McCormack Speaks

May 1, 2019
by saadiaahmad001
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MassHealth Yearly Coverage Renewal Process

By Carla Thomas, MPA Student

Applying for MassHealth is time-consuming and can be very stressful on both applicants and their families. The moments of waiting to learn which plan one qualifies for, or especially being denied the very coverage that one is in need of, is all quite a very overwhelming and difficult experience.  After having to go through this crucial application torture comes a yearly renewal process that is a burden for people with severe mental and physical disabilities. Their health and financial status will likely not change, or if they do, it might not make that much of a difference in their eligibility status.

After gathering some information from a phone conversation with a MassHealth agent, I now understand that people do have the option of setting their account automatically, so that the account gets updated yearly on its own and clients don’t have to deal with the extra renewal paper work. I can only wonder if half of MassHealth clients have ever been properly informed of this option.  I understand the sole purpose of having clients renew their coverage yearly is to learn if they have a new address of social security number, if their federal tax return was filled out, if there was a change in immigration or citizenship status — in other words, new information that needs to be updated.  There should be an easier option for people with disabilities and for the elderly.  Either their age or disability could qualify them for not having to go through the renewal process, or maybe it should be less of a burden to them.

Basically, for those who didn’t choose the automatic option, they are on their very own regardless of their health status. They either rely on family help or local community agencies. But, in addition to their daily health struggles, they have to remember to renew their MassHealth yearly, otherwise the coverage might be jeopardized or frozen.  I learned that clients have a 45-day period, giving them enough time to take action and send the renewal paper work.

It sounds like a very easy task for someone like myself who’s somewhat healthy and has no medical barrier.  I can only wish that such a large agency as MassHealth — whose mission is to help people in need — would spare those with severe health issues having to deal with extra paper work yearly.  If you know someone who may need help filling out the renewal application, you can help them connect to a MassHealth representative at 800-841-2900, help them look for an Enrollment Center,  or you can simply help them with the renewal application.

Below is the link from Mass.gov regarding MassHealth’s coverage renewal. If you or your loved ones know seniors or persons with disabilities who are currently receiving MassHealth coverage, please share this information with them.

https://www.mass.gov/how-to/renew-your-coverage-for-masshealth-the-health-safety-net-or-the-childrens-medical-security

September 26, 2018
by saadiaahmad001
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Latest Book by Mark Warren Chronicles Firsthand Experience of Educators and Students Fighting Systemic Racism in Schools

 

Mark Warren, Professor of Public Policy and Public Affairs at the McCormack Graduate School, recently published his fourth book, Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Us Out!: Voices from the Front Lines of the Educational Justice Movement. The book introduces readers to the struggles and accomplishments of the educational justice movement through firsthand accounts and personal narratives written directly by the parents, students, educators, and allies fighting on the frontlines in the resistance against systemic inequalities that target and disadvantage children of color in low-income households.

Over the course of the semester, he will be speaking with community and education activists featured in the book and touring cities across the country, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. His speaking schedule can be viewed here. McCormack Speaks sat down with Dr. Warren to learn more about his latest book and some of the goals that he hopes his book will help accomplish on these issues.

 

SA: Where did the idea for this book come from?

MW: I have been studying and working with community, parent, and youth organizing groups as well as with education activists for twenty years. Until recently, most of these efforts had been focused in local areas but over the past five years, I witnessed a growing national movement. I thought it was time to write a book about this new, emerging movement and wanted to have organizers and activists have a chance to speak for themselves – share their own personal stories, powerful analysis, and successful strategies for creating educational justice in schools and communities.

SA: What gap in the literature does this book address?

MW: This book approaches the failures of our educational system as a profound racial justice issue, rooted in the lack of power that low-income communities of color have in our society. It argues that we need a social justice movement led by those most affected – parents and students of color – as well as educators and allies in other movements to create power for communities and systemic change in public education. It also identifies effective strategies for how to build this movement and create equity-oriented change in schools and communities.

SA: What types of projects and dialogues do you hope this book will inspire?

MW: I hope this book will provoke a discussion about the depth of systemic racism in our public education system and what it will take to address it. I hope it helps people appreciate the important work [of] people who are often ignored in our society – like parents and students of color – but are leading change efforts across the country.

SA: How have your affiliations with the McCormack Graduate School and UMass Boston assisted with the publication of this book?
MW: I believe it is important for our public universities to be at the forefront of working with communities to create equity and justice in education and beyond. UMass Boston and MGS support this mission and the research and engagement work I do for educational justice.

SA: What are some other projects you hope to pursue in the coming years?

MW: The people who came together to create this book became excited about creating an idea and strategy space for movement building that we are calling the People’s Think Tank. We are touring the country engaging communities and educators around the need to create a stronger and more intersectional social justice movement with racial and educational justice at its center. We will be launching the People’s Think Tank next year as the culmination of this engagement process and take the next step to build strategic understanding and actionable knowledge for the movement and its supporters.

SA: Anything else that you’d like to share with the MGS community about this book?

MW: This book is very personal to me. I grew up in a blue-collar family and community and public schools gave me a chance to go to college and access the world. Too many young people, especially poor children and children of color, are denied that access and are consigned to lives of continued poverty or incarceration. This book shines a light on the way forward for our country to reject our racial history and create a better future for all our young people.

 

 

October 14, 2016
by McCormack Speaks
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Why Job-Promoting Policies are Needed

by Christian Weller
Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs

For years now, the policy lesson drawn from repeatedly modest employment reports has been the same. Policymakers, especially Congress, need to do more to boost economic and job growth. The Fed has done its job by keeping interest rates low and stabilizing the economy in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The next president will need to lead, and Congress needs to act on job-promoting policies.

The latest job numbers, while positive, only underscore this message.

Read more in Weller’s latest contribution to The Conversation.

October 12, 2016
by McCormack Speaks
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Prospects for Obamacare Under the New Presidency

by Professor Amit Patel
Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs

For a while during the second presidential debate, it seemed like policy issues might never come up and the evening will only be dedicated to various scandals: Bill Clinton’s infidelities, Hillary Clinton’s emails and, the now-infamous Donald Trump video that had dominated headlines just before the debate night. Thankfully, in this town hall-style debate format, one of the members asked a question on a specific policy – Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare.

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October 7, 2016
by McCormack Speaks
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Reflections on the Vice Presidential Debate

by Aroon Manoharan
Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs

The focus of the election has mostly been on the presidential candidates, beginning even earlier than the primary elections conducted by both political parties. However, this election cycle has thrown up quite a few surprises with the candidates, their positions, and statements and claims made during the campaign trail. The vice presidential debate was a great opportunity to clarify some these positions and provide more policy insights to their candidatures.

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