06-24-2021  8:37 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Push to Condemn Seattle Park With Large Homeless Population

A local lawmaker wants to condemn a city-owned park in Seattle with a large homeless encampment next to a courthouse and declare the area a public safety hazard or nuisance property.

Oregon House Passes Expungement Reform, Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk

Senate Bill 397 would provide a more efficient and equitable path to a better future for thousands of Oregonians with a criminal record

Portland Police Halt Minor Traffic Stops, Citing Disparity

Police in Oregon's largest city are being advised to no longer pursue low-level traffic infractions

Loretta Smith Announces Run for Oregon’s New Congressional Seat

EXCLUSIVE with former county commissioner and two-time Portland City Council candidate who wants to keep focus on education, police reform.

NEWS BRIEFS

County Expands Cooling Centers, Hours Ahead of Dangerous Weekend Heat

Multnomah County officials especially concerned for people living in high-rise apartments without AC ...

Oregon Lawmakers Pass Amendment to 'Pause' Evictions

With the federal eviction moratorium set to expire at the end of July, Oregon lawmakers passed an added safety net for struggling...

Burn Ban in Effect in Multnomah County

Due to forecasted high temperatures, limited rainfall, and ongoing dry conditions, the outdoor burn ban is for all areas of Multnomah...

PCC Won't Require Students, Staff to Be Vaccinated This Fall

Behind this decision are several factors: ...

Vancouver Housing Authority Seeks Hotels and Motels to Turn Into Affordable Housing

Vancouver Housing Authority is on the hunt for hotels and motels to purchase for conversion to affordable housing. ...

Family of Black man to sue county over fatal traffic stop

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Family members of a Black motorist fatally shot by a southwestern Washington deputy in February after a traffic stop say they intend to sue Clark County over his death. The family of Jenoah Donald is alleging wrongful death in the claim announced...

City pays 0K to settle suit by ex-Portland police worker

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The city of Portland will pay 0,000 to a former Portland police background investigator who alleged that an ex-officer sexually harassed and stalked her for three years. Robert K. Bruders had resigned as an officer from the Police Bureau in 2016, two...

OPINION

Black America Needs a ‘New Normal’: Equitable Credit Access to Build Wealth

In Black America especially, the ‘old normal’ never delivered equitable access to wealth-building opportunities as those that well-served served much of White America. ...

Rx Upper Payment Limit Bill Will Worsen Chronic Disease for Oregonians Most at Risk

A measure being considered by Oregon state legislature will perpetuate a harmful trend for Oregon’s communities of color. ...

COMMENTARY: 100 Days of Biden-Harris

I see the trillion price tag on the Biden legislation as more of an investment than simple spending. ...

Power and Pride to the People!

Happy Pride month to Black LGBTQ readers and to all of us who love LGBTQ people! ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Facebook arrest video leads to protests in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Demonstrators converged outside a South Carolina police station for a second day Thursday, protesting the arrest of two men by officers in Rock Hill who were recorded on a Facebook video wrestling and throwing punches with the two. Eight people were...

Police, Trump supporters sued over Texas highway incident

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Civil rights organizations and people who were part of a Biden campaign caravan last fall that was surrounded on a Texas highway by Trump supporters filed two federal lawsuits Thursday, including allegations that local law enforcement failed to respond to efforts to...

Man who gave tortillas thrown at game denies racist intent

CORONADO, Calif. (AP) — A California man who claims he provided the tortillas that San Diego-area high school students threw at the basketball team of a mostly Latino high school last weekend has said that his intentions were not racist. Coronado High School alumnus Luke Serna...

ENTERTAINMENT

Drake Bell pleads guilty to felony endangerment charge

CLEVELAND (AP) — Drake Bell, the former star of the popular Nickelodeon show “Drake & Josh,” pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges relating to a girl who met him online and attended one of his concerts in Cleveland in 2017, when she was 15. Jared “Drake” Bell, 34,...

Anne Rice's 'Interview with the Vampire' set for AMC in 2022

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anne Rice's “Interview with the Vampire” is rising again on screen, this time for TV. The bestselling novel, which was adapted for the 1994 Brad Pitt-Tom Cruise film, will be the basis for a new AMC and AMC+ series set for 2022, AMC Networks said...

EXPLAINER: How conservatorships like Britney Spears’ work

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears told a judge at a dramatic hearing Wednesday she wants an end to the conservatorship that has controlled her life and money for 13 years. Here's a look at how conservatorships operate, what's unusual about hers, and why she and so many fans...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Bargainers say have policing 'framework,' but issues remain

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional bargainers said Thursday they've agreed to a bipartisan framework for...

Report: Over 600 bodies found at Indigenous school in Canada

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Leaders of Indigenous groups in Canada said Thursday investigators have found...

EXPLAINER: What to know as Chauvin sentenced in Floyd death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin faces sentencing Friday in the death of...

Merkel: Europe 'on thin ice' amid delta virus variant rise

BRUSSELS (AP) — Europe is “on thin ice” in its battle against COVID-19, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said...

AP PHOTOS: Tibetan traditions threatened by politics, growth

LHASA, China (AP) — The name Tibet conjures up images of snowy peaks, vermillion temples and prayer flags...

EU slaps economic sanctions on Belarus over rights breaches

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union slapped economic sanctions on Belarus on Thursday in response to what the...

Viji Sundaram New America Media

Editor's Note: Asian Americans own 5.7 percent of all businesses nationwide and 11 percent of small businesses. The majority of these small businesses have no paid employees, so the owners cannot take advantage of federal tax credits offered by the Exchanges or online health insurance marketplaces. Kathy Ko Chin, executive director of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), a national health justice organization, talks to New America Media health editor, Viji Sundaram, about the importance of reaching out to these business owners.

NAM: What are Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations such as yours doing to get their communities to enroll in Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange?

APIAHF: Several organizations in California, including Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles and the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network have been advocating for months and trying to work with Covered California to provide education and assistance about Obamacare, including how to enroll in health insurance coverage, in culturally and linguistically appropriate ways. As a national organization, APIAHF has been advocating for full implementation of health reform, focusing primarily on ensuring that the federally facilitated Exchanges are accessible for people who do not speak English, or don't speak the language very well, and for immigrants who will face additional enrollment barriers.

Many AAPI community-based organizations and community health centers in California and other states are doing their own outreach to help get individuals enrolled in the communities they serve. They have been using a variety of ways to do outreach and education, including creating their own educational materials in various languages for individuals/clients/patients they already serve and organizing town hall meetings and focus groups. APIAHF has developed several outreach materials including fact sheets, FAQs, an ACA toolkit for communities, and an "Enrollment Style" video available at our Health Reform Resource Center. We have also partnered with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to translate an educational tool titled, "The Health Care Law and You" into 11 different Asian and Pacific Islander languages that provides an overview of the law's benefits.

NAM: Since the majority of Asian American-owned small businesses have no paid employees, and are therefore not eligible for the small business tax credit, how would you encourage them to enroll on the individual exchange?

APIAHF: If they are not eligible for tax credits, small business owners may still qualify for no-cost health insurance through the expanded Medi-Cal program or, depending on their income, financial assistance to help afford private coverage. These small business owners can find out what plans they are eligible for and what forms of assistance are available for themselves and their families at the individual marketplace website.

NAM: A majority of API small business owners in California will not qualify for coverage through SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program). Should there be a strategy to enroll those of them who are self-employed?

APIAHF: Small business owners will now have access to more affordable health insurance coverage that was not available before through Covered California. In order to get individuals enrolled in coverage, Covered California should engage in targeted marketing strategies using trusted sources of information in the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander small business community (community-based organizations, community health centers, faith-based organizations and various forms of ethnic media) to: 1) emphasize the importance of having health insurance, 2) explain the new coverage options, and 3) highlight that health insurance is more affordable now because of the Medi-Cal expansion and availability of financial assistance for low- and middle-income individuals and families through the Covered California marketplace.

NAM: Many editorials in major newspapers have criticized the Obama administration of doing a poor PR job in promoting Obamacare, which is why many states are now scrambling to do outreach, given that Open Enrollment on the Exchange and in Medicaid (Medi-Cal in Calif.) is just around the corner. Do you agree with the critics?

APIAHF: A "poor PR job" is not the reason why states are concentrating efforts on outreach. The Affordable Care Act represents a dramatic shift in how Americans can and will access health care and health insurance. These are systemic changes that will forever change the way we obtain and understand health care. Change takes time, and while millions have already benefited from Obamacare, millions more will gain health insurance for the first time in just the next few months.

NAM: When the ACA was being drafted, did APIAHF lobby the Obama administration to do away with the five-year waiting period for immigrants to qualify for public health programs?

APIAHF: We have been longtime advocates for eliminating the 5-year waiting period. We advocated against its formation in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWORA) in 1996, and have used every available legislative opportunity to eliminate the waiting period including most recently the Senate-passed immigration reform bill. Fortunately, some states such as California and New York use state dollars to provide these immigrants with health insurance coverage. In addition, immigrants subject to the 5-year waiting period are eligible for premium assistance to purchase health insurance plans offered through the marketplaces.

NAM: On your website, you talk about mixed status families and the Exchanges, how such a status will "only add confusion and delay, and even erroneous denials of enrollment." Could you explain what you mean by that?

APIAHF: Eligibility determinations based on immigration status can be very complicated due to the patchwork of restrictive laws and regulations, even for trained eligibility staff. The most common composition of a mixed immigration status family is of an undocumented parent with U.S.-born children. While the children are eligible for safety-net programs like Medi-Cal or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) because they are citizens, the undocumented parent is generally not eligible, yet that parent must often complete application forms on his/her child's behalf. While there are protections and guidance in place for individuals applying for benefits on another person's behalf, most immigrant applicants and many program staff are unaware of these protections, and, based on past experience with enrollment into other public programs, turn individuals away due to assumptions about what information is required for beneficiaries vs. a parent completing the application on a child's behalf. Additionally, research by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities indicated that families with mixed immigration status did not enroll in Medicaid coverage when states used online applications—the primary method of enrollment for the health insurance marketplace—indicating that this will be a serious challenge moving forward.

NAM: What would you like to see included in the immigration reform bill now debated in Congress that would benefit the APIAHF communities in terms of health care?

APIAHF: Our vision for health equity in immigration reform is for parity in access to health care and health insurance for everyone, regardless of immigration status. Our top policy priority is for the elimination of the five-year waiting period for legal permanent residents who are hardworking, paying taxes and call America home. We also hope newly legalized immigrants (referred to as provisional immigrants in S. 744) are provided the same access and affordability options as lawfully present immigrants and citizens so that they can stay healthy and continue to contribute to their communities.

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