ACPP news releases

Children's health care takes a back seat as Congress rushes to cut taxes for corporations, wealthy people

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in response to Congress’ passage of a tax bill that disproportionately benefits rich people and corporations:

“Congress’ misplaced priorities were on clear display today. Nearly 84,000 Alabama children are about to lose their ALL Kids coverage because lawmakers allowed federal funding for it to expire months ago. But instead of solving that problem, Congress hurried to create a new one by increasing the deficit to give huge tax cuts to big corporations and wealthy people.

“This tax plan is a massive giveaway to the rich at the expense of everyday Americans. Over time, it will raise taxes on tens of millions of families at low and middle incomes. It will increase health insurance premiums for millions of people and leave millions more uninsured in exchange for permanent tax cuts for big corporations. And it will drive up the federal deficit, setting the stage for calls to cut Medicare, Medicaid, education, food assistance and other vital services next year.

“Struggling families shouldnt have to pay for tax cuts for rich people. And tens of thousands of Alabama families cant afford for Congress to wait any longer to renew federal funding for the Childrens Health Insurance Program. Lawmakers across Alabama and across the country should commit now to renew CHIP funding before a single child loses coverage and to reject budget cuts that would make it harder for families to make ends meet.

Congress' shameful neglect puts health coverage at risk for 84,000 Alabama children on ALL Kids

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project policy director Jim Carnes issued the following statement Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, in response to the announcement of ALL Kids’ pending termination:

“Tens of thousands of Alabama working families learned today – one week before Christmas – that their children will lose health insurance Feb. 1 if Congress continues to delay funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known here as ALL Kids. Alabama officials had been holding their breath since Congress failed to reauthorize CHIP funding by Sept. 30. They were hoping reserve funds could tide the coverage over for a few months – surely enough time for Congress to act. But today those hopes were dashed.

“ALL Kids’ announcement that it would stop enrolling children in new coverage on Jan. 1 and end the program entirely a month later strikes a painful blow not only to 84,000 ALL Kids children and their families but also to Alabama’s nationally praised gains in children’s health coverage. In the two decades since ALL Kids became the first state CHIP authorized by Congress, our uninsured rate for children has dropped from 20 percent to 2.4 percent. That record has earned Alabama’s program national recognition as the ‘Star of the South.’

“Ending ALL Kids also places a strain on Alabama’s threadbare General Fund. CHIP funds now pay for the health care of around 75,000 children enrolled in Medicaid, who will continue to receive coverage but at new cost to the state.

“In this shameful development, Congress has turned children’s health care – a vital part of family well-being – into a political football. Toying with children’s coverage creates a health hazard in its own right – and an entirely preventable one. Alabama’s hard decision today is a sign of things to come as other states face the grim realities of Congress’ failure to address children’s health needs. Our lawmakers must come to their senses and act now. Every wasted day puts children’s health in greater danger.”

Congress' tax plan is still a bad deal for everyday Alabamians

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project policy director Jim Carnes issued the following statement Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, in response to the release of Congress’ revised tax bill:

At its core, Congress’ tax plan is a massive giveaway to huge corporations and wealthy people at the expense of working families. This bill is bad for everyday Alabamians, and no amount of tinkering at the edges can change that.

“This bill still will raise taxes on tens of millions of Americans at low and middle incomes, while handing enormous tax breaks to the top 1 percent. It still will leave millions more Americans with no health insurance in exchange for permanent tax cuts for big corporations. And it still will drive up the federal deficit, which congressional leaders have already indicated they will use to justify calls for cutting Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other vital services next year.

“This tax plan is an ill-conceived rush job, and it’s a raw deal for families across Alabama and across the country. Congress should reject this bill and focus on closing tax loopholes and investing in education, health care, transportation and other services that help struggling families get ahead.”

U.S. Senate tax plan is a windfall for the wealthy at the expense of everyday families

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project policy director Jim Carnes issued the following statement Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in response to passage of the U.S. Senate tax bill:

The U.S. Senate tax plan is a huge giveaway to wealthy households and big corporations, and working families across Alabama and across the country will pay the price for it. Tens of millions of Americans at low and middle incomes will face tax increases, while the top 1 percent will get enormous tax breaks that would make them even richer.

“The Senate plan will leave 13 million more Americans without health insurance in exchange for even larger corporate tax cuts. It also will fuel a soaring federal deficit, which many in Congress likely will try to use as an excuse to cut Medicare, Medicaid, education, housing and other essential services. Those cuts would make it even tougher for everyday Alabamians to make ends meet.

“It’s no wonder Congress shoved this bill through without hearings or extended debate: It’s a raw deal for American families. Small changes can’t fix that problem. Congress should reject this plan and focus instead on closing tax loopholes and investing in education, health care, transportation and other vital services that help struggling families get ahead.”

Alabama may lose big if 2020 Census isn't properly funded, study finds

The results of the 2020 Census will help guide the allocation of more than $7.5 billion in federal funding for Alabama each year. But an undercount of the state’s population could put a huge amount of that support at risk over the next decade, according to “Counting for Dollars 2020,” a new study led by Professor Andrew Reamer of George Washington University (GWU).

Arise Citizens’ Policy Project (ACPP) has teamed with the Census Project to call on Alabamians to demand that Congress provide full Census funding in the 2018 federal budget to help ensure the state’s population is properly counted in 2020.

“Alabama can’t afford to be undercounted in the upcoming Census,” ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said. “Investments in Medicaid, housing and transportation make Alabama a better place to live and work, and we need to ensure our state doesn’t get shortchanged on the federal funding that helps make those services possible.”

(Click here for a PDF version of this news release.)

The GWU report contains a 50-state listing of funds that are directed to state and local governments based on Census data. The list includes money for vital services such as health care, Head Start, roads and highways, school lunch programs and housing assistance. A summary of the national findings calculated $589.7 billion in Census-directed funding from 16 federal programs in 2015.

Phil Sparks of the Census Project said Alabama had much to lose from a poorly planned Census count. “The state has a lot at stake in this debate,” Sparks said. “All Alabamians benefit from a high-quality, complete and fair Census.”

While the study focused on 16 federal programs, five account for most federal funding to Alabama: Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Medicare Part B, HUD Section 8 Housing Vouchers, and Department of Transportation Highway Planning and Construction Funds.

“The fair and equitable distribution of federal financial assistance to state and local governments and households will depend on the accuracy of the 2020 Census,” Reamer said.

Detailed findings on each of the 16 programs the group has researched can be found below:

Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid)

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Medicare Part B (Supplemental Medical Insurance) – Physicians Fee Schedule Services

Highway Planning and Construction

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies

National School Lunch Program

Special Education Grants (IDEA)

State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program (Project-based)

Head Start/Early Head Start

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

Foster Care (Title IV-E)

Health Center Programs (Community, Migrant, Homeless, Public Housing)

Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)

Child Care and Development Fund

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