Health and Poverty News
"When you ask people what impacts health you'll get a lot of different answers: Access to good health care and preventative services, personal behavior, exposure to germs or pollution and stress. But if you dig a little deeper you'll find a clear dividing line, and it boils down to one word: money."
"Richard Reeves and Joanna Ventor of the Brookings Institution have a new paper out examining the impact income level has on unintended childbearing among single women.* They found that women have about the same amount of sex regardless of class, but poorer women are five times as likely to have unintended births than more affluent women. A huge chunk of the reason, they conclude, is because of the gap in abortion and contraception access."
"The potential loss of Low Income Pool dollars, and the lack of a plan to replace this program, will dramatically impact millions of individuals and families who are low income, among the working poor, as well as Medicare and Medicaid recipients throughout Florida. More than 1.1 million patients, who receive their health care from Federally Qualified Health Centers, could be affected most directly."
"About 150,000 low-income adults in Wisconsin might have to start paying premiums to keep their Badger-Care -- and they might have to pay more if they smoke, or engage in other risky behaviors. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau uncovered those proposals when it analyzed Governor Scott Walker's two-year, $68-billion budget package. It said the governor would need a federal Medicaid waiver to charge premiums for the first time to the lowest-income childless adults on Badger-Care Plus."
"Mothers with healthy pregnancies enroll in the course during their third trimester. Classes are timed with their child's checkups at the hospital, until age three. They touch on a variety of topics like the importance of breastfeeding, to teaching parents to recognize when their children are full."
"The potential loss of Low Income Pool (LIP) dollars, and the lack of a plan to replace this program, will have a dramatic impact on millions of individuals and families who are low income, among the working poor, as well as Medicare and Medicaid recipients throughout Florida. More than 1.1 million patients, who receive their health care from Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), could be affected most directly."
"Due to an unexpected federal policy reversal sought by advocates for nearly 10 years, schools could start billing Medicaid for health services such as asthma screenings, vaccinations and care for chronic diseases provided to some low-income students."
"The Obama administration announced this week that 11.4 million people signed up for health coverage during the most recent enrollment period, making it ever harder for critics who love to hate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to hate it. Despite its success, the threats against the ACA loom large, both in the form of the upcoming Supreme Court case challenging the subsidies that have made coverage affordable for so many Americans, and also in the recent healthcare proposal released by Senate Republicans. Both would be a significant step back for low-income families."
"While many children in low-income families began to get health coverage under the federal Medicaid program in 1965, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1997 increased the number of children with coverage. Eligibility was expanded even further in 2009 through a law signed by President Barack Obama, a year before he signed the broader Affordable Care Act into law."
"Despite new state and federal laws aimed at reining in aggressive collection practices, North Carolina's largest hospital system continues to file hundreds of lawsuits each year to collect on unpaid bills. Since 2013, nonprofit Carolinas HealthCare System has filed more than 2,700 bill-collection lawsuits against patients, state records show."
"The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released a study last week that analyzes how many students eat school breakfast nationwide by district and state. The findings show that through the 2103-2014 school year about 11.2 million low-income students ate their breakfast at school, a 320,000 child increase from FRAC’s previous study for the 2012-2013 school year."
"The CMS will not renew a Medicaid waiver in Florida expiring at the end of June that provides more than $1 billion a year to help the state's hospitals with uncompensated-care costs for low-income and uninsured patients. That may put additional pressure on Florida Republican leaders to consider expanding Medicaid to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act."
"One of America's crown jewels in enabling people to lift themselves out of poverty, the Federation Employment and Guidance Service (FEGS), which for generations enabled people with disabilities, immigrants and others at-risk, is closing its doors. It has 3,500 employees, 2,000 volunteers, 300 locations and an annual budget of $250 million. FEGS helps more than 12,000 people each day, and as many as 100,000 each year. Now leaders are working around the clock to find other agencies that can complete vital services so that those who are most vulnerable are not harmed."
"One in five kids relied on food stamps last year, yet nearly half of low-income children didn’t sit down to the most important meal of the day, according to a recent report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). The organization determined the figures by comparing the number of kids who partook in the free lunch program to those who took advantage of the gratis breakfast option, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture."
"In addition, providing extra time for enrollment would increase the number of people who received health insurance subsidies and thus had a personal stake in a Supreme Court case challenging payment of the subsidies in more than 30 states. The White House and its allies said that if the court ruled against the administration, it would cause hardship for many low-income people and chaos in insurance markets around the country. More than eight out of 10 people buying insurance through the public exchanges qualify for financial help."
"In Texas and nearly two dozen other conservative states that chose not to expand their Medicaid coverage under the federal health care overhaul, nonprofit groups and volunteer tax advisers are trying to help people avoid the penalty for not having insurance."
"Lower-income insurance shoppers can slash their share of healthcare costs to an average of $14 in co-payments when they visit their primary care doctors, and the percentage of costs they have to share for emergency room visits can be as low as 19%, according to a report out today from the Kaiser Family Foundation."
"The report found that efforts from the state's comprehensive community health centers and clinics to improve patient satisfaction paid off in a big way: In 2011, 48 percent of patients ranked the quality of their care as 'very good' or 'excellent,' and in 2014 the percentage jumped to 53 percent."
"A potential problem is brewing in Florida for Medicaid patients. State lawmakers recently discovered a gaping, billion-dollar hole in the budget to cover those costs. A budget deficit of $1.3 billion will be created if Florida's 'Low Income Pool' program is not extended."
"A new report shows 11 million low-income children from around the nation participate, on an average day, in free breakfast programs – but when it comes to reaching hungry kids New York is at the 'back of the bus.' The report from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) shows New York coming in at 40th among states. Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, says there is plenty of room for the state to do better, especially since breakfast programs are paid for with federal funding."
“The Randolph Hospital Community Health Foundation has awarded 18 health and wellness grants totaling $93,157, the largest amount ever awarded by the foundation in its 18 years of providing funding. […] $5,000 to The Dream Center of Randolph County, to build a walking track surrounding a playground for low-income families to have a safe place for children to play while adults are walking for exercise.”
“In Omaha, Nebraska, $297,500 was granted to 20 local agencies. Grants will fund a wide range of programs including health and human services for homeless and low-income families, after-school enrichment and arts programming for disadvantaged youth, and senior support services.”
"Most of the visits stem from the limited access to dental care for people who are covered by BadgerCare Plus, the state's largest Medicaid program, or for people who are uninsured. And advocates and dentists alike express little hope that the well-documented and longstanding problem will improve anytime soon."
"University of California researchers last week determined there are between 2.7 million and 3.4 million people without health insurance in California -- about 1.5 million of them undocumented. Using back-of-the-envelope math, roughly half the state's uninsured are undocumented and the other half are eligible for coverage and just not enrolled."
"In reports released in January by Florida Legal Services, a non-profit organization founded in 1973 to provide civil legal assistance to indigent persons who would not otherwise have the access to a lawyer, the state’s healthcare providers for low-income residents could lose $2 billion a year. The loss would come due to federal funding that is scheduled to end June 30. The funding reduction would particularly impact 'safety-net' hospitals, ones that provide the most charity aid."