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John Bouman
John Bouman was named president of the Shriver Center effective January 1, 2007. He also remains the Shriver Center's director of advocacy, his position since 1996. He joined the Shriver Center in May 1996 after twenty-one years at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, where he supervised public benefits issues and policy advocacy from 1985. Prior to that, he provided multi-issue direct representation in several Chicago neighborhoods for nine years and held a position as a specialist in the foundation's Elderly Law Project. He has won numerous awards for his career and accomplishments in antipoverty legal and advocacy work. He is recognized for being one of the most effective and thoughtful public-benefit advocates in the country. He was a leader in the design and implementation of positive aspects of Illinois's new welfare law in 1997. Recently he led the successful statewide effort to create the FamilyCare program to provide health care insurance to up to 300,000 working poor parents of minor children, and he was a leader in the successful advocacy to create All Kids, the first state program of universal coverage for children. Bouman is lead counsel in Memisovski v. Maram, a successful case establishing substantial reforms in children's health care in Illinois. He is a founding and current member of the steering committee of the National Transitional Jobs Network. He is a frequent lecturer and trainer on a variety of social policy, advocacy, and lawyering subjects. He is a 1975 graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law and member of the Chicago Council of Lawyers and the Chicago Bar Association.

Entries by John Bouman

The Fair Tax: Illinois Cannot Get "Out" Without It

(1) Comments | Posted April 14, 2016 | 6:45 PM

The "Fair Tax"--an income tax system under which people with higher incomes pay a higher tax rate and people with lower incomes pay a lower tax rate--is smart tax policy. This is the way that the federal personal income tax works, as well as how the state personal income tax...

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Time to End the Illinois Hostage Stand-Off

(4) Comments | Posted January 28, 2016 | 2:50 PM

Illinois’s former Governor Edgar had it right months ago. Edgar characterized current Governor Rauner’s refusal to negotiate a budget until he wins concessions on his ideological policy agenda as “hostage taking.”

Governor Rauner’s plan all along has been to force opponents to agree to his “Turnaround Agenda” before he...

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Remembering Dr. King -- Is There a Place for "Extremists"?

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 4:04 PM

Today, as we remember and honor one of our country’s leading exponents of activism in the fight for unity and equal opportunity, we also face ongoing divided government in Congress and in many parts of the country. These divisions have resulted in inactivity and a tedious inability to...

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State of the Union: An Agenda for Action on Poverty

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2014 | 4:17 PM

Income inequality, upward mobility (or the lack of it), minimum wage and income security, job creation, child care and early childhood education, a chance to attend and complete college, access to affordable comprehensive health care, the particular

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The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later, Do We Have the 'Glands?'

(0) Comments | Posted January 8, 2014 | 3:32 PM

There is a scene in the movie American Idealist an excellent biopic about Sargent Shriver, in which President Lyndon Johnson is trying to get Shriver to agree to lead the still-conceptual War on Poverty that the President had announced to the nation in his first State of the...

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NPR -- Addressing the Wrong Question About Disabilities

(8) Comments | Posted March 29, 2013 | 5:17 PM

Several recent NPR stories reported by Chana Joffe-Walt that originated on This American Life perpetuate stereotypes and misconceptions about disability and the country's main safety net programs that support people with disabilities. Many of these stories' mistakes and insinuations have been pointed out and refuted in...

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Children With Disabilities Need Support as Well as Education

(1) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 4:10 PM

Nicholas Kristof's recently published piece, "Profiting from a Child's Illiteracy," uses stories about child poverty in Kentucky to come to false conclusions about the SSI program, which provides crucial aid to help very low-income families handle the expensive realities of caring for children with disabilities.


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Election Bodes Well for People in Poverty

(1) Comments | Posted November 7, 2012 | 6:26 PM

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law's mission involves improving the quality of life and opportunities of people living in poverty. From that perspective, here are some initial thoughts on the presidential election.

Yes, as some have argued, it would be good to have a more...

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Affordable Care Act Trumps Recession's Impact on Health Insurance Coverage

(2) Comments | Posted September 18, 2012 | 2:00 PM

Amidst the mixed news about poverty and income in the Census Bureau's data released last week, came some positive news about health coverage and the impact of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) provisions that are already in effect.

Overall, the rate and number of people without insurance...

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The Affordable Care Act Upheld: Addressing America's Health Care Crisis

(1) Comments | Posted July 5, 2012 | 1:40 PM

The Supreme Court decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius means that the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land. As Chief Justice Roberts said in the majority opinion, Congress has the power to enact the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion, the two...

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Study Highlights Importance of Improved Medicaid Program

(3) Comments | Posted June 23, 2011 | 5:28 PM

On June 17, Dr. Karin Rhodes and her colleague Joanna Bisgaier of the University of Pennsylvania released a report on access to sub-specialty doctors by children covered by Medicaid in Cook County, Illinois. The authors also published an article about the study underlying the report in the

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Chairman Ryan's Deficit Reduction Proposal: Unwise, Unfair, and Not Deficit Reduction

(9) Comments | Posted April 7, 2011 | 1:36 PM

Co-authored by Dan Lesser, Director, Economic Security, Shriver Center.

The 10-year budget plan unveiled by Rep. Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, on behalf of the House Republicans this week is a departure from the recent Republican position of only being against things -...

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Extremist Florida Judge Sloppily Voids Entire Affordable Care Act

(3) Comments | Posted February 3, 2011 | 1:15 PM

The Social Security Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Minimum Wage Act were all landmark laws that changed our country for the better. They secured essential freedoms for all Americans and improved our quality of life. All were initially struck down by lower court judges...

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Americans Want Health Care Reform to Go Forward

(57) Comments | Posted November 16, 2010 | 2:03 PM

Some people are spinning hard about the outcome of the mid-term elections. They are trying to say that the changes in Congress were a "mandate" to repeal health care reform. As usual, most of those spinners have little to say about how to resolve health care issues -- for them...

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Questions About the Illinois Auditor General's Look at Covering All Kids Health Insurance

(3) Comments | Posted July 9, 2010 | 3:44 PM

This May the Illinois Auditor General released an audit of the Covering All Kids Insurance Act expansion population of the All Kids program, Illinois' comprehensive and affordable health insurance program for all uninsured children, which benefited over 1.67 million kids in 2009 and has garnered bipartisan support in...

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The Illinois Budget: An Embarrassing and Sad Spectacle

(13) Comments | Posted July 2, 2010 | 3:06 PM

Today Governor Quinn signed into law the bills that amount to the state budget for fiscal year 2011. These are the bills the General Assembly sent him, together with roughly half of the money needed to pay for them. The Governor made some alterations and revealed a host of decisions...

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