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Michael Bloomberg: Pres. Biden needs to ‘stand up’ to teachers unions

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Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday called on President Joe Biden to “stand up” to teachers unions, as states and cities across the country try to move toward reopening schools while many teachers refuse to teach in person until they start receiving vaccines in large numbers.

“It’s time for Joe Biden to stand up and to say, the kids are the most important things, important players here,” Bloomberg said in a Wednesday interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle. “And the teachers just are going to have to suck it up and stand up and provide an education.”

“What we’re doing to poor kids is a disgrace,” the billionaire philanthropist also said. “These poor kids are not in school, they will never recover from this—and they had a bad education experience anyways. We have not had good schools for poor kids and this now is just so much worse.”

“Teachers say, ‘Well, I don’t want to go back because it’s dangerous,’” he added. “We have a lot of city and state and federal employees who run risks, that’s part of the job. You run risks to help America, to help your state, to help your city, to help your family and there’s just no reason not to have the schools open.”

Further, the former 2020 Democratic candidate for president blasted virtual schooling, calling it “a joke—worse than a joke.”

“Poor people don’t have iPads, they don’t have WiFi, they don’t have somebody at home to sit during the day and force the child to pay attention and without that, the virtual learning just does not exist,” he said.

“The president has to stand up to the unions,” Bloomberg added.

On Wednesday the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, told reporters that there “is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated.”

RELATED: CDC Director: Vaccinating teachers ‘not a prerequisite’ for safely reopening schools

Last week, Bloomberg wrote an opinion piece for Bloomberg Opinion citing CDC data that found a scant spread of COVID-19 within schools and said that data “should send a clear message to governors, mayors and teachers union leaders: It’s time to open the schools.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Healthcare

CA to provide all low-income illegal immigrants health care at a cost of ‘$2.7 billion a year’

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On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget “that pledges to make all low-income adults eligible for the state’s Medicaid program by 2024 regardless of their immigration status” reports the Associated Press.

The guarantee of free health care for low-income immigrants here illegally, is a “move that will provide coverage for an additional 764,000 people at an eventual cost of about $2.7 billion a year” adds the AP.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care nonprofit, people living in the country illegally in 2020 accounted for roughly 7% of the population nationwide, or about 22.1 million people. The border crisis and number of migrants entering the United States illegally has skyrocketed to historic levels since 2020 when President Joe Biden took office.

Medicaid nationwide is the current combination of federal and state governments assisting Americans and low-income adults and children to receive free health care, but the federal government does not cover those living here illegally.

“Some states, including California, have used their own tax dollars to cover a portion of health care expenses for some low-income immigrants” reports the AP. “Now, California wants to be the first to do that for everyone.”

“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer health care advocacy group. “In California we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”

While 92% of Californians currently have some form of health insurance, “that will change once this budget is fully implemented, as adults living in the country illegally make up one of the largest groups of people without insurance in the state” the AP concludes.

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