Louisiana

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Huh? Louisianans love Medicaid expansion, but hate "Obamacare"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 11:46 AM

A "second line for health care" last month in New Orleans drew health care providers who spoke out in favor of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • KAT STROMQUIST
  • A "second line for health care" last month in New Orleans drew health care providers who spoke out in favor of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

In spite of “widespread approval” of last year’s Medicaid expansion in the state, Louisianans largely have an unfavorable and deeply divided view of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to The Louisiana Survey 2017’s fifth report released today by the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs.

The survey shows that overall 72 percent of Louisiana respondents approve of the state’s expansion of its Medicaid program, while less than 50 percent have a favorable opinion of the ACA, which provided for the expansion.

Nevertheless, in the last three years more Louisianans have signaled they approve of the federal health care law, which has been nicknamed Obamacare.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Gov. Edwards addresses the opening of the 2017 Louisiana legislative session

Posted By on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 4:08 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards had a message for Republicans opposing his plans for tax reform: Chart a new path. The call to action came during his State of the State address – the second of Edwards’ tenure – that opened the Louisiana State Legislature’s 2017 regular session.
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards had a message for Republicans opposing his plans for tax reform: Chart a new path. The call to action came during his State of the State address – the second of Edwards’ tenure – that opened the Louisiana State Legislature’s 2017 regular session.

Gov. John Bel Edwards had a message for Republicans opposing his plans for tax reform: Chart a new path.

The call to action came during his State of the State address — the second of Edwards’ tenure – that opened the 60-day Louisiana State Legislature’s 2017 regular session. Much of the speech centered on the governor’s proposals for tax reform, which includes eliminating one penny of the five-cent sales tax and implementing a commercial activity tax (CAT) for businesses.

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Y@ Speak Classic

Posted By on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 4:06 PM

While today's Twitter fills up on bad open-mic jokes about airplanes, we look back at last week's hot takes on our favorite New Orleans subjects: sports, dysfunction, and festival behavior.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Y@ Speak: emergency alert

Posted By on Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 6:35 PM

Congratulations, we survived April Fool's Day and woke up way too early thanks to the powerful combination of technology, weather and leaving our phones close enough to immediately grab upon waking. Once more unto the tweets:

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Friday, March 31, 2017

In Louisiana parishes, number of people receiving disability benefits increasing faster than national average

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 2:26 PM

INSURANCE REVOLUTION / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • INSURANCE REVOLUTION / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0

A lengthy Washington Post story published March 30 profiles an Alabama man's experience applying for disability benefits to illustrate a larger point: applications for benefits are on the rise in economically depressed rural America. The story (and accompanying analysis) suggests that confluence of scarce jobs, poor access to health care and socio-emotional factors such as declining family and community connections may have contributed to the rise in the number of people whose health has deteriorated enough — or whose prospects are bleak enough — to turn to disability benefits, particularly in rural regions.

Writer Terrence McCoy reports:

Between 1996 and 2015, the number of working-age adults receiving disability climbed from 7.7 million to 13 million. The federal government this year will spend an estimated $192 billion on disability payments, more than the combined total for food stamps, welfare, housing subsidies and unemployment assistance. ... 

Across large swaths of the country, disability has become a force that has reshaped scores of mostly white, almost exclusively rural communities, where as many as one-third of working-age adults live on monthly disability checks, according to a Washington Post analysis of Social Security Administration statistics.

Rural America experienced the most rapid increase in disability rates over the past decade, the analysis found, amid broad growth in disability that was partly driven by demographic changes that are now slowing as disabled baby-boomers age into retirement.

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Edwards' CAT finally out of the bag: the governor and the proposed 'commercial activity tax'

Posted By on Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 1:56 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards.
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards.

A lot has already been said about Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proposed “commercial activity tax,” or CAT, but the early rumblings against it are nothing compared to what’s to come. The governor undoubtedly knows that, which explains why he quickly promised to find ways to reduce the tax’s adverse impact on low-margin businesses.

Edwards presented his new tax last week as part of a “budget stabilization plan” that he hopes lawmakers will adopt in the annual session that begins next Monday, April 10. This year’s session, like others in odd-numbered years, will focus heavily though not exclusively on fiscal matters. Because the “temporary” sales tax increase adopted last year expires in 2018 — a “non-fiscal” year for legislative sessions — this year’s session presents an opportunity for Edwards and lawmakers to adopt long-term fiscal reform.

The chances of that happening appear to be even slimmer than the likelihood of the Republican-controlled (and very partisan) House of Representatives embracing Edwards’ newfangled CAT, which is actually a gross receipts tax — that is, a tax on businesses’ gross earnings. Even companies that lose money would pay an income tax on their gross receipts.

Only four other states levy such a tax, which is just one of the reasons it faces long odds of passage in its present form.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

New Orleans joins cities asking court to stop Trump's "sanctuary" order

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 6:22 PM

On "sanctuary" cities, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry says New Orleans is "part of this problem." - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • On "sanctuary" cities, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry says New Orleans is "part of this problem."

New Orleans is among 36 U.S. cities and counties asking a federal court judge to stop President Donald Trump's executive order threatening to halt federal funding to so-called "sanctuary" cities. Trump's order, as enforced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), targets immigrants living in the country without legal permission. DHS lists Orleans Parish among U.S. cities that "limit cooperation" with federal immigration authorities.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed on to a letter with a coalition of cities supporting San Francisco's pending lawsuit arguing against the order's constitutionality and demanding the court lift its enforcement nationwide. Cities that signed onto the letter "agree that local authorities, not distant federal officials, should be making policy judgments that affect the interests and safety needs of their local communities," according to a statement.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Y@ Speak: briefly

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 7:30 PM

Before we enter the fifth season (Festival), we prepare the trinity: Disaster capitalism, football stuff and Ken Polite dancing his way out of court. Also this week: Most of New Orleans didn't vote, and Louisiana's members of Congress were first in line to console the president.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Louisiana women won't receive equal pay until 2115, study predicts

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 9:44 AM

PICTURES OF MONEY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • PICTURES OF MONEY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0

According to new projections released today by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, the wage gap for women in Louisiana won't close until the year 2115. In the report, Louisiana joins just three other states — North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming — in failing to close the gap until the 22nd century.

The group's analysis considered the ratio of women's to men's earnings for full-time workers and how that ratio has changed over time since 1959. The wage gap can cost a woman many thousands of dollars over the course of her career and contributes to lifestyle issues such as difficulty saving for retirement — a serious problem for women, who typically live longer than men.

City and state officials often discuss the egregious pay equity problem statewide and recently have begun to make efforts to address it. The New Orleans City Council established an Equal Pay Advisory Committee and Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for a Civil Service Commission study about gender disparity on its own payroll. Gov. John Bel Edwards and Donna Edwards also hosted a summit earlier this month about pay equity in Baton Rouge.

Though such discussions are limited in their initial impact, it's heartening to know this pervasive issue is on elected officials' radar.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Y@ Speak: driving out the snakes

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 6:30 PM

If someone didn't crawl through your bedroom window and ask to use the bathroom or pass out in front of your door wearing a green plastic hat, did St. Patrick's Day even really happen? After five million years of frat-level-wasted tourist amateur hour, we get to everyone's favorite time of year: caterpillar season. But first, let's look back at a week of some local internet stuff:

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