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Medicare and Medicaid Turn 50

via wpr.org

via wpr.org

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law legislation that established the Medicare and Medicaid programs—our country’s first major form of national health care.

Prior to Medicare, very few Americans over the age of 65 had health care and many lived in poverty. Similar to the Affordable Care Act, the idea of establishing a national health care safety net for older Americans was contentious.  President Roosevelt stopped short of including a federal health insurance program in the Social Security Act of 1935 in order to avoid jeopardizing the bill’s passage, and both Presidents Truman and Kennedy tried and failed to pass legislation to establish a health insurance program for older Americans.

President Johnson made Medicare a top priority as part of his War on Poverty, and launched an aggressive and successful campaign to pass the legislation.  On July 30, 1965, President Johnson traveled to the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, to sign Medicare into law, and presented President Truman and his wife with the first two Medicare cards.

At the signing ceremony, President Johnson said, “No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles, and their aunts. And no longer will this Nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.”

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UFCW Statement on A&P Bankruptcy Developments

A&PFor Immediate Release: July 24, 2015

Contact: press@ufcw.org

Montvale, N.J. – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union International President Marc Perrone, released the following statement on behalf of UFCW Locals 27, 100R, 152, 342, 371, 400, 464-A, 1245, 1262, 1360, 1500, 1776 and RWDSU Locals 338 and 1034, after meeting with A&P executives to discuss the future of A&P and its proposed sale.

“For years, the hard-working men and women of A&P not only did their jobs, they personally and financially sacrificed to invest in A&P’s success. These sacrifices were made for the sake of their families, their co-workers, and the customers and communities that they deeply care about. Now, at this critical time, after repeated mismanagement and strategic mistakes made by company executives, A&P is asking for even more. Enough is enough!

“Instead of asking for more sacrifices to pay-off a select group of executives and corporate investors, A&P should be focusing on their workers and their families during this challenging time.

“We want to be very clear, our members and their families sacrificed. They invested financially and personally in the success of these stores and they remain committed to working hard to make these stores a success for any responsible buyers. But make no mistake, we will not take part in any effort that asks them to give up what they have earned and deserve.

“Looking ahead, we will work cooperatively and constructively with anyone, but we will fight back with everything we have if A&P or its financial backers attempt to further exploit our members. For A&P to ask our members to give up their rights and benefits is simply unacceptable. Moreover, it is an insult given that it is our hard-working members who have and will make these stores a success. In fact, what will make these stores a true financial success is new and responsible management, not more sacrifices by A&P’s hard-working men and women.

“If A&P, its executive team, or its investors want to play the blame game, they should all look in the mirror.

“Now is the time for A&P to do what is right and we fully expect that they will honor their responsibilities to its employees, our members, and their families.”

New Report Shows Rise In Child Poverty After Great Recession

child povertyMore children in the U.S. are living in poverty after the Great Recession than during the economic downturn, according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation

According to the report, titled Kids Count: 2015 State Trends In Child Well-Being, about 22 percent of America’s children—or one in four—lived below the poverty line in 2013.  During the middle of the Great Recession in 2008, 18 percent of children in the U.S. lived below the poverty line.

The report is based on data gathered from federal agencies during 2008 to 2013 and examines factors that affect the well-being of children state-by-state, including economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. The report also examines racial disparities, and points out children of color are more likely to live in poverty than white children.

Living in poverty has a pernicious effect on the future prospects of America’s children.  According to the report, children who experience poverty are more likely encounter social and economic difficulties later in life, including experiencing poor health, becoming parents at a young age, dropping out of school and facing limited employment opportunities.