Compiled by David Seidman, a Summer 2012 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern
The Rush to Abandon the Poor
New York Times
On July 9, Texas Governor Rick Perry informed the Obama administration that Texas would “proudly” refuse a federally funded expansion of Medicaid, a move that The New York Times editorial board characterized as “a rush to abandon the poor.” A quarter of Texans, 6.3 million residents (including one million children) are uninsured, the highest percentage in the country. The Department of Health and Human Services recently ranked Texas last in a national survey of health care systems. The Medicaid expansion, part of the Affordable Care Act, would insure 1.7 million Texans and would be paid for, in full, by the federal government for the first three years and at 90 percent after that. Perry joins five other Republican governors in refusing federal Medicaid aid, although The Times notes that other Republicans, including Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia, have said that to refuse aid would create “a significant gap in coverage” for the poorest citizens.
Study finds costs associated with voter IDs
On Wednesday, the Brennan Center for Justice released a study finding that state laws requiring photo identification to vote pose “significant problems”, including “serious transportation barriers” to voters, even if the ID itself is free. In the ten states surveyed, the Brennan center found several barriers to acquiring “free” ID including: significant travel time to a State ID office, lack of car or adequate transportation, and the high cost of obtaining qualifying documents such as birth certificates or marriage licenses. Judge Robert Wilkins also questioned the burden of travel in Texas v. Holder, suggesting that some eligible voters would have to travel more than 120 miles to obtain the required ID.
Bans on Affirmative Action Shown to Reduce Enrollment of Graduate Students of Color at Universities in CA, FL, TX, WA
The UCLA Civil Rights Project
A new study analyzing the impact of state level bans on affirmative action in higher education found that such polices dramatically reduce the number of minority graduate students. The study, commissioned by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, analyzed the effect of the laws on Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans at universities in California, Florida, Texas and Washington. The report found that minority representation is “shrinking, particularly in the fields of engineering and the natural sciences” at the same time “the U.S. is experiencing a chronic shortage of scientific manpower.” Liliana Garces, the professor who conducted the research, concluded that the decrease in diversity has negative consequences for both higher education and the economy. The report comes just months before the Supreme Court is set to consider affirmative action in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.