Category Archives: News

PDACNM NEWSLETTER December 6, 2017 – Who’s Next?


TYPICAL REPUBLICAN HYPOCRISY

The blatant hypocrisy that Representatives Fajardo and Clahchischilliage exhibit in their Dec. 4 Journal letter attacking Rep. Stephanie Maez for “exploiting the current situation” of sexual harassment charges reveal a cynical political attempt at deflection. Ms. Maez actually took a stand against her Democratic colleague and asked that he drop out of the Lt. Governor’s race for sexist comments he made to fellow workers. And what do these Republican legislators say in response to Rep. Gentry’s offensive sexist insult to a colleague of equal professional standing? They, in fact, dismiss Rep. Gentry’s offense as “a sophomoric note to a colleague” and argue that his work on behalf of women is much more important.

These Republican legislators claim that Ms. Maez “attacks Gentry only when members of the Democratic Party are under fire”. In fact, Ms. Maez filed an official letter of complaint at the time of the insult from Rep Gentry. The complaint was ignored.

Senator Padilla also has a record of supporting good causes but Stephanie Maez makes the painful decision to ask that her Democratic colleague step down because as she says, “It’s time to draw a clear line in the sand. It’s time to set the right examples.” So now I am wondering where  these Republican women legislators draw the line when it comes to sexual harassment by a fellow Republican. Does just a little “locker room talk” not qualify?

The letters from Representatives Fajardo and Clahchischilliage are here.  Ms. Maez’ letter is here.

Laura Stokes

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PDA CNM DIGEST December 6, 2017

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PDACNM NEWSLETTER November 21, 2017 – Thanks to all you progressive activists

A BIG PDA THANK YOU

To all our activist friends, I am so thankful for all of you out there for never giving up, never getting discouraged (for long), never losing your sense of humor, always believing in the vision for justice, finding creative ways to fight injustice, loving and forgiving and encouraging each other, giving so many hours of your time and energy to the struggle and inspiring us all to keep on going by combating despair with the only weapons we have – our courage, our brains, our humanity and each other.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holidays, take a break if you wish, from the orange menace, and come back refreshed and emboldened and ready for action.

Laura Stokes, Editor

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PDA CNM DIGEST November 21, 2017

PDACNM NEWSLETTER November 7, 2017 – Anniversary of Day of Infamy – Join PDACNM Meeting


WHAT ARE THE PARADISE PAPERS?

The Paradise Papers is a special investigation by the Guardian and 95 media partners worldwide into a leak of 13.4m files from two offshore service providers and 19 tax havens’ company registries

Read about it here.

“The world’s biggest businesses, heads of state and global figures in politics, entertainment and sport who have sheltered their wealth in secretive tax havens are being revealed this week in a major new investigation into Britain’s offshore empires.
The details come from a leak of 13.4m files that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive – and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth.
The material, which has come from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens, was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with partners including the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.
The project has been called the Paradise Papers”

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PDA CNM DIGEST November 7, 2017

PDACNM NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 30, 2017 – HALLOWEEN – SOME THINGS ARE SCARIER


DNC CHAIR PURGING PROGRESSIVES 

Some of you received the following letter from our national director Donna Smith, Our local chapter would like to support her statement by saying that Chair Perez’s act is not acceptable to us and should be protested by all who care about unifying the party.  PDACNM strongly opposes such actions which do nothing but further drive a wedge into any efforts to unite the establishment and progressive wings of the party. I have heard no criticism of Perez’s decision by any of our party establishment leaders.  I take this to be complicitous agreement, which means, IMO, more of the same failed policies of the past.   I do thank Bill Peiffer, Chair of Bernalillo County Democrats, for his remarks in the Blue Review expressing his disagreement with Perez’s decision.  They might have been a bit more excoriating.  They might have made more of an effort to hold the DNC accountable rather than saying there is nothing we can do about it at the local level.

No doubt progressives will again be subjected to the tiresome refrains imploring us to stop whining, put the past behind us, and work together in order to beat Trump. We should work together, but only if progressive policies are given due consideration – after all, the policies advanced by Bernie Sanders made him the most popular politician in America.

Here’s what ousted member James Zogby tweeted, “This doesn’t bring the party together. It deepens the divide at a time we need all hands on deck for ’18 & ’20”.  Those of us who have been party loyalists for many years and those of us who believe in working inside and outside the party will continue the struggle, at least for a while longer.  But many are too young to remember Bill Clinton’s famous dismissal of progressives by saying “they” have nowhere else to go and many are choosing to ridicule those words. Therefore, we have people leaving the Democratic Party or never signing up.  This could turn out to be scarier than Trump I.  It could be Trump II.

Continue working to get progressives elected to public office and help organize a NM Progressive Caucus!!

Articles on this issue can be read here and here and here.

Laura Stokes, Editor

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PDA CNM DIGEST October 30, 2017

PDACNM NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 26, 2017 – YOUR COMMUNITY NEEDS YOU

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PDA CNM DIGEST October 26, 2017

Please read the following from our PDACNM team. This is the governor’s way of solving the poverty crisis in NM?
From the Healthcare Not Warfare Action Team

The potential future of Medicaid [Centennial Care 2.0] in New Mexico is at stake. This is a critical issue which may negatively impact the future well-being of children, their parents, the disabled and more if the suggested changes are adopted.  The following summary from Ellen Pinnes and The Disability Coalition details the proposed changes. Make your voices heard by sending your comments to HSD. If you have questions, contact Pat Bartels at pbartels8@comcast.net

This message is from Ellen Pinnes and The Disability Coalition. You can contact Ellen at EPinnes@msn.com.

The Human Services Department has released a revised version of its draft application for renewal of the federal waiver authorizing the Centennial Care program.  The changes proposed in the application would go into effect on January 1, 2019.  If you’d like to review the full application, you can find it and other information relating to the waiver renewal on the HSD website here.

The department will hold four public meetings (plus a tribal consultation) this month to take public input on the proposed changes.  One of the meetings will include an opportunity for people who can’t attend in person to make comments by phone.  HSD also is accepting written comments.  Dates and locations for the meetings and details on how to submit other comments are given at the end of this message.  Comments are due by November 6.

The draft application mostly follows the proposals outlined in the Concept Paper that HSD released earlier this year, but a few changes have been made.

Issues of Concern

* Monthly premiums for some people with incomes above the federal poverty level (FPL), which this year is $12,060 for an individual and $24,600 for a household of four.  Medicaid doesn’t currently charge premiums (monthly charges for insurance coverage).  The charges would range from $10 to $25 a month in 2019, increasing to $20 to $50 a month in later years.  The department also proposes to charge a flat rate of double the individual rate for households of more than one person, regardless of the number of people in the household, so those charges would range from $20 to $50 a month in 2019, and $40 to $100 a month in later years.

Not paying the required premium would result in loss of Medicaid coverage after a 90-day grace period that would be given to catch up on the payments.  A person who loses coverage would be “locked out” and not permitted to re-enroll in Medicaid for three months.

Experience in other states has shown that even small premiums cause many people to drop off or not to enroll in Medicaid because they can’t afford to pay.  Although HSD says premiums would promote personal responsibility and reduce program costs by shifting those cost to recipients, savings to the state will come primarily from people losing coverage because they can’t afford the premium.

* Co-pays when services are received.  Earlier this year, HSD had proposed to add co-pays for many Medicaid recipients, but it dropped those plans and now intends to begin charging co-pays when the waiver renewal begins in 2019.  Co-pays are problematic because they discourage people from getting the services they need.  And HSD’s proposal to change to annual calculation of the cap on the amount of co-pays someone has to pay (no more than 5% of income) means that someone who uses services frequently – as many people with disabilities must do – might have to pay a very high percentage of their income in the first few months of the year before the cap on these charges kicks in.

* Fees for missed appointments.  The department proposes to let providers charge a fee when a recipient misses three or more appointments, but gives few details on how this would work – apparently those decisions will be left to the managed care organizations.  It appears that even when there’s a good reason the appointment was missed (like the van not picking a person up as scheduled), it could be counted and could subject the person to a penalty.  It’s not clear what the consequences of not paying the fee would be.

* Changes to covered benefits.  HSD proposes to reduce or even eliminate some Medicaid benefits.  Habilitation services for adults are specifically mentioned as a service to be eliminated.  The department also proposes to drop EPSDT coverage for 19- and 20-year-olds, other than those considered “medically frail”. And it may in the future end the limited current coverage for dental and vision services for adults and instead make this coverage available to purchase for an added premium.

HSD also proposes to limit the allowable amounts for some services in the self-directed community benefit (SDCB) – related goods and services would be capped at $2,000/year, non-medical transportation at $1000, and specialized therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, hippotherapy and massage therapy at $2,000.

* Eliminate retroactive eligibility that covers medical bills for health care services received in the three months before a person applies for Medicaid.  It’s a long-standing rule of Medicaid that the program pays for services in the three months before applying for Medicaid – eliminating this will leave individuals with medical debt and providers with unpaid bills.

Positive elements of the proposal

* Streamlined renewal of eligibility for “nursing facility level of care” (NFLOC) in some cases.  NFLOC is the standard used to determine eligibility for home- and community-based services as well as facility care.  We’ve argued to HSD for years that full annual reassessments of NFLOC for persons whose condition won’t change or improve is personally burdensome for the individual and an unnecessary administrative burden for the state.  We’re pleased that the department has finally come to see that this change in procedure makes sense.

* Increased focus on social factors that affect health, such as housing, nutrition, etc.  There’s little detail on how this would actually work but HSD’s recognition of the importance of addressing these issues is welcome.

* Promoting use of peer support and community health workers.

* Increasing the number of hours of respite for caregivers, from 100 hours a year to 300 hours.  HSD had previously proposed this increase for people caring for kids with special needs, but now proposes to allow it for all who are receiving long-term services and supports through the Community Benefit.

* Providing a one-time allowance of up to $2,000 for start-up goods when a person moves to the self-directed community benefit (SDCB) from the agency-based model (ABCB), to cover things like a computer and printer that are needed to self-direct successfully.

* Improving care for justice-involved individuals by starting care coordination 30 days before the person is released from jail or prison, to ensure a smooth transition to care upon release.  Many of these individuals have mental health or other chronic conditions and making sure they have prompt access to services upon release is important.

* Streamlining income eligibility determinations by using information already available to the state rather than putting the full burden on the individual to prove their income.  This also will reduce administrative burdens for the state.

Opportunities for Public Input

Albuquerque – Monday, October 30, 2017
National Hispanic Cultural Center – Bank of America Theater
1701 4th Street SW
5:30 to 7:30 pm

Human Services Department has added call-in capacity for the final public hearing so anyone who isn’t able to attend one of the meetings in person still has a chance to make oral comments.  You can call in and listen to the meeting – and make comments if you wish – by phone.  The number is 1-888-757-2790 and the participant code is 991 379.

If you have any problems joining the meeting by phone, call or text Kathy Slater-Huff at 505-570-7268 or email her at
Katherine.Slater-Huff@state.nm.us. Submitting written comments to HSD

* By email to:
* Through the department’s website:  Go to the Centennial Care 2.0 section of the HSD website at http://www.hsd.state.nm.us/centennial-care-2-0.aspx and scroll down to the bottom of the page, where you’ll find a form to fill out.  You can also attach documents.

* By mail to:  PublicComment@state.nm.us

Human Services Department
ATTN: HSD Public Comments
P.O. Box 2348
Santa Fe, NM 87504-2348

The deadline to submit comments is 5:00 pm on Friday, November 6, 2017.

Thanks for making the voice of the disability community heard!

PDACNM NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 17, 2017 – ATTACK INEQUALITY – HEAL THE FISSURES

PROGRESSIVE VOICES BEING HEARD

PDACNM is very proud to announce that the Preamble to the State Party Platform was written by one of our own, Jerilyn Bowen.  Jerilyn beautifully articulates the values mirrored in the issues on which PDA was founded and continues to support to this day.

Preamble

New Mexico Democrats believe that every person matters.  We believe that all citizens should have a voice in how we as a people are governed, not just the rich and powerful.  We stand for the 99%.  We affirm the ties that bind us together as one human family.  We envision a New Mexico in which every person is treated with respect and every person has what it takes to live a life of dignity-secure, decent-paying jobs; a just economic system; not-for-profit universal healthcare; high quality public schools; a safe, healthy environment where the unmatched beauty of our land is preserved for future generations.  As caring citizens of this state, this country, and this planet, we hold these basic rights to be the natural heritage of all people.  As dedicated Democrats, we band together to claim that heritage for every member of our human community, both now and in times to come.

And look for the first Progressive Caucus coming up in our state party in 2018 thanks largely to the efforts of another PDACNM leader – Cheryl Harris. More information

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PDA CNM DIGEST October 17, 2017