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This Week in Wealth Distribution:
As we know, the fundamental principle of the GOP is to redistribute as much income as possible from the rest of us to the rich. In keeping with this principle, Republicans in Congress rolled out an Obamacare repeal that would make health care too expensive for many – but helps insurance execs and the one percent.
#DayWithoutAWoman Inspires Faith Leaders, Physicians To Insist ACA Re-Write Would Hurt Women
Across the state, hundreds of women marched in solidarity to support International Women’s Day. Many decried President Donald Trump’s comments about women on Twitter.
In Columbus, obstetrician Dr. Elinor Brown discussed the devastating health impacts ACA repeal would have on women, particularly women of color, at a teach-in session organized by ProgressOhio.
“When women lose access to reproductive care, maternal health declines and infant mortality rises,’’ Dr. Brown said.
Echoing her criticism was Rev. Susan Smith, a founder of Crazy Faith Ministries, said she has personally counseled women who credit the ACA with dramatic improvements in their health and the health of their families:
“I heard (House Speaker) Paul Ryan said this new thing they are doing is an act of mercy, and that means that his definition of mercy is different than mine. There is no mercy in what they are trying to do…. What they want to do is hurt women.’’
You can read more about it and watch the event here.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman, previously praised for supporting Ohio’s Medicaid infrastructure, again reversed course. He is now openly discussing “structural changes” to the program. One woman, however, has positioned herself to have Portman’s ear – his wife Jane.
Jane Portman serves on the Board of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Children’s Hospital CEO Michael Fisher joined other hospital executives Monday in opposing the phase out of Medicaid for low-income Ohio adults. Fisher also worries about coverage for the 36 million children insured by Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides insurance for children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance.
A hospital spokesman told the Cincinnati Enquirer that Fisher stood by the statement after House Republicans released their ACA overhaul plan. And he’s not the only one.
“It is an institutional position, and as such is supported by our board,” spokesman Jim Feuer said. That board includes Jane Portman.
Other hospital and medical groups opposed to the Obamacare re-write: American Medical Association, AARP, American Nurses Association, Federation of American Hospitals, America’s Essential Hospitals, National Nurses United, National Physicians United, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and American Academy of Pediatrics – so far.
GOP Lawmakers Celebrate International Women’s Day By Calling for Limits on Medicaid and Food for the Poor
In their own “celebration” of Women’s Day, GOP state lawmakers in Ohio introduced House Bill 119 which would require state agencies to cross-check the names of millions of benefit beneficiaries with records showing lottery winners, immigration status, and real estate, to name a few.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, no figures were given on the actual or suspected number of Ohioans who could be gaming the system.
Amid Growing Concern Over School-to-Prison Pipeline, Lawmakers Propose Killing Prison Watchdog Panel
A new ACLU Ohio report finds that Ohio legislators introduced nearly 100 bills in the last legislative session to send more people to already overcrowded prisons and jails. Read the full report here.
Ohio legislators are also looking to defund the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee, which is tasked with prison inspections. The Committee issued reports on prison overcrowding, food problems, gangs, drugs and contraband behind bars. So while passing more laws to send more people to overcrowded prisons, some legislators want less regulation of these prison and little oversight.
Ohio Hospitals: GOP Health Care Plan Threatens Health of Economy and Citizenry
The head of the Ohio Hospital Association spoke out against the GOP’s “Unaffordable” Care Act earlier this week, dealing a further blow the flawed plan. Mike Abrams told NPR:
“When you look at those million people who right now have some semblance of coverage being knocked back into the ranks of the uninsured that can take a precariously situated hospital and put them into a situation where they could no longer provide services to the community.”
Further complicating care delivery is the impact of the new travel/immigration ban. With many physicians looking to expand upon their specialties here, new visa restrictions have hospitals and physicians concerned. Dr. Bryan Hambley, physician at University Hospitals, told cleveland.com:
“The effects of the executive order may take longer to see.… Building teams of quality doctors can take a long time and to take qualified doctors out of the mix could have ramifications. It takes decades to build these kind of teams. If you start removing pieces from that, it’s not repairable by a policy change in four years. It causes longstanding damage.”
‘Death Row’ Deters Celebrates Suicide of Ohio Inmate
This was former Ohio Treasurer and noted death penalty fan Joe Deters’ response to the news that a Hamilton County inmate had committed suicide. Deters’ frustration comes as the state delays executions after botched attempts led to inmates’ prolonged torture before death.
Cops Charging Those who OD on Heroin With Inciting Panic
In Washington Court House, overdose victims can now be criminally charged with inducing panic after seeking the life-saving drug Narcan (naloxone). Critics say this discourages people from seeking help if they believe they will potentially face criminal charges. Supporters say these charges are simply so that victims can be tracked in efforts to compel rehabilitation.
These criminal charges mark the latest response to Ohio’s opioid crisis. Ohio ranks number one as the state with the highest number of opioid-related overdose deaths.
Teachers School Kasich on Problems With Plan to Pay for Public Education
Education advocates decried proposed budget changes that would create a slash-and-burn effect on many school districts. The state budget doesn’t provide enough money for school transportation and makes cuts to tangible personal property tax reimbursements.
According to the Dispatch, the proposed budget caps funding to school districts that need extra money to educate growing student populations, cuts districts that can’t afford it, and leaves most career-technical schools and all educational service centers with less money.
Legislators got an earful this week from groups from all over the state groups opposed to inadequate funding for education.
Ohio Auditor David Yost Continues to Fight Charter School Abuses in Latest Report on ECOT
Auditor Dave Yost released a financial audit of the online Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), and said his office determined that the chronically failing school lacks the systems designed to capture the time a student is actively logged in. He labeled the shortcoming a material weakness in the school’s financial controls, according to The Dispatch:
“Under these new standards, ECOT and many other e-schools will struggle to comply, and all are likely to owe something to the state. Ultimately, the legislature may need to consider whether duration is the appropriate measure for funding an e-school.”
Yost’s audit is the latest in a series of black eyes for ECOT, which continues to fight attempted reforms in a court.
New Report Highlights Dangers That Fracking Poses on Public Water Supplies
Contaminated water disposal, potential seismic activity, these threats and more are highlighted in the Fractracker Alliance’s recent report, which can be read here.
FROM THE SWAMP
Lt. General Mike Flynn lasted just 24 days as national security adviser before being forced to resign for misleading the Vice President about his foreign ties. This week, Flynn retroactively registered as an overseas lobbyist with the Department of Justice, saying he’d collected $530,000 between last August and November as a “foreign agent” for Turkish government interests.
At least a part of Flynn’s activities involved writing an op-ed for The Hill, published on Election Day, praising Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan, and decrying a U.S.-based Turkish dissident as a “radical Islamist.” Read more here.
PROGRESSIVE ACTION CALENDAR ALERTS
ACLU People Power Livestream – Multiple Locations
Ohio Student Action Resistance Strategy Summit – Columbus
Greater Cincinnati Our Revolution March Action Meeting
Stop Gorsuch Protest at Cleveland City Club