September News from Nebraska Appleseed

In this September edition of “Appleseed in Action”:

  • New data on poverty in America
  • UNMC report reveals Medicaid expansion would cover 90,000 uninsured
  • Deferred Action Forum: a new opportunity for DREAMers
  • Appleseed files petition for hearing on meatpacking worker health & safety
  • Join us at the Good Apple Awards on October 4

New data on poverty in America

On Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau released its latest poverty, income, and health care statistics. The data indicate that while the number of Americans living in poverty has stabilized from increases since the start of the economic recession, more must be done to help the millions of Americans still suffering under the crushing weight of poverty.

According to the Census Bureau, more than 46 million Americans live in poverty, including 22 percent of children under the age of 18. Moreover, real household income declined for the second straight year, dropping 1.5 percent from 2010.

“The numbers we see today confirm the sad truth that poverty remains an enormous problem for millions of Americans. But the policy choices we make going forward can play a great role in reducing poverty,” said Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould. “We need to expand policies that provide access to education and training, childcare and work support programs while families move out of poverty. Programs like child care assistance, Medicaid, unemployment, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program do just that.”

A positive development highlighted by the Census Bureau was a decrease in the number of Americans across the nation without health insurance. This decrease is attributable in part to the provision of the Affordable Care Act allowing young adults to stay on their parent’s insurance plans until they reach the age of 26.

“Today’s data shows that the Affordable Care Act is already making a real difference by opening the door for more Americans to get and maintain access to healthcare,” said Jennifer Carter, Director of Public Policy at Nebraska Appleseed. “Nebraska has the chance to increase access to health care even further by taking advantage of the opportunity under the ACA to create a new program which would cover up to 90,000 Nebraskans. It is an opportunity we cannot afford to pass up.”

Millions of people across our nation still suffer under the weight of poverty, lacking access to economic stability and health care that should be available to every hard-working American.  But through policies that create opportunity and offer support to our working families, we can help provide relief as we continue to move forward out of this recession.


UNMC report reveals Medicaid expansion would cover 90,000 uninsured

2010-acabecomeslawLast month, the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Center for Health Policy released a report examining the potential economic impact the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) new Medicaid program would have on Nebraska.

The results paint a clear picture that the state would receive significant returns on an investment made in the good health and well-being of its citizens through this new program under the ACA.  In addition to providing critically needed health care access to more than 90,000 Nebraskans, an investment in this program would return $2.9 billion to $3.5 billion to the state, generate $700 million in economic activity and create and sustain more than 10,000 jobs every year over the next eight years.

“Investing in the health of Nebraskans has always been the right moral choice, but UNMC’s report is additional evidence that providing health care coverage through this new program under the ACA is also the right fiscal choice and the right economic choice,” Jennifer Carter said.

The report found that this new program under the ACA would result in:

  • No more “hidden tax” – Uncompensated care costs, estimated to be more than $1 billion from 2014-19, are passed on by providers to health insurance companies and then to consumers, causing our premiums to go up. With the new Medicaid program the amount of uncompensated care given by providers would be reduced by $650 million from 2014-2019, reducing the cost-shift.
  • A return of our tax dollars – $2.9 billion to $3.5 billion would be returned to Nebraska through 2020.
  • Economic development – Those dollars would bring in $700 million in economic activity every year and 10,000 jobs each year to Nebraska through 2020.

“This new program is an opportunity the state cannot afford to miss if we are serious about addressing the problems in our health care system,” Carter said. “It is a real solution that will not only provide needed health care, but will return billions of dollars back to our state, invest in the health of our workforce and economy, reduce the burden on Nebraska families, and ensure our children have a healthy future.”

Read the full report.
Contact your state senator and urge his or her support for the Medicaid expansion.

Tell your senator that expanding Medicaid is a cost-effective, responsible way to provide health care coverage to nearly 90,000 hard-working Nebraskans who couldn’t otherwise afford to a see a doctor. It’s one of the best investments we can make in public health and Nebraska’s future.


Deferred Action Forum: a new opportunity for DREAMers

Last Sunday, a wide variety of community and faith organizations worked together to provide approximately 500 young Nebraskans and their family members from across the state with information about a new immigration policy for DREAMers, immigrant youth seeking relief from deportation. The new Department of Homeland Security policy (DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) provides relief from deportation for law-abiding, immigrant youth who arrived in the U.S. as children.

Community nonprofits and faith groups from Omaha, Lincoln, and Columbus – together with pro bono attorneys – organized the educational forum to provide an overview of the new policy and requirements for eligibility as well as short intake interviews for youth and their families.  These families will be invited to have an appointment with an immigration attorney or accredited representative at a later date.

“This affects many of our neighbors and Nebraska youth,” said Emiliano Lerda, Executive Director of Justice for Our Neighbors – Nebraska, who helped organize the event. “Many organizations felt it was very important to provide good quality information to young people and their families.”

“This policy is a very positive step forward,” said Darcy Tromanhauser, director at Nebraska Appleseed. “It’s an opportunity for all of us to benefit from the talents of future teachers, doctors, engineers, and small-business owners who grew up in Nebraska. However, because it is a temporary policy, we still urgently need Congress to pass the DREAM Act and common-sense immigration laws that support Nebraska’s families, communities, and economy.”

“As communities of faith, we want to see policies that provide the strongest foundation for our families and communities,” said Kathleen Grant of Omaha Together One Community. “Our volunteers from Omaha Together One Community wanted to help reach out and make sure young immigrant Nebraskans and their families have the information they need to move forward.”

“Today is the beginning of an opportunity for thousands of young Nebraskans to pursue the American Dream without the fear of being sent back to a country they do not know.  But it is only temporary,” said Kristin Ostrom, ACLU Community Organizer.  “ACLU will continue to work to protect the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of ‘all persons’ in our country – from calling for a long-term solution such as the DREAM Act that creates a road to citizenship  – to the ACLU’s continuing legal challenges of unconstitutional state and local enforcement laws across the country including Fremont, Nebraska’s ordinance.”

Sunday’s event was organized by ACLU of Nebraska, Catholic Charities of Omaha, Centro Hispano Comunitario de Nebraska, Heartland Workers Center, Justice for Our Neighbors – Nebraska, Latino Center of the Midlands, Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska DREAM Alliance, and Omaha Together One Community.

For more information about the new deferred action policy go to


Appleseed files petition for hearing on meatpacking worker health & safety

meatpackersAt the end of August, Appleseed and the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requesting a hearing to address serious human rights abuses in meatpacking and poultry processing plants across the United States.

The IACHR is an autonomous body of the inter-American system created by mandate of the Organization of American States that promotes and protects human rights. The Midwest Coalition and Appleseed petition documents human rights abuses in meatpacking plants throughout the Midwest and asks the IACHR to 1) find that the unacceptable conditions of the meatpacking industry violate the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man; and 2) recommend the need for more specific and effective work speed and ergonomic regulations through OSHA.

The meat and poultry processing industries violate the fundamental human rights of their workers by systematically exploiting the lack of ergonomic and work speed safety regulations in the U.S. The industries have failed to respond to the documented evidence of deplorable conditions, and the United States regulatory body that oversees worker safety, OSHA, has not sufficiently addressed the connection between production speed and worker safety.

“Meatpacking plants continue hazardous practices that put worker health and food safety at risk.” said Darcy Tromanhauser, director of Appleseed’s Immigrant Integration and Civic Participation Program. “Meatpacking workers are exposed to unrelenting production speed, extraordinary injury rates, extreme temperatures, denial of bathroom use, and other supervisory abuse. This year on Labor Day, we reflect on the contributions of workers to our economy and call on Congress and the U.S. government to protect workers in this dangerous industry.”

Read the Omaha World-Herald’s article about the petition.
Read Appleseed’s reports on meatpacking worker health and safety:
Dignity on the Line: An evaluation of the Nebraska Meatpacking Workers Bill of Rights
The Speed Kills You: The Voice of Nebraska’s Meatpacking Workers


Join us at the Good Apple Awards on October 4

On Thursday, October 4, Appleseed will celebrate Nebraskans who stand up for justice and opportunity for all at the 2012 Good Apple Awards in Omaha at the Livestock Exchange Building 10th floor ballroom (4920 S. 30th St). Make reservations today!

Join Appleseed as we reflect on our work and accomplishments in 2012 and celebrate these outstanding Nebraskans who stand up for the rights of children, promote and protect our right to vote, and build stronger communities and a stronger Nebraska:

Senator Kathy Campbell

Carolina Quezada, Latino Center of the Midlands

Sergio Sosa, Heartland Workers Center

Willie Hamilton, Black Men United

Rachel Jacobson, Film Streams

Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act Coalition

Social hour begins at 6pm with heavy hors d’oeuvres, live music by Manouche Moustache, and a social justice poster exhibit “Stand Up for Justice.” The program and awards presentation runs from 7pm to 7:45pm, immediately followed by a post-program social.

Make your reservations today. Individual tickets are $50. Young professionals tickets are $35. Tickets for students, seniors, and fixed-income are $20. 100% of your purchase directly supports Appleseed’s efforts fighting for justice and opportunity for all.

We have a lot to celebrate this year – restoring prenatal care, passing systemic reforms to Nebraska’s child welfare system, defeating misguided voter suppression legislation, creating new opportunities for low-income parents to pursue higher education, ensuring low-income kids can access food during the summer, and promoting communities that welcome immigrant Nebraskans as neighbors.

Join us as we reflect on our work and celebrate these victories alongside this year’s honorees who helped make them happen.

For more information about the event, tickets, or sponsorship opportunities contact Nicholas Swiercek at or (402) 438-8853 x110.

Thank you to our Good Apple Awards sponsors!

Partner Sponsor

Advocate Sponsors


Ally Sponsors
Annette & Paul Smith
Brooks, Pansing Brooks, PC LLO
Commercial Investment Properties
Fuhrman, Smolsky & Furey, PC
Mueller Robak LLC
Nebraska State Education Association
One World Community Health Centers
Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP
Vanguard Charitable Endowment

Friends of Appleseed
A to Z Printing
American Communications Group
Nebraska Association of Public Employees / AFSCME

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