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President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Meeting Basic Human Needs: Consensus Questions
Primary Elections Study - Board of Education
Primary Elections Study - Presidential
Board Notes
Honolulu Waterfront
Running to Win
December Meeting
Vote Count
YWCA Brownbaggers

Meeting Basic Human Needs:
Consensus Questions


(Please study the consensus questions and prepare to discuss these at the Consensus Meeting on January 16. Bring questions and definitions to the meeting.)

1. The LWV supports the right of all persons in the United States who are unable to work, whose earnings are inadequate or for whom jobs are not available to have an income and/or services adequate to meet their basic needs for food and shelter.

agree disagree no consensus

2. (a) Should the above statement on basic human needs be expanded to include access to health care?

yes No no consensus

Regardless of how you respond to Question 2(a), please be sure to answer Question 2(b).

2. (b) Which of the following health services, in any, should be excluded from the "access to health care" definition in question 2(a)?

preventive care

nutrition programs

primary care

substance-abuse programs

maternal and child health care

health education programs
emergency care sex education programs
catastrophic care mental health care
nursing-home care other

3. (a) Indicate how you would apportion financial responsibility for meeting each of the basic human needs listed below. Use the letter "A," "B," "C," or "D" for your response.

A = All (100% responsibility) B = Primary (50% or more responsibility)

C = Secondary (less than 50% responsibility) D = No responsibility






health care




income assistance


3.(b) Regardless of where financial responsibility lies with respect to the above, do you agree that it is the responsibility of the federal government to set minimum standards and/or guidelines for assistance programs?

agree disagree no consensus

4. Which of the following methods should be used to prevent or reduce poverty? (Check as many as your League feels appropriate.)

increasing job opportunities

increasing the minimum wage

expanding coverage of the minimum wage

providing access to health insurance, i.e., expanding subsidized health care. creating risk pools for the employed uninsured, etc.

providing support services, e.g., child care, transportation or subsidized health care

providing opportunities and/or incentives for basic or remedial education and/or job training

providing opportunities for higher education

requiring income assistance recipients to work, attend school or participate in job training programs in exchange for benefits

providing programs designed to decrease teen pregnancy

enforcing child-support laws

other (specify) no consensus

5. If mandatory obligations are imposed on recipients of assistance, such a policy should include: (check as many as your League feels appropriate).

exemptions for primary care givers (i.e., persons caring for young children, the elderly or the disabled)

equitable compensation (not below existing wages for similar work)

disregard of some earned income for the purpose of calculating benefit levels

job training basic education

the promotion of self-sufficiency, the goal of which is becoming independent of the welfare system in a reasonable amount of time

retention of supplemental support services (i.e., health care, subsidized child care, etc.)

none of the above

other (specify) no consensus


The phrase "whose earnings are inadequate" means that an individual cannot purchase sufficient basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter.

"Services" refers to such things as food stamps, low-income housing subsidies, Medicaid, low-income weatherization programs, subsidized child care, etc.

"Shelter" includes both permanent and emergency housing for individuals and families and for people with special needs, such as the deinstitutionalized or the handicapped.

Access to health care: The ability to obtain necessary medical treatment when needed. Includes both the affordability and accessibility of medical care.

Medically indigent: Those individuals who cannot afford to pay for medical care, either because they are uninsured or underinsured and are not eligible for Medicaid.

Preventive care: Well-baby visits, vaccinations, routine physicals, and routine screening tests such as mammagraphy.

Primary care: Medical care for chronic illness as well as sudden accidents or illnesses. Maternal and child health care: Prenatal and postnatal care; can include well-baby visits.

Catastrophic care: Treatment for illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, or other chronic illnesses, transplants or accidents that require costly long-term care. It may include the cost of long-term, at-home care.

Nutrition programs: Programs designed to help people meet their nutritional needs. Includes the WIC program (Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Food Program for low-income families.)

Mental health care: Includes both out-patient and in-patient care.

Increasing job opportunities: This can include government efforts to stimulate the economy, to provide jobs for people who cannot find jobs in the private sector or to offer incentives to employers who hire welfare recipients.

Increasing the minimum wage: The minimum wage ($3.35/hour) was last raised in 1978. There are more than 7 million people who work full-time year-round at the minimum wage and mil-lions of others who work part time. The annual gross salary for two-full-time workers at the minimum wage ($13,936) is barely above the poverty level for a family of four. ($11,209). Many minimum-wage jobs do not include benefits such as health insurance.

Expanding coverage of the minimum wage: More than nine out of ten workers are covered by the minimum wage law, but farm laborers, traveling salespeople and fishing-boat crews are among those not fully covered. Remember too, that the minimum wage for waiters and wait-tresses is less than $3.35/hour (because of tips).

Providing access to health insurance: approximately 75% of the 38 million people who lack medical insurance or are underinsured are employed or live in a family with an employed person. Proposals for increasing health insurance include federal legislation requiring employers to provide health insurance, the creation of insurance pools at the state level for the uninsurable, the expansion of Medicare, Medicaid or other forms of government-subsidized health insurance.

Providing support services: Studies indicate that the average cost of child care for a pre-schooler is S3,000 a year - a cost well beyond most new entrants into the labor force. Proposals for welfare reform recognize that the prohibitive costs of child care and medical care may inhibit people from getting off public assistance. Therefore, many proposals are calling for transitional services, such as subsidized child care, medical subsidies, and transportation subsidies for those making the transition from welfare-to-work. These proposals however, all ignore those people who are currently working but are living at or near the poverty level and cannot afford medical care or child care.

Providing opportunities and/or incentives for basic or remedial education and/or job training: Providing opportunities for job training or remedial education can be done through the expansion of programs already in existence -- i.e., vocational education programs and the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) -- or through new programs. Incentives include such things as allowing welfare recipients to retain part of their welfare benefits when they first return to work or stipends for education and training programs.

Providing opportunities for higher education: This may include providing subsidized higher education (post-secondary) or allowing students attending college or vocational school to receive income assistance, food stamps or other assistance if needed and if the recipient meets the other program requirements.

Requiring income assistance recipients to work in exchange for benefits: This refers to a variety of programs, generically known as "workfare." Under most workfare programs, in-come assistance recipients work or participate in job training in order to continue receiving their benefits. Failure to comply may result in a loss or reduction in benefits. The current LWVUS Income Assistance position opposes linking mandatory work programs to income assistance.

Providing programs designed to decrease teen pregnancy: This includes a whole range of services and programs from counseling to birth control clinics to sex-education classes.

Exemptions for primary caregivers: Individuals who have primary responsibility for children and/or elderly or disabled persons. "Young children" essentially means preschool age children.

Disregard of some earned income: Welfare recipients who go to work will be allowed to disregard a certain amount of their income for purposes of calculating their welfare grant for a transitional period of time while they become established at their jobs.

Job training: Welfare recipients would have the option of entering a job training program while continuing to receive their benefits.

The promotion of self-sufficiency: Mandatory programs would be designed so that those participants who can provide for their own needs will eventually be able to. Programs would be sufficiently flexible to take into account individual needs for education, job training or employment. Programs would be supportive, not punitive, and provide options.

Retention of supplemental support services: Welfare recipients who receive food stamps, subsidized child care and/or medical assistance, would continue to receive these benefits during a transitional period (usually 12-18 months), once they have a job.

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