Archive for the ‘safety nets’ Category

HOORAY FOR THE “HEALTH CARE FOR AMERICANS ACT”

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

We should all be celebrating the US Supreme Court’s historic decision affirming the constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Act that finally will provide health care for all Americans. It will further provide many innovations for better coverage for those fortunate enough to already have insurance, and provides for those who do not. The law was passed by Congress in 2009 after strong urging by President Obama and now after many inconclusive federal court challenges, has finally become the law of the land. IPPA maintains that, after decades of effort,what has been realized is that health care for all American citizens is a moral imperative. This places our country, finally, in concert with the other industrialized countries of the world.

Hooray! for the “ Health Care for Americans Act”: IPPA suggests  a new name for the Affordable Care Act.  The new name–Health Care for Americans Act–conveys the metaphor that health care for all is patriotic, and that we’re all affected by public health. It stresses that it benefits the entire country, and that it’s in the long tradition of Americans helping one another1.

Now let’s stop agonizing and grumbling over what is not in the bill and celebrate the many important benefits that are in the Health Care for Americans Act:

1. Perhaps the least understood and discussed, as far as a benefit to our whole society, is the provision for health care for the 30 million previously uninsured American citizens.

This represents a moral victory, the simple decency of providing health security for millions of American families. It also has  the potential for improving public health at large, and is a huge benefit for society as a whole2.

In addition, the new law3:

2. Terminates the “doughnut hole” in medicare drug coverage for millions of Americans.

3. Provides a long-overdue expansion of mental health care.

4. There is an end to limits on lifetime and annual benefits in existing and future health insurance coverage.

5. There can be no rejection in new or renewable health insurance policies for pre- existing conditions.

6. Children up to age 26 may stay on their parents’ health  insurance.

7. There is a requirement that medium and large size businesses provide essential coverage and pay at least 60% of the cost.

8. Health insurance policies must contain free access to preventive care including  immunizations, mammograms, and pregnancy prevention [formally called birth control]4.

9. Some additional benefits specifically for women include; elimination of gender rating, pap tests, domestic violence screening and assurances of continuation of maternity benefits and special considerations for nursing mothers at work5.

As an added benefit, in the Health Care for Americans Act are  many incentives for reducing future health care costs such as the one that requires insurance companies to spend at least 80% of premium cost on direct patient care. Also there are many pilot proposals to explore ways to control costs by changing existing fee for service payments and assisting changes in their organization so that health care institutions can be more efficient and responsive. There is also a premium placed on implementing patient safety throughout the health care system.

IPPA strongly encourages all of us to celebrate this historic progress in health care for all Americans.

1. Lakoff, George and Wehling, Elisabeth, The Little Blue Book, Free Press, New York             2012, p.116.

2. Too Quiet Again on Health Care. Editorial in NYTimes [NYT] July4, 2012

3. NYT July 4, 2012

4. Lakoff p.125

5. forbes.com/sites/brycecovert/2012/06/28/obamacare-decision-why-women-are-the-big-winners-health-care-supreme-court/

COMMUNITY BANKS Part four THEIR UTILITY FOR GENERAL BANKING

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Community banks need to have sufficient assets and have some branches where they can service several local communities. The New America Foundation in Washington D.C. was the first to propose (2008) as a vehicle a Community Bank Trust Fund, to be administered by the Treasury Department.8 Their study stressed that some such banks need funding sources beyond local depositors. They proposed that funding could come from a tax of about one-half of 1 percent of the dollar amount of asset-backed securities, to be collected by the SEC. As a precedent, they refer to the Federal Home Loan Banks that are required to give 10 percent of their annual net income for the Affordable Housing Program.9 This is a matter that voters should bring to the attention of their congressional representatives. (more…)

COMMUNITY BANKING Part three SERVICE FOR THE LOWER AND MID INCOME GROUP

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Some of us need credit, especially at the end of the month, for food or gasoline, or to pay utility bills. So our first remarks concern that part of the population. Although in 2009 12% of the population had no regular bank account into which to tap, the numbers are higher for Afro-Americans (28%) and Hispanics (30%). When economists write about this group, they refer to them as “low and mid income people (LMI)”. For some, there were no banks available. The number of banking institutions dropped BY 35% from 1975-95 and that included dropping branches in low income communities. Large banks bought up community ones and the number of the latter dropped from 14,000 in 1985 to 7,000 in 20081.3 (more…)

COMMUNITY BANKS Part two

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Ethical Considerations That Favor Community Banks

Ethics are directly related to social relationships, and here are some reasons why the ethics favor community banks:. Community and Credit Union banking involves community relationships between borrowers and lenders. There is a good probability that they will know each other or have mutual acquaintances. The character of borrowers and lenders counts for something in decisions that contribute to trust and loyalty. There can be a mutuality of interest between creditors and those to whom they lend. Within the large, international banks, the relation is transactional, counting mainly as business deals. The future destiny of some locally invested funds within the international banks may not be known by either party.1
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THE CASE FOR COMMUNITY BANKS, RATHER THAN LARGE, GLOBAL BANKS Part one

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

The Third Essay in the sequence on income inequality.

This is the first in a series of four blog entries that seek to demonstrate the link between income equality and economic and financial policies and to show how community banks can help to alleviate income equality in the country.  This topic is rarely if ever covered in mainstream media.

“ While community banks with assets under $1 billion represent less than 11 percent of banking assets, they provide nearly 40 percent of the loans the banking industry makes to small businesses, extending credit that is crucial to job creation…They have a unique role to play in our financial system.”—-FDIC Acting Chairman, Martin J. Gruenberg, American Bankers Association, October 25, 2011.–

Summary: IPPA supports the use of community banks and credit unions for people who routinely bank as individuals or as family members. In contrast, the priority of large international banks is to provide services to corporations, many of them global. Their profits come mainly from trading, which may not benefit local depositers. We can ask if those big banks provide any local social or economic benefit. Normally, community banks have less than $1billion in assets, and, until 1994 made up 94% of the banking industry. Their officers are usually members of the local community. Below, we also point to warning flags to consider when making a choice among community banks, such as their assets and collateral and the composition of their boards. We offer compelling ethical reasons why those institutions may warrant our business, one of which is that there are community relationships between borrowers and lenders, which may foster trust. We begin by flagging the services community banks could provide to people at the lower end of the income spectrum.

Effects of Free Trade/Safety Net

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

The effect of free trade policies that result in outsourcing and loss of American jobs does not create a moral imperative to have public policies [a safety net] put in place to help those who have lost their jobs. This is the view of Steven. E. Lundsburg, What to Expect When You’re Free Trading. NY Times op ed 1/16/2008. He writes, “if the world owes you compensation for enduring the downside of trade, what do you owe the world for enjoying the upside.” He feels that lower prices for goods due to free trade policies trump other values. These would include the moral values that IPPA espouses. (more…)