Between the U.S. Census, which begins next month, and the presidential election in November, this is the most important year for health and human services in decades.
It is so important because it presents a unique chance for us to elevate the issues, the opportunities, and the challenges for our member agencies at this inflection point for the federal government’s support of our sector. This will directly affect the ability of our agencies to provide the services they are entrusted with providing to hundreds of thousands of people.
Accordingly, over the last week we’ve had the privilege of working with and for our members in several important meetings and conversations across levels of government:
- We co-hosted an event with ten of our members and Senator Rob Portman for a roundtable discussion at YWCA Columbus about the senator’s bipartisan Eviction Crisis Act. Our members also spoke with Senator Portman about a range of issues in housing and homelessness, and how such issues and their ramifications are intertwined with the breadth of the health and human services sector.
- We participated in the latest Columbus Counts subcommittee meeting, as led by Doug Murray from the Office of Mayor Ginther, along with four of our member agencies leading subcommittees, as we are all building toward the Census’ start in March and Census Day on April 1. Billions of dollars are at stake in Franklin County alone.
- We worked with the Office of Commissioner Marilyn Brown and Franklin County Job & Family Services Director Joy Bivens to pull together several of our members to discuss the Public Charge Rule, whose implementation is set to begin February 24th.
Why does the bipartisan advocacy across levels of government matter? Regulatory and executive actions are heaping increased pressure across the health and human services sector, from unreasonable work requirements, to legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act, and to a still-pending and arbitrary redefinition of the federal poverty line that will expel millions from federal programs. This means that federal resources are retreating from, rather than advancing, important work that helps individuals and families in difficult times. And the threats for more cuts were reiterated this week in the latest White House budget, which would slash a trillion dollars from Medicaid alone.
Put simply: This budget is a draconian political assertion of public policy priorities that would, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities puts it, “increase hardship and inequality.”
We refuse to let that happen. And we are grateful that it will not.
As it has with each preceding budget from this White House, we know Republicans and Democrats in Congress will continue crossing party lines to ignore or reject this budget in preparing one that seeks to decrease hardship and increase equality.
We are grateful for their support now, and will remain so in the months to come as we seek to solve problems rather than exacerbate them.