Cassidy-Graham Bill Would Deeply Cut Health Coverage Funding for New York

For Immediate Release

August 24, 2017                   

Media Contact:
Ron Deutsch, Executive Director, FPI


Cassidy-Graham Bill Would Deeply Cut Health Coverage Funding for New York

New York Faces Deepest Cuts of All States

(Albany, NY)— A new Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bill would cut New York’s federal funding by $22 billion for health coverage by 2026, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities based in Washington DC. New York would be the hardest-hit state, with an eye-popping estimated cut of 70 percent in 2026, relative to current law.

Congressional Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have failed in recent months, in large part because an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose taking coverage from millions of people, raising costs for millions more, gutting Medicaid and undermining consumer protections.

This has opened the door to another path: a transparent, bipartisan effort to strengthen our health care system without taking people’s coverage away or gutting Medicaid. The public supports this approach and the bipartisan Senate hearings, slated for September, offer a first step forward.

Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham are reportedly working with the White House to block this emerging, bipartisan path and instead are attempting to revive the ACA repeal effort by pushing their own version of a repeal bill, known as the Cassidy-Graham proposal.

“Despite claims to the contrary, the Cassidy-Graham plan is just another ACA repeal bill and would have the same devastating effects on New York as the previous, failed GOP repeal bills,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of the Fiscal Policy Institute. “Like every other ACA repeal bill, it would take coverage from hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and tens of millions nationwide.”

The plan would eliminate the ACA Medicaid expansion, which covers over 600,000 New Yorkers. It would also eliminate tax credits that help many moderate-income New Yorkers afford marketplace coverage and subsidies that help low-income New Yorkers with out-of-pocket health costs, such as co-pays.

A far smaller block grant would replace both Medicaid expansion funding and marketplace subsidies, and the plan would also cap and deeply cut the rest of the Medicaid program just like previous Senate and House repeal bills. And, after 2026, the block grant would disappear entirely leaving New Yorkers high and dry.

“The public, experts across the political spectrum, and groups representing patients, hospitals, physicians, seniors, people with disabilities and others have forcefully and repeatedly rejected this misguided approach,” said Deutsch. “It’s time to focus on bipartisan solutions that strengthen – rather than weaken—our health care system.”

A full copy of the report can be found here

New York’s Public Colleges: An Engine for Economic Mobility

August 23, 2017

Brent Kramer, PhD, Senior Economist


Public Colleges Lift Low-Income Students Into the Middle Class

Investing in Public Colleges Essential to Boost Economic Mobility

Earning a four-year college degree is now considered essential for achieving a “middle-class” lifestyle, even as many new graduates have trouble landing good, full-time jobs in a weak labor market. Despite the weak labor market, graduates still have better chances of finding good jobs than do their peers without degrees.

The Fiscal Policy Institute examined the economic mobility of graduates in different types of higher education institutions (public, private, elite, etc.), by utilizing raw data from a recently published study. The study examined which colleges were most effective at helping young people from lower-income families get jobs and careers that would put them on the path to a higher-income future.

Looking solely at New York’s institutions of higher learning, the Fiscal Policy Institute found that graduates from public colleges and private colleges, who came from low-income families, were about equally likely to move into the middle class after graduation. However, public colleges elevate more graduates into a higher income group because they admit substantially more lower-income students than private colleges. Most of the students attending New York’s private colleges tend to come from middle- and upper-income families, despite these colleges’  attempts to diversify.

“New York’s public colleges, both SUNY & CUNY campuses, are critical in preparing the next generation of state residents for better-earning careers. The private colleges help, but they mostly admit students from higher-income families,” stated Brent Kramer, PhD, Senior Economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute.

New York’s public colleges push more lower-income students than private colleges, into better and more lucrative careers. This leads to a stronger state economy and many years of potential state tax revenue.

“It’s astounding that New York continues to inadequately fund the state and city college systems, which are arguably the most reliable long-term investments in the state’s future,” noted Kramer.

Investing in New York’s public colleges will further support the growing number of students enrolling in public institutions and reinforce the infrastructure that allows them to graduate successfully.

Read the full report here


Are Immigrants Driving the Motor City?

August 13, 2017. This article discusses how immigrants are revitalizing the city of Detroit by taking advantage of the friendly immigrant environment and cheaper housing and commercial spaces. Even though native-born residents have fled, immigrants continued to reside here and open businesses that hire local residents and makie the neighborhoods safer. The article discusses how immigrants are Detroit’s biggest hope to reverse population decline. The article also discusses the arguments that immigrant populations may be having a negative affect on native-born residents.

Through the 2008 recession and recovery, native-born residents fled. But immigrants kept coming, starting new businesses, hiring local residents and making their neighborhoods a safer place for children.

According to Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA) and Fiscal Policy Institute, more than one-third of Detroit-area “Main Street” business owners were immigrants as of 2013.

Now an American citizen, López, a father of four, says he accomplished the American Dream by creating something that will outlive him and provide for the community long after he has passed.

What Detroit still needs, he says, is more people to call it home.

“That’s happening little by little,” Lopez says. “The greatest changes won’t happen overnight.”

“They happen slowly, and that’s part of believing in oneself, believing in Detroit,” he said.

Here is the link to VOA.

Refugees Help Keep ‘Business Alive’ In Troubled US Cities

August 11, 2017. This article discusses the West Side Bazaar, a market in Buffalo that helps immigrants and refugees create their own businesses selling their products. The manager of this market claims that it creates a demand for services and products that didn’t previously exist and that it offers immigrants and refugees a chance to become independent again. The article goes on to argue that this market could be an example to influence lawmakers and officials to allow local governments to determine their own immigration policies.

For the past 10 years, the city has received and helped resettle 10,000 refugees who are mostly from countries experiencing a great deal of conflict, such as Somalia, Myanmar, and Bhutan. As a result, nearly 23 percent of the city’s metro population is now comprised of foreigners.

To the bazaar’s manager, Michelle Holler, the market has helped the neighborhood by both creating demand for services and products that did not exist in the past, and by offering refugees the opportunity to stay busy and work hard to be independent once again.

Unfortunately, David Kallick, director of the Fiscal Policy Institute’s Immigration Research Initiative, said officials it’s often difficult to make the case that refugees can prosper on their own once they are free to launch their own businesses.

“We don’t track refugees once they’re resettled in the country. There is data collected for the initial months of resettlement, but there is no centralized system to keep track of how refugees are doing after 90 days’ resettlement,” he explained.

If this data were to be collected, he continued, more insights could be provided, and policies could be shifted so that cities with a declining population could see a boost in their economy by simply requesting that more refugees resettle in their area.

Here is the link to Carbonated TV.

Refugee Entrepreneurs ‘Keep Business Alive’ in Upstate New York

August 4, 2017. This article discusses the West Side Bazaar, a market in Buffalo, where many refugees start their businesses, such as retail, food retail and commissary kitchen booths. According to the article this market has helped create demand for products that were previously unavailable and creates employment in refugee communities. FPI’s David Kallick is cited discussing the economic impacts of refugees in Buffalo, such as helping with the reversal of population decline.

Many refugees resettled in New York live in the upstate city of Buffalo. As the local population declines, advocates hope refugees can reinvigorate the city’s economy. The refugee entrepreneurs of West Side Bazaar have already had some success.

“We don’t track refugees once they’re resettled in the country. There is data collected for the initial months of resettlement, but there is no centralized system to keep track of how refugees are doing after 90 days’ resettlement,” said David Kallick, Director of the Immigration Research Initiative at the Fiscal Policy Institute.

Kallick emphasizes that refugees are having a significant impact on an area like Buffalo where the population is dwindling. “Refugees stay, while others leave the city,” he says.

Here is the link to News Deeply.

Uphill Employment Battle for New York’s Recent College Graduates

Brent Kramer, PhD, Senior Economist
August 3, 2017


ALBANY, New York – In today’s post-Great Recession environment, student loan debt has reached all-time highs, and more young adults are living at home longer, and are unable to purchase homes, cars, and other assets because of persistent unemployment or underemployment. Many young would-be workers are forgoing the job market altogether, and returning to school or taking unpaid internships in hopes of breaking into their respective fields.

Eight years after the Great Recession, college graduates looking to enter the workforce after college are asking about the job market prospects throughout New York State. How many young workers are unemployed or underemployed? What kind of incomes are they earning?

To read the full press release, click here.

To read the full report, click here.


The Workers That Feed Our Families: Fighting for the Right to Organize

August 2, 2017.

The Workers That Feed Our Families: Fighting for the Right to Organize

Crispin Hernandez is a farmworker who felt he and others he worked with were not getting a fair wage or decent working conditions. The solution, he thought, was to organize with other workers to be able to negotiate with their employers. When he started organizing, however, he was fired.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), who is representing Crispin Hernandez, filed a lawsuit against Governor Cuomo and New York State challenging the firing. Oral arguments for the case were heard on July 20 and Supreme Court Justice Richard J. McNally Jr. who heard these, will announce a decision this month.

The argument turns on a law, dating from the 1930s, that excludes farm workers from the right to organize. The plaintiffs argue that the law is in clear violation of the state constitution, which gives all workers the right to organize.

In the midst of this court case, it is important to remember how vital these workers are to us all.  Furthermore, this lawsuit represents a moral and ethical issue, not just solely an economic one.

Immigrants are critical to New York’s agricultural workforce. Immigrant workers—undocumented immigrants, immigrants with H2A “guest worker” visas, and others that are lawfully present in the U.S.—make up 80-percent of seasonal workers and a substantial number of year-round workers.[1] These workers are responsible for producing the farm products we can all find at our dinner table or in our fridge, such as milk, apples, corn, tomatoes, yogurt and more.

Dairy production and processing industry alone generates $14 billion a year for New York State.[2] This does not include other agricultural industries which also generate revenue for the state, such as the apple pickers in the Hudson Valley.

In 2015, farm employees produced 14.1 million pounds of milk to be consumed and used in other dairy products such as yogurt, milk and cheese.[3]

Governor Cuomo understands the importance of these farmworkers. He said “New York’s dairy industry is thriving thanks largely to the men and women who work so hard to produce the world-class dairy products enjoyed by customers across the nation” when thanking them for their hard work in 2014. The governor and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also demonstrate their support for these workers by not defending the law that strips them of their ability to organize in the lawsuit.

Farm laborers work hard to feed their own families and ours as well. The farm economy depends on them. And, like any other workers, farm workers should have the right to organize to improve harsh and unhealthy conditions, and to negotiate to improve long work days, dangerous working conditions, poor housing conditions and common wage theft.[4] It is shocking that these workers still do not have the same rights as almost all other workers. Without them our refrigerators would have less fresh produce and our state economy would be stripped of billions of dollars in revenue. They deserve the right to healthy working conditions, and they deserve the right to advocate for themselves.

By: Cyierra Roldan


Here is a list of news clips that cover this case:

Report: Immigrant Farm Workers Treated Badly

Two-thirds of Dairy Workers Have Been Injured at Least Once, Report Finds

Arguments in Historic Farmworkers’ Rights Case Heard Thursday

Farm Injustice on Trial That Must End the Unfairness

Lawsuit Seeks to Win Organizing Rights for New York’s Farmworkers


[1] Working for a Better Life (New York: The Fiscal Policy Institute, 2007).

[2] Todd M. Schmit, The Economic Contributions of Agriculture in New York State (2014) (New York: Cornell University, 2014).

[3] 2015 – 2016 Agricultural Statistics Annual Bulletin: New York (New York: United States Department of Agriculture, 2015).

[4] Carly Fox, Rebecca Fuentes, Fabiola Ortiz Valdez, Gretchen Purser, and Kathleen Sexsmith. 2017. “Milked: Immigrant Dairy Farmworkers in New York State.” A report by the Workers’ Center of Central New York and the Worker Justice Center of New York.

Fiscal Policy Institute is Expanding

August 1, 2017.

We’re pleased to announce some staff changes at the Fiscal Policy Institute.

Kendra Moses recently joined FPI as Operations Manager. Kendra comes to us from Greater Adirondack Home Aides, where she was Chief Financial Officer and Consumer Directed Medicaid Program Director.

Melissa Krug was hired as FPI’s new Poverty Policy Analyst. Melissa was a Center for Women and Government fellow at FPI through the budget season working on poverty issues.

David Dyssegaard Kallick has been promoted to Deputy Director of FPI. He will also continue as director of the Immigration Research Initiative that he started at FPI. David has been with FPI for 15 years, formerly serving as senior fellow and director of the Labor Community Advocacy Network to Rebuild New York after September 11.

We look forward to working with you all in the future!

July 28, 2017. This article discusses the “canners” in New York City, — people who look through residential trash among the luxury apartment buildings for bottles or cans to redeem for 5 cents each. Sure We Can, a non-profit bottle redemption center, has helped elevate canning socially and has helped spread money among a community with limited resources. David Dyssegaard Kallick, FPI’s Deputy Director and Director of Immigration Research, was quoted discussing the effects that living in New York and low English Speaking ability has on immigrant’s and their employment.

According to David Dyssegaard Kallick, director of the Immigration Research Initiative at New York’s Fiscal Policy Institute, although the city’s economy is much improved from the recession of 2008, the number of “good jobs” offering room for growth are still in short supply.

“New York City has this extraordinarily polarized economy, so that you have in fact, at the moment, a relatively decent number of jobs, but they’re very divided between low-wage jobs that don’t have a whole lot of possibility for advancement and high-wage jobs that are few and far between,” Kallick said in an interview.

For immigrants — a group that comprises 37% of New York City’s population, half of its labor force and more than half of its business owners — the high levels of competition for those low-wage jobs can be a major barrier to entry, particularly for those who don’t speak English, Kallick said.

“You have this very diverse and robust economy among immigrants where I think there are opportunities for people to work even if they don’t speak English well, but of course, as anywhere, your chances for getting a job are much more limited if you don’t speak good English,” he said.

Here is the link to the Mic.

Advocates Look to Expose “Truth” of Poverty

July 27, 2016. New York is the wealthiest state in the entire nation but many of its residents are struggling with meeting basic needs like housing, food, and child care. A group of advocates led by the Labor-Religion Coalition (and including the Fiscal Policy Institute) across the state are coming together at truth commissions to expose the “truth” of poverty. Truth commissions are tasked with discovering and revealing past and present wrongdoing in the hope of resolving the conflict or issue.

More than 3 million New Yorkers live below the poverty line, and millions more are unable to make ends meet. Child poverty has reached a crisis level in upstate New York, where more than half of children in Rochester and Buffalo, and over forty percent of children in Binghamton, Utica. Syracuse, Troy, and Schenectady are poor. Poverty is also highly racialized – families with a black head-of-household are twice as likely to live in poverty and Latino-headed families are two-and-a-half-times more likely to be low income than white-headed households.

According to Melissa Krug from the Fiscal Policy Institute, who also testified, 45 percent of residents in Schenectady County cannot afford their basic needs — 40 percent in Albany County, and 37.5 percent in Rensselaer County. They include the very poor — those below the poverty line — and those who are considered “ALICE,” or, Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed: a term for those who are above the poverty line, but do not make enough money to afford the basic standard of living in their area.

Here is the link to The Alt Weekly.

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