Health and Poverty News
"A bill that would provide meals for low-income students on days schools are shut down over winter weather was vetoed by Mayor Vincent Gray over concerns about funding and endangering children, leaving one Councilmember who created the legislation 'baffled.'"
"Millions of low-income children are failing to get the free preventive exams and screenings guaranteed by Medicaid and the Obama administration is not doing enough to fix the problem, according to a federal watchdog report. The report, released Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG), says the administration has boosted rates of participation but needs to do more to ensure that children get the regular wellness exams, dental checkups and vision and hearing tests."
"More than a third of hospitalization costs in 13 low-income New Jersey communities are associated with behavioral health conditions, including mental health disorders and substance use, accounting for $880 million in annual inpatient costs, according to a new Rutgers study."
"As promised, Gov. Steve Bullock Monday unveiled his plan to make another run at asking the Legislature to accept millions in federal dollars to provide health coverage for 70,000 low-income Montanans. The governor’s plan, revealed as part of his proposed two-year budget, would accept federal money to expand Medicaid, the state-federal program that pays medical bills for the poor."
"However, it doesn't do a good job of steering you toward silver-level plans, which are the only ones eligible for Cost Sharing Reduction. For example, I shopped for a plan for a low-income family of three in Missouri, and the cost of the cheapest bronze plan was $0. The cost of the cheapest silver plan was $90 per month. That's an extra $1,000 per year, and a lot of low-income families will naturally gravitate toward the cheaper plan, especially since it's the first one they see."
"Millions of low-income children are failing to get the free preventive exams and screenings guaranteed by Medicaid and the Obama administration is not doing enough to fix the problem, according to a federal watchdog report."
"The food stamp program, which more than doubled in size since the recession hit, has been hit with criticisms of excessive spending. But one new program is about to get a $100 million boost for recipients.
That's the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive, or FINI, which was approved in the 2014 Farm Bill. The FINI program, which is now accepting applications to fund new community-based programs through Dec. 15, plans on adding benefits to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, as a way to improve healthy eating for low-income Americans over the next five years."
"The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a new challenge to President Barack Obama's health care law — a case that threatens subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people afford their health insurance premiums."
"But WIC participation is declining, despite statistics that show demand has not diminished. According to the USDA, WIC enrollees have dropped 10.6 percent — about 512,000 users — between 2010 and May 2013. Conversely, participation in food stamp assistance — also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — has seen a major rise from 40.3 million participants in 2010 to 47.6 in 2013, a gain of 15.3 percent."
"Child hunger in America is often something you don't 'see' or suspect is close to you, but there we were in an affluent area I knew quite well, interviewing hungry kids who live just blocks away from million dollar homes. I realized for the first time, 'If child hunger can exist here, it can exist anywhere.'"
"Their new app — it’s also their first — QuickWIC, is for people enrolled in WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), which supplements the nutrition of pregnant women, nursing moms, and infants and children up to age five. Rather than focusing on the application process, as Easy Food Stamps does, QuickWIC is geared toward helping mothers already in the program to streamline and maximize WIC’s unique benefits."
"As the year draws to a close, women’s health advocates in Pennsylvania are concerned that the governor will allow a family planning program to lapse without ensuring that low-income residents can maintain uninterrupted access to their birth control. An estimated 90,000 women are currently at risk of losing the free reproductive health coverage they get through that special Medicaid program, which is set to expire on December 31."
"You can't learn what you can't see. That's the basic principle behind 'Vision to Learn,' a new campaign in Delaware to give low-income students free eye exams and glasses."
"Oak Hills High School students are raising awareness about hunger and homelessness, and taking action to help those in need in our community. Students are taking part in several projects this month to learn about hunger issues and homelessness and ways they can help."
"A Post-Dispatch analysis of enrollments on HealthCare.gov, the government’s online health insurance marketplace, shows where the campaign to expand coverage was successful, and where more work needs to be done when enrollment for 2015 begins on Nov. 15. The analysis, which looked at private plan enrollments by zip code in Missouri and Illinois, indicates that urban and suburban areas had higher rates of marketplace sign-ups than rural locations."
"One of two health insurers providing coverage to low-income Iowa residents through a state program is withdrawing its services. The Iowa Department of Human Services announced Friday that CoOportunity Health will soon no longer be an insurance option for those enrolled the Iowa Health and Wellness Program, the modified Medicaid expansion offered as part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul."
"About 650 schools throughout the state are opting into a program to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students. It is part of a new program called Community Eligibility Provision, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The idea is to allow schools with high percentages of low-income children to offer free meals for all, instead of collecting individual applications for free and reduced price meals."
"And for almost two years now, they’ve spent their Saturday mornings making sure residents across the B-3 district of Mattapan do not go without the staff of life … or muffins, or coffee rolls, or cookies for their kids."
"Today, North Carolina ranks among the worst states for food insecurity. According to a 2014 Hunger in America Study, almost 20 percent of children in North Carolina under the age of 18 live in food insecure environments. And of North Carolina households receiving food assistance, 81 percent report that they don’t know where their next meal will come from. Part of the problem appears to be getting food to children. In a recent Hunger Research report by the UNC School of Government, 71 percent of eligible children receive free and reduced price school lunch while only 34 percent of eligible children get free and reduced price breakfast."
"More than one in three low-income seniors, or 41 percent, has already gone without medical or dental care because of high energy bills, according to a survey included in a newly released report. And things will only get worse for seniors, says the 60 Plus Association, as states scramble to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's carbon-reduction rules."
"Expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to millions of low-income adults has been controversial. However, little is known what these Americans themselves think about Medicaid. A new study, recently released as a Web First by Health Affairs, surveyed nearly 3,000 low-income adults in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Texas (states that have adopted different approaches for Medicaid expansion)."
"Low-income adults in the United States are strong supporters of Medicaid expansion, new research shows. They also view coverage provided by Medicaid -- the publicly funded insurance program for the poor -- as equal to or better than private health insurance, the study from the Harvard School of Public Health revealed."
"Southeast Louisiana legal services has a 98 percent success rate in getting those benefits for clients like Shepherd, so that they can get the housing and medical care they need. The free legal help clinic is just one of the agencies in the city working to end chronic homelessness."
"The number of state low-income children eating breakfast at school jumped 55 percent in the past four years, according to an annual report released Tuesday by Advocates for Children of New Jersey. Nearly all major urban school districts now serve breakfast 'after the bell,' according to Nancy Parello, spokeswoman for the nonprofit."
"Groups supporting low-income Mississippi residents said Tuesday that elected officials are ignoring 300,000 people and refusing billions of federal dollars by choosing not to expand Medicaid in one of the poorest states in the nation. If the state were to extend Medicaid, as allowed under the health overhaul that President Barack Obama signed into law, many low-wage workers could receive coverage that would enable them to afford doctors' visits, prescriptions and medical supplies, said Roy Mitchell of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program."