One cancer mom is fighting back against cuts to healthcare

Baton Rouge -- April Blackburn voted for Bill Cassidy for his 2014 US Senate race. She met Senator Cassidy in person earlier in the year, where he assured her that he only would support a health bill if it assured that "families like hers would be taken care of" and would not "fall through the cracks."

April's three year-old daughter has leukemia. Her chemotherapy costs over $1 million. They are one of the families who could lose coverage from the proposed Medicaid cuts.

As the rubber hit the road on the Senate version of the federal healthcare overhaul, with an outline of the bill finally seeing the light of day this morning, April's worst fears for her family seem all too close at hand.

The hopes that the Senate version of the healthcare bill would be less "cruel" than the House version, to quote President Donald Trump, appear to have been wishful thinking. The bill's overall thrust is very similar to the House version. Its central function is not so much healthcare provision, but a swap of healthcare provision for tax cuts -- the scaling back of federal funds to states to pay for Medicaid, used mostly by poor people, would pay for tax cuts that primarily benefit wealthy, out-of state residents.

Louisiana would be one of the nation's biggest losers in this swap, according to data from the Louisiana Budget Project. The state, after all, has far more people who would lose coverage from Medicaid cuts than it does wealthy residents who would benefit from tax cuts.

April, for one, is fighting back. She worked with Together Baton Rouge to record one of the most powerful testimonies to come out of the health debate -- a simple statement of her family's situation and a challenge to Senator Cassidy to fulfill the commitment he made to her.


Together BR releases study on neighborhood disparities in drug possession enforcement

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Download the study.

Press coverage:

The Advocate, “Together Baton Rouge says BRPD drug enforcement disproportionately hits poor, black neighborhoods”

The Times Picayune, Baton Rouge drug arrests disproportionately affect poor, blacks: report”

WAFB Channel 9, "Together BR report: BRPD drug enforcement disproportionately impacts poor, African American neighborhoods”

“We figured we could either sit around and wait for the Department of Justice to make some contribution, or we could start to act for ourselves at the local level,” said Rev. Lee T. Wesley, an Executive Committee member of Together Baton Rouge. “Our first step has been to take a close look at this very important aspect of policing in our community and how it can be improved.”


2016 Citizens Assembly with city-parish candidates

  Watch the video:

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The Advocate, "Together Baton Rouge grills candidates on law enforcement, tax exemptions, flood relief and addressing 'food deserts'

Read the article.

 


How a bill REALLY becomes a law ...

Inside the effort to win Congressional support for $500 million in flood recovery aid

20160624_142415.jpg#1) Wake up in cold sweat realizing what it's going to mean that 80% of your community's flooded homes don’t have flood insurance.

#2) Feel sweat get colder with realization that only path forward is major bi-partisan cooperation by Congress. In September. In the middle of Trump v. Clinton.

#3) Make 250 phone calls. Learn your friends in low places have some friends in high places.

#4) Marvel that members of Congress are not NEARLY as ideological and partisan as they act most of the time. Watch a deal come together where everyone wins.

#5) Watch that deal unravel into smoldering shards and ash. Change your mind on marveling from #4.

#6) Repeat steps #2 to 5.

#7) Resist INSANE temptation to let yourself get pitted against the people of Flint, Mich and their need for lead-free drinking water! (Louisiana supports Flint!!)

#8) Go to the sewer to get some fresh air, mumbling lines from Yates, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”

#9) Learn what solidarity means, as people across the country work their own Reps and Senators to benefit people they've never met.

#10) EXHALE, as the Senate votes for you (72 - 26) and the House votes with you (342 - 85). Feel grateful that, sometimes, the center does still hold.

Thank you, America!

Read the official version from Politico here.


TBR releases new video on the flood

TBR and its sister organizations across the country worked hard with Governor Edwards and the Louisiana Congressional Delegation to win federal funding for flood recovery from the 2016 flood.

The video was created to spread awareness nationally.

So far, Congress has allocated $1.8 billion for the recovery.


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