Viewpoints: Lessons On Crafting The Next Relief Bill; How Can The Senate Not Address Childhood Hunger?
Editorial writers focus on these pandemic topics and others.
The Wall Street Journal:
Trump’s Trillion-Dollar Choice
As negotiations for another giant spending bill proceed in Washington, President Trump faces a choice. Does he do another deal giving Speaker Nancy Pelosi most of what she wants, perhaps splitting the GOP in the process? Or does he press his own economic agenda and, if the Speaker blocks it, take that to the voters in November? On present trend Mr. Trump is headed for the first choice. Mrs. Pelosi’s House passed her $3 trillion spending bill in May, and the President is moving toward her step by step. Even if the final number ends up somewhere between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion, the Speaker would get most of what she wants. (8/5)
COVID-19 Has Led To Surge In Child Hunger. Here's How We Can Help.
As a nation, we have a moral and economic obligation to address child hunger, food insecurity and avoid economic collapse in the wake of COVID-19. While we have different political viewpoints, we strongly agree that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is one of the most effective tools we have to fight the looming health and economic crises facing our great country. The Senate is at a critical decision point as to how we use this tool. That’s why together, we are calling for a temporary 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits, bound to economic indicators, in the next federal coronavirus relief package. (Bill Frist and Mark K. Shriver, 8/5)
Los Angeles Times:
Partying Our Way To More Coronavirus Death And Destruction?
After weeks of bad coronavirus news, Californians glimpsed a sliver of hope this week: The average number of people hospitalized or admitted to the ICU with COVID-19 infections has declined over the last two weeks. Infections might have ebbed significantly as well, but we won’t know for sure until the state fixes a data collection foul-up. While there are still problem areas, such as in the Central Valley, the new data suggest that measures taken in June to close down some businesses that had recently reopened and limit others to outdoor operations have succeeded in slowing the resurgence of infections that began around Memorial Day. If this trend continues, it means that the average number of daily deaths, which lags behind the changes in infections and hospitalizations, will also decline. Nationwide, the picture is looking brighter as well, with infection hot spots such as Florida, Arizona and Texas seeing new cases decline after state officials enacted similar restrictions.However hopeful, this is not the time to celebrate the beginning of the end of the pandemic. (8/6)
Medicare For All Would Be Better For COVID-19 Patients And America
I’m a family physician who moved to Canada from California 14 years ago, largely because of Canadian Medicare, the country's national health insurance program. I’ve been much happier practicing medicine where my patients have universal coverage. It frees up doctors like me to focus on patient care and frees patients to focus on their health, instead of worrying about how to pay for it. But I have never felt more grateful to work in a universal health care system than during the COVID-19 pandemic. My heart aches for the millions of Americans who have fallen ill and then have had to worry about how they will pay for tests and treatment, who have gone to work while sick for fear of losing their health coverage or who have lost not only their jobs but their insurance, leaving them at risk for financial ruin. (Khati Hendry, 8/5)
The Washington Post:
Missouri Shows Us A Lot About Health Care
No matter how hard they tried, Republican politicians and their allies could not stop Missouri’s voters from expanding access to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. They tried to rig the timing of the referendum by forcing the vote during a relatively low-turnout primary on Tuesday rather than in November. That failed. They played on racial prejudice and nativism by falsely claiming a yes vote would mean “illegal immigrants flooding Missouri hospitals . . . while we pay for it!” That failed, too. (E.J. Dionne Jr., 8/5)
The Wall Street Journal:
Voting With Their Guns
There’s nothing like nationwide protests and a murder surge in major cities to cause a spurt of new gun sales. Gun controllers may want to rethink their 2020 strategy.The FBI’s most recent gun-sale figures are stunning. They show that in July the bureau carried out 3.6 million background checks, the third highest month on record. Adjusting to reflect checks only for gun purchases, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) says this translates to 1.8 million gun sales for July 2020—a 122% increase over July 2019. The 12,141,032 gun sales through this July is just shy of the 13,199,172 sales for all of 2019. (8/5)
There's A New Remedy For The Sick: Voting
Our country is stuck in a startling paradox: in poll after poll, Americans say healthcare is their single most important issue, yet 51 million forego a considerable amount of power in shaping our nation’s health policy — because they aren’t registered to vote. The COVID-19 pandemic has only deepened this paradox: the importance of our health system is startlingly clear, while registering to vote is harder than ever. (Ali S. Raja and Ben Ruxin, 8/6)
N.C. Elder Care Needs Key Reforms
North Carolina knows about hurricanes and how to prepare for them. That awareness makes it especially disturbing that at least six elder-care facilities in Eastern North Carolina failed to evacuate their residents as Hurricane Florence bore down on them two years ago. A story by the News & Observer’s Carli Brosseau published this week gave a harrowing account of what happened next. One facility evacuated residents by boat, some were carried out on backboards covered by sheets in the driving rain. At one home, staff members, unprepared and poorly paid, stopped showing up. Residents were put on buses and delivered to shelters ill-equipped to care for them. At least 200 residents were moved more than once. Some ended up at a shoddy, oft-penalized nursing home. (8/5)
Los Angeles Times:
A California Way To Help The Unemployed Even If Washington Won't
State Rep. Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) floated an idea last week: If Washington doesn’t re-up its $600 weekly unemployment boost, California should open a loophole that would allow Sacramento to borrow from the feds and continue the payments regardless.It’s a fitting proposition for a state where belief in government proactively working for the public good has often led to experimentation, rather than mere talk. (See Stockton’s first-in-the-nation universal basic income pilot program — $500 a month paid to 125 people resulting in “really rational” purchases, according to one investigator tracking the project.) Ting’s proposal deserves a go-ahead if Washington doesn’t act. (David L. Ulin, 8/5)
New Orleans Times-Picayune:
The Unemployment Situation In Louisiana Is Desperate. Where's The Help?
With enhanced federal unemployment benefits for roughly 450,000 Louisianans now expired, the pathetic state of affairs in Washington is getting much of the attention.Rightfully so. Senate Republicans and the Trump administration sat on their hands for more than two months after the Democratic House passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that extended the $600 weekly federal contribution. Even now, they can’t agree among themselves on a counterproposal, despite some of the worst economic news in decades and amid more difficult but necessary public health restrictions. Meanwhile, the people they represent are facing the reality of relying on what states have to offer. (Stephanie Grace, 8/4)
Tampa Bay Times:
Florida Needs Federal Unemployment Benefits Extended
Congress has debated for weeks about how to extend federal unemployment benefits as the economy continues to wobble. Republicans and Democrats have larded up their proposals with extraneous requests that have little to do with fighting the economic crisis in real time, including $1.75 billion for a new FBI building and $40 million for environmental surveillance. The politics-as-usual approach won’t cut it. The $600 a week in federal benefits has run out, and the consequences are about to become real — more unemployed workers falling behind on rent, more parents worried about how to feed their children, more people unable to pay for medications. Enough of the partisan sparring. It’s past time for our elected leaders to extend the benefits. (8/5)