DISPATCH: The Anti-Ryan Budget, the Costs of Refusing Medicaid Expansion, and More

Stateside Dispatch
Saturday, March 16, 2013

Welcome to the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's roundup of the latest state policy news. Here's what happened in the states this week:

Amid Calls For Austerity, A Progressive Budget Vision

This week, and for the third straight year, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a conservative  budget proposal steeped in austerity, divorced from reality, and as unpopular as ever. But another budget proposal was also released this week to less fanfare -- one that is actually based on math, and which is already redirecting the national debate away from austerity and toward job creation. The Congressional Progressive Caucus’ “Back to Work Budget” includes a range of proposals that repeal existing cuts, provide for direct aid to states, protect Medicare and Medicaid, bring military spending down to 2006 levels, and are all together predicted to create 7 million jobs in the first year alone if enacted. It's a bold vision of progressive priorities that reflects many policies also currently being advanced in the states — and it's also what the country voted for last fall.

More from Progressive States Network on how the CPC budget is "an important contribution to debates happening both in D.C. and in state capitals across the nation." [PSN]

Paul Krugman: "'Back to Work' rests on solid macroeconomic analysis... the only thing the progressive caucus and Mr. Ryan share is audacity." [New York Times]

Mike Konczal and Bryce Covert on how block granting Medicaid to the states -- a central piece of Ryan's budget -- is a terrible idea. [The Nation]

A chart that illustrates clearly why is the case. [Washington Post]

Jared Bernstein's take on the Ryan budget: "Been There, Didn't Do That." [On The Economy]

A great comparison chart of how the provisions in the Ryan budget, the CPC budget, and the budget proposed by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) all compare to each other -- and to popular opinion. [National Priorities Project]

A look at which budget polls best. [Campaign for America's Future]

Jamelle Bouie asks if the CPC has "the only 'serious' budget in Washington." [Washington Post]

You can read the full CPC "Back to Work" budget, with accompanying resources, here.

The Costs of Refusing Medicaid Expansion

The pressure to fully implement the Affordable Care Act continued to build in state capitals this week as new reports showed the extent of the financial pain that both business and hospitals will feel if their states refuse to participate in the expansion of Medicaid (since the pain felt by the millions of people who would find themselves uninsured in those states was clearly not enough to win conservative support). In some states where previously opposed governors have already agreed to support expansion, conservative legislators are putting up a fight. As one analyst put it, “governors are looking at the bottom line and they’re realizing the kind of money they’d be walking away from if they don’t do this," while conservative legislators "can hang on longer to their political opposition.” Conservative state legislators seem as if they are the last line of defense for ideological opponents of Obamacare.

A new report estimates that employers in states that don't expand Medicaid will pay up to $1.3 billion in federal fines -- including $448 million for Texas employers alone. [Bloomberg]

Moody's warns hospitals will feel the pain from states refusing to expand Medicaid. [The Hill]

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is reversing his previous stance and now considering expanding Medicaid. [Portland Press Herald]

A new coalition including advocacy and health care groups is set to push for Medicaid expansion in Kansas. [AP]

Conservative legislators are fighting back against governors in their own party who want to expand Medicaid. [Bloomberg]

That includes Florida, where a state Senate committee this week rejected Gov. Rick Scott's proposal to expand Medicaid in a party line vote. [New York Times]

And Ohio, where key conservative legislators have yet to make up their minds on whether to support Gov. John Kasich's call to expand Medicaid. [Washington Post]

Progressive state Senators in Iowa are extending an offer to compromise with Gov. Terry Branstad on Medicaid expansion by including an opt-out provision. [Iowa Senate Dems]

Meanwhile, a new poll shows 70% of New Jersey voters in favor of Gov. Chris Christie's support for expanding the program. [CNN]

Follow @HealthPSN on Twitter for the latest state health policy news.

Legislators: Sign up to join the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform for more resources on the fight to expand Medicaid in your state.


Map of the Week:

Map: 2013 Hours at Minimum Wage Needed to Afford Rent

The number of hours per week a minimum wage worker needs to work in order to afford a two-bedroom housing unit at fair market rent without paying more than 30% of their income, state by state. (From the National Low Income Housing Coalition's Out of Reach 2013 report, larger graphic here.)

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Also this week:

Maryland's legislature repealed the death penalty Friday, becoming the sixth state to do so in recent years. [Washington Post]

@tomhucker: Death penalty in MD is history! Here's the House vote board with longtime champion Sandy Rosenberg. #mdga13

Indexing the minimum wage to inflation "is certainly the trend in the states." [Stateline]

San Jose, California officially adopted a $10/hour minimum wage this week. [Mercury News]

Minnesota and New Mexico are seeing movement on their minimum wage increase proposals. [Working America]

Fifteen states are pushing "parent trigger" education privatization legislation despite some "embarrassing and costly flops." [Education Votes]

Paid sick days proposals are moving forward in cities like Portland. [National Partnership for Women and Families]

A former Vermont governor is supporting that state's paid sick leave legislation. [VPR]

Connecticut women are calling on their state legislature to explore paid family leave legislation. [CT News Junkie]

The Minnesota version of the DREAM Act passed a state Senate committee. [KSTP]

@SenatorPappas: Big crowd gathered yesterday to watch the Higher Ed Cmte consider the Dream Act. So happy to see it pass-

Alabama is going to begin issuing driver's licenses to young immigrants participating in the DACA program. [AP]

The Washington state House passed a state DREAM Act in a bipartisan vote. [Seattle Weekly]

Not science fiction: the state of New York could be completely free of fossil fuels by 2030. [Demos]

The Colorado legislature approved a 15-round limit on ammunition magazines. [Denver Post]

How Colorado's vote to approve civil unions "marks a dramatic political shift." [AP]

A Wisconsin appeals court ruled that Gov. Walker's anti-union law should remain blocked for the time being. [PR Watch]

A rally to support Gov. Deval Patrick's proposal for new revenue for transportation infrastructure drew a crowd in Massachusetts. [AP]

Ned Resnikoff on how emergency managers being appointed in Michigan are "using sweeping powers to privatize public services, lay off city employees, and weaken public sector unions with little standing in their way." [MSNBC]

What should a state-based progressive agenda include? Minimum wage, Paid Sick Days, wage theft legislation, and more, writes Laura Clawson. [Daily Kos]

Follow @PSNwire on Twitter for the latest state policy news.

Research Roundup

What States Need to Do to Enforce the ACA's Health Insurance Protections [The Commonwealth Fund]
"So far only one state has passed new legislation on all of the ACA protections designed to go into effect in 2014, while an additional 10 states and the District of Columbia have passed new legislation, or issued a new regulation, on at least one protection. A free 90-minute webinar cosponsored by the Progressive States Network draws on a Commonwealth Fund brief that examines state action on these protections."

The ‘Back to Work’ budget: Analysis of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget for Fiscal Year 2014 [Economic Policy Institute]
"The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) has unveiled its fiscal year 2014 (FY2014) budget, titled Back to Work. It builds on recent CPC budget alternatives in prioritizing near-term job creation, financing public investments, strengthening the middle class, raising adequate revenue to meet budgetary needs while restoring fairness to the tax code, protecting social insurance programs, and ensuring fiscal sustainability."

State Efforts to ‘Reclaim’ Our Public Lands [Center for American Progress]
"Rather than being managed so that all Americans can enjoy them, turning our public lands over to states would result in their management on the whims of governors and state legislatures, who in the West are often quite conservative and tend to ideologically favor limited regulation and private profits. According to one state lands commissioner, these bills would be 'catastrophic' to the public lands that Americans know and love."

Raising New York’s Minimum Wage [National Employment Law Project]
"This report examines the economic benefits and demographic impact of raising New York’s minimum wage to $9.00 per hour with indexing. Our analysis finds that the benefits for New York’s low-wage workers would be significantly greater under the Assembly bill than under other Albany proposals."

Email us at with research roundup suggestions.

Quote of the Week

"We're tired of being humiliated and mistreated."
-- Domestic worker Rosa Sanchez, joining a group of predominantly women workers who this week voiced their support for legislation being introduced by California Asm. Tom Ammiano that would make California the second state in the nation to adopt a domestic workers' bill of rights.


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