Letters: Other Views on poverty and healthcare

The Detroit News

Self-sufficiency is the standard

Michigan has joined 38 others states in developing a self-sufficiency standard. This comprehensive tool provides the best data and analyses for Michigan’s families and individuals to move toward economic security.

Simply put, the standard calculates how much income a family must earn to meet basic needs. Of course, this amount varies based on the family make-up and where they live.

Basic needs are defined as you may think – bare bones budgets with no extras. These needs include housing, child care, food, health care, transportation and taxes.

While the standard for Michigan defines the minimum income needed to realistically support a family, it is about much more than the ongoing debate over the minimum wage. It’s about improving skills for better paying jobs and bridging any gaps for employment, such as transportation and child care and companies being responsible for taking care of their most valuable asset, their people.

It’s important to note that the Self-Sufficiency Standard is different that the official poverty measure, which is out of date and no longer accurately measures poverty. Families are defined as poor or not poor depending on where they fall on the poverty measure. Based on the Self-Sufficiency Standard, many Michigan families with incomes considered above the federal poverty level are significantly below what is necessary to meet their basic needs.

To reduce costs, we must ensure that families who are struggling to cover basic needs have access to work supports, such as child care assistance, food benefits and the Earned Income Credit. These supports provide stability and resources while a person becomes self-sufficient and they incentivize work.

The second critical component is raising incomes through enhanced skills and jobs that pay self-sufficient wages and offer career potential. Public policies, education, training and full-time employment can all help individuals reach self-sufficiency.

Phil Knight, executive director

Food Bank Council of Michigan.

The Important Role of the ACA in Cancer Care

Since its inception there has been much debate over the success of the Affordable Care Act. As we near six years it is apparent that even in its current form the law is crucial and vital policy for many, especially those with preexisting conditions. 

The ACA has been overwhelming successful in providing early screening and treatment, and access to cancer prevention services. In Kaiser Family Foundation reports in 2016 that 94% of Michiganders have insurance coverage. The Michigan marketplace is robust with 8 current health plan options and 9 options projected for 2019. Americans enjoy choices in their health coverage, whether that is employer-sponsored care or on the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

In addition, the Kaiser Family Foundation previously estimated that 52 million adults would be considered uninsurable due to pre-existing conditions without the support of the ACA. In June of 2018, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society stated that, “Striking down these provisions would be catastrophic and have dire consequences for many patients with serious illnesses.”

Policy makes on both sides of the debate are calling for the replace of the ACA with unknown and uncharted healthcare policies, like Medicare for All. Not many realize that under a government-controlled single payer policy, we would be getting rid of the ACA and these programs, as well as patients’ current plans.

Jerome Seid, M.D.
Great Lakes Cancer Management Specialists

Seid writes: "Under a government-controlled single payer policy, we would get rid of the ACA and these programs, as well as patients’ current plans."