Health and Poverty News
"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."
"The City of Minneapolis will be ridding 280 low-income homes of lead-based paint and other hazards thanks to a $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The city says the funds will be focused on homes with children under 6 who already have been lead poisoned."
"A new Kaiser Family Foundation survey reports that health-insurance premiums rose by a 'modest' 3% in 2013. Even more modest, however, was the 2.3% growth of workers’ earnings last year. These figures merely illustrate a long-term trend of rising health costs eating away at wages. The real story is even more dramatic: Government data show that health costs are the biggest driver of income inequality in America today."
"A new study released by the Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita has found specific barriers preventing Wichitans in three ZIP codes from buying healthier foods. Last year, the coalition discovered 44 square miles in Wichita considered food deserts — areas where low-income residents have little to no access to healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and who live more than a mile from a full-service grocery store."
"In a preliminary trial, an interactive website developed in England called StopAdvisor was found to be especially helpful to low-income people in quitting smoking. Health researchers worry that people with low income or low education levels may be left out when it comes to digital innovations in health and wellness, but in this study, poorer participants benefited even more from the online tool than wealthier ones."
"Despite the tiny fact that purchasing alcohol with welfare money is illegal in Colorado, nearly $500,000 in taxpayer money was used in liquor stores across the state over the past two years."
"The unemployment rate fell below 6 percent for the first time since July 2008, but people are still struggling. They're either dropping out of the labor force or can only get a part-time job. Here's an interesting trend. That share of the population, what's known as the U6 rate, tracks pretty closely with the share of Americans who receive food assistance through the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP."
"Rauner's words mark the first time he has publicly staked out that position after sidestepping the question of a possible rollback of the state's Medicaid expansion during a joint appearance in March with U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and at a Chicago Tribune editorial board meeting a month earlier. The new disclosure comes as President Barack Obama comes to the Chicago area Wednesday to help raise cash for Quinn, who enacted the 2013 expansion necessitated by the president's health-care reform."
"When Gov. John Kasich bucked his party to accept the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Ohio, the fight wasn't over. In a fraught political maneuver in 2013, the Ohio Controlling Board voted to accept about $2.6 billion from the federal government over 18 months to expand eligibility to low-income single adults and more parents."
"Gov. Gary Herbert isn't ready yet to announce a final deal has been reached with the federal government on his Healthy Utah alternative to Medicaid expansion, even though he's holding his annual health summit today. The governor will only be able to provide an update on the ongoing negotiations with the Obama administration in his opening address today to the fourth annual gathering to discuss health care reform."
"A year ago, hospitals worried that they’d lose money and have to cut staff or expenses because of the Affordable Care Act. The full results are not in yet, but in some areas, hospitals report seeing gains, not losses. For President Barack Obama’s administration, these gains, largely from hospitals seeing more patients who have health insurance, are part of the ACA’s good-news story."
"Enrollment in Medicaid is surging as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but the Obama administration and state officials have done little to ensure that new beneficiaries have access to doctors after they get their Medicaid cards, federal investigators say in a new report. The report, to be issued this week by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, says state standards for access to care vary widely and are rarely enforced. As a result, it says, Medicaid patients often find that they must wait for months or travel long distances to see a doctor."
"Six years after auditors discovered signs that some Texas orthodontists were putting unneeded braces on teeth of the state's poorest children, an army of lawyers is battling over who is liable for one of the biggest instances of Medicaid abuse in recent history. The state's estimate for how much was spent between 2007 and 2012 on Medicaid dental and orthodontic services that were medically unnecessary, improperly documented or not provided at all has climbed to $823 million."
"Medicaid-focused managed-care firm Centene is having its moment as states turn over Medicaid patients to managed-care firms. St. Louis-based Centene has been expanding in Florida and Mississippi, and may get a lot bigger in Illinois next year. It already gets a big slice of Medicaid business from Texas. And Texas will likely hand over more business to Centene next year for a new pilot program for low-income "dual eligibles" -- those on Medicare and Medicaid."
"According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 128,531 Montanans were in the SNAP program last year. A family of two must earn less than 11,293 monthly to qualify. There's no comprehensive data to show how many college students struggle with food insecurity. An increasing body of anecdotal and numeric evidence, however, suggests that it is becoming a more pressing problem. A study conducted by Oregon State University researchers in 2011 found 59 percent of OSU students interviewed went hungry at some point the year prior."