September Observer

September Observer

In the latest OWL Observer, we look at how too many Independent voters are shut out of the primary process; must-know information on Social Security and women that OWL shared with all presidential candidates; and more.

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What makes OWL unique is our sharp focus. We are the only organization that works solely on the economic security and quality-of-life issues impacting women over 40, who account for almost one-quarter of the U.S. population.

Join us in speaking up for this estimated 78-million-member demographic whose voice on the policy stage has yet to match its size.


Latest from OWL

All-In for the Primaries

In OWL’s latest Huffington Post blog, Executive Director Bobbie Brinegar discusses opening up the primary election process to all voters. Below is an excerpt:

Over half the states have a closed or semi-closed primary system, where only registered members of a party with candidates on the ballot are allowed to vote. Voters who are independent, unaffiliated, or registered with a third party are excluded from voting, or forced to change party affiliation before they can vote.

This is wrong for a number of reasons.

Primaries are publicly funded. Voting machines, election materials, ballot tabulation, etc. are paid for with state tax dollars. All voters deserve the right to participate in a publicly funded election.

Primaries are critical. In many places, especially legislative districts drawn along party lines, the primary vote decides the election.

Read the full Huffington Post blog.

Posted by Brittany Reid on 09/30 at 10:10 AM

Women and Social Security

In OWL’s latest Huffington Post blog, Executive Director Bobbie Brinegar discusses women and Social Security:

One of the guiding principles in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution is to “promote the general welfare.” We’d be hard-pressed to name a program that achieves that goal more effectively than Social Security.

Today—80 years after FDR signed the Social Security Act—Social Security continues to be one of the nation’s most successful, effective, and popular programs. It’s by far the most effective anti-poverty program in the United States.

Critical to Women’s Retirement Security

While Social Security is important to all Americans, it is even more so to women. Women rely more on income from Social Security than men do. And older women are at greater risk of being poor: in 2013, of those 65+, more than twice as many women as men lived in poverty.

    Women make up more than half of all beneficiaries age 62+, and around two-thirds of beneficiaries age 85+.

      Without Social Security, nearly half of women 65+ would be poor.

        Women have longer life expectancies than men, so they live more years into retirement and run a higher risk of exhausting their savings.

          Women are less likely than men to have a pension, and their pensions are likely to be smaller than men’s, due to earning lower wages or spending time out of the workforce to serve as caregivers.

            Unlike pensions, Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation and last for the lifetime.

            Read the full Huffington Post blog.

            Posted by Brittany Reid on 09/04 at 01:24 PM

            2015 Could be the Year for Mental Health Reform

            In OWL’s latest Huffington Post blog, we discuss mental health reform:

            Not since the 1960s has the U.S. Congress seriously considered the issue of mental health. In 1963, it passed President Kennedy’s Community Mental Health Act, and a few years later, Medicare and Medicaid designated funding for the community services mentioned in the bill.

            Now, nearly 50 years later, lawmakers in both houses are considering bipartisan bills that would reform mental health care in America.

            The Senate bill is S. 1945, the “Mental Health Reform Act of 2015,” introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). The House bill is H.R. 2646, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.).

            Both bills address two major issues:

            • Improving access to mental health care under Medicaid. A decades-old rule in Medicaid excludes patients between the ages of 21 and 64 from going to freestanding psychiatric hospitals. The bills would allow an exception so that short-term psychiatric hospitals can participate in Medicaid.

            • Clarifying disclosure of patient information under HIPAA. Because of the way doctors and other healthcare providers interpret the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), it’s difficult for family members or caregivers to get information about the diagnosis or treatment of a loved one. The bills would clarify what information can be disclosed, allowing for greater access to family members.

            Read the full Huffington Post blog.

            Posted by Deborah Akel on 08/21 at 11:01 AM

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