Progressive Views: Working for All Americans

By JC Dufresne
For the “Progressive Views” column, Boerne Star, June 2, 2024

Blue coated wires with inputs
Image by Brett Sayles is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

A month ago the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The final rule requires nursing homes to provide a minimum of 3.48 hours of nursing care per resident day, including 0.55 hours of care from a registered nurse per resident day and at least 2.45 hours of care from a nurse aide per resident day, as well as 24/7 onsite RN services.

To make sure the federal money is being spent appropriately, CMS will require states to collect and report on the percent of Medicaid payments that are spent on compensation for direct care workers and support staff, delivering care in nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities, for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Big business is already pushing back claiming that nursing homes will close. It’s a scare tactic and that’s one of the areas where the new regulation requiring that the amount spent on nursing staff salaries be published on public-facing websites will help, since we’ll all be able to see which nursing homes are sucking up profits at the expense of providing sufficient staffing.

Earlier this year, the Inflation Reduction Act capped insulin costs for Medicare recipients at $35 per month. In March, on the heels of that reduction, the three major insulin producers in the US agreed to substantially reduce their prices, saving Americans hundreds of dollars per month.

There’s also big news about your internet connection and the access to all the services and websites you’re interested in. In April, the Federal Communications Commission voted to “restore a national standard to ensure the internet is fast, open, and fair. The decision to reclassify broadband service as a Title II telecommunications service allows the FCC to protect consumers, defend national security, and advance public safety,” according to a release from the FCC. This is known as Net Neutrality.

The change in rules enables the Commission to revoke the authorizations of foreign-owned entities who pose a threat to national security to operate broadband networks in the U.S. Any provider, such as four Chinese state-owned providers, without section 214 authorization for voice services must now also cease any fixed or mobile broadband service operations in the United States.

This is the part of the new Net Neutrality rules that immediately is important to me as I am and have been a teleworker for 20 years. The FCC will now monitor internet outages because when workers cannot telecommute, students cannot study, or businesses cannot market their products because their internet service is out, our economy loses. The new rules mean that the FCC can now play an active role.

Of course, the big internet providers are fighting back with a range of spurious claims which are just fig leaves covering their desire to throttle speed for sites not part of their stable or willing to pay premium prices to get faster connections to their customers. The big providers want to either profit from their own services to the detriment of your ability to access other sites and/or charge you higher fees.

Just this month, the U.S. Trade Representative was directed to increase tariffs on $18 billion in Chinese imports to protect American workers and businesses from unfair trade practices.

The Biden-Harris administration is working for all Americans to ensure that the services we need are available and compensated fairly. Trump has made it very clear that fairness takes a back seat to profits, especially for those who pay his legal fees. In November the choice is clear: we can have safe, adequate care for our aging loved ones; wide access to the resources on the internet; and protection from unfair trade practices, or we can let the wealthy vultures profit off our carcasses.

For more information on the activities of the Kendall County Democratic Party and how to get involved, call our office at 830-331-1243 or visit

JC Dufresne is a local Democrat. Laura Bray contributed to this column.

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