegation to join them in safeguarding food assistance for struggling families who need help.”

House Farm Bill would take food assistance from thousands of Alabamians, hurt rural communities

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Thursday, June 21, 2018, in response to the U.S. House’s passage of a Farm Bill that would cut food assistance for millions of Americans:

The U.S. House just voted to make life harder for tens of thousands of Alabamians. The House Farm Bill would increase hunger and hardship across Alabama and across the country by undercutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This program helps nearly 900,000 Alabamians afford groceries and lifts 195,000 of them out of poverty.

“SNAP plays an essential role in supporting Alabama’s economy, improving public health and boosting rural communities. But the House bill would shift funding away from food assistance to a new, unworkable and underfunded employment and training system that would do little to help people actually find jobs. This move would take away or cut food assistance for millions of struggling Americans, including children, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, low-wage workers, and people who lost their jobs.

“The Senate is pursuing a better approach, with a bipartisan Farm Bill that protects SNAP and makes meaningful investments in job training. We urge Senators Doug Jones and Richard Shelby to support the Senate bill and reject any harmful amendments that would cut SNAP for struggling Americans. We need a Farm Bill that supports our communities, strengthens food assistance and invests in comprehensive job training and education programs to give low-wage workers the opportunity to climb the economic ladder.”

Congress should embrace Farm Bill without SNAP cuts, following lead of U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee vote

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Wednesday, June 13, 2018, in response to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee’s vote to approve a Farm Bill that protects and strengthens the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):

“SNAP plays a vital role in feeding tens of millions of children, parents, seniors, people with disabilities, and working people with low pay and inconsistent hours. We applaud the Senate Agriculture Committee’s approval of a Farm Bill that protects this essential investment. SNAP is an effective tool to reduce hunger and poverty, and protecting and strengthening it – not cutting it as proposed in the House Farm Bill – is the right way forward.

“The bipartisan Senate bill does not take food assistance away from eligible households. Instead, it builds on SNAP’s strong history as a work support by allowing more states to participate in SNAP employment and training pilot programs and by dedicating more funding to pilot work programs. These changes will help ensure that investments in job training are proven to work before they are expanded on a larger scale.

“Alabamians across the political spectrum have long agreed that we share a responsibility to keep our neighbors from going hungry. We urge Senators Doug Jones and Richard Shelby to support the Senate Farm Bill that strengthens SNAP and makes meaningful investments in job training for low-wage SNAP participants. We also urge Senators Jones and Shelby to oppose any floor amendments that would cut SNAP or make harmful changes to take away food assistance from struggling families who need help.”

Alabama Arise names Robyn Hyden as next executive director

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The Board of Directors of Alabama Arise has chosen Robyn Hyden as the organization’s next executive director. Hyden will begin her tenure in July. She will take over for Arise’s current executive director, Kimble Forrister, who will retire in June after 27 years leading the organization.

Hyden joins Arise from the United Way of Central Alabama, where she has served as director of grants management in the Department of Community Initiatives since 2017. Previously, Hyden worked as a North Alabama organizer for Arise and directed development and communications efforts at the Birmingham-based nonprofits Urban Ministry and Alabama Possible. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from Vanderbilt University.

“Alabama Arise’s members are our state’s most outspoken advocates for dignity, justice and power for people in poverty,” Hyden said. “Arise is at the forefront of organizing grassroots advocacy, holding elected officials accountable and producing trusted policy analysis – work that is now more important than ever. I am honored and humbled to carry this work forward with Arise’s amazing staff, members and board.”

Arise Board President Cindy Lowry praised Hyden’s track record in fundraising and organizing and touted her relationships with civic organizations and faith-based groups across Alabama.

“Robyn has what we believe to be the right attributes – passion, commitment and professionalism – to lead this organization into the future,” Lowry said. “As a former organizer for Arise, she knows the organization very well and has a vision that will build on our history and strengths. Through her words and actions, we know she is fully committed to Arise and our mission.”

Forrister, Arise’s outgoing director, also offered praise for Hyden.

“Robyn brings just what Arise needs: a vision for where we need to go, a vision grounded in deep relationships with a network of change-makers,” Forrister said. “She’s a collaborator. She listens. And she’s thoughtful. She steps in at a time when our staff, board and membership are strong and eager to engage the issues of 2019.”

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