By Jake Thomas, Staff Writer
It sounds like an invasive medical procedure. In a way it is, and it’s about to be performed on the entire country unless Congress acts fast.
In Portland, sequestration — a wonky term for general cuts in government spending — could result in less affordable housing and leave some of the city’s most vulnerable people struggling to put a roof over their heads. And the political hiatus in Washington over the future budget has local housing agencies hanging in limbo over how to prepare for the chopping block.
“Almost every resource that we have to build affordable housing will see cuts,” said John Miller, executive director of the Oregon Opportunity Network, of the looming and deep cuts to the federal budget. Continue reading →
Street Roots editorial
Health care costs are sucking the life out of Americans.
It’s true. The United States spends more than any other country on health care: More than $2 trillion each year. That’s 17 percent of our GDP goes into health care costs, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and it’s on the rise.
Health care costs are rising faster than our earnings. In fact, a U.S. Department of Labor study shows that in the past decade, premiums for employment-based private insurance rose 114 percent. Small and mid-sized businesses are looking at double-digit increases in their coverage costs, which cut into earnings and employment opportunities. The cost has expanded far beyond access for many Americans who are now going without insurance, or preventative care — and without jobs. The Oregon Health Authority estimates 16 percent of the state’s population is uninsured. Continue reading →