Health and Poverty News
"A top federal official says the state of Florida can likely expect $1 billion in the budget year that begins July 1 for a key health-care program known as the Low Income Pool, according to a letter dated Thursday. That would amount to about half of the amount the state currently receives."
"Lately, it's become clear that in many neighborhoods and towns across the U.S., it's far too difficult to find fresh, healthy and affordable food. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that it had identified more than 6,500 food deserts in rural and urban areas."
"Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, governors and state legislators in Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and Kansas have been acutely aware of the need to expand Medicaid coverage or risk leaving their citizens in the coverage gap, losing state jobs, and hurting local economies."
"In March, 85 St. Cloud-area families and individuals signed up for dental care — not by calling their dentist but by calling Operation Grace MN. The free mobile dental care helps low-income patients overcome pain, but dental professionals say it's just a bandage at a time of low reimbursement rates for dental care under the Medical Assistance program."
"A congressional committee will hold a hearing on Gov. Rick Scott's showdown with the federal government over health-care funding, but that meeting could come too late to help close a potential $2.2 billion hole in the state budget."
"Facing a state budget crisis, Gov. Rick Scott persuaded Republican allies in Congress on Tuesday to try to force the Obama administration to help Florida cover low-income families without expanding Medicaid."
"Researchers at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH) published a study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine showing that people who moved to a more socioeconomically deprived neighborhood gained weight after their move. Based on the results, the team, led by Tiffany M. Powell-Wiley, has suggested that more immediate grassroots community-based public health initiatives ought to be considered."
"As we heard from Jeff, millions of Americans could be left scrambling if the Supreme Court decides their health insurance subsidies are illegal. These policyholders live in some three dozen states in which the federal government runs the healthcare exchange, not the state."
"As the debate over the cost of prescription drugs accelerates, the World Health Organization has added several treatments for cancer and hepatitis C to its list of so-called essential medicines, which the agency believes should be made available at affordable prices."
"The ACLU and LIHI say they're worried the new rule would be used disproportionately against homeless people because they often have nowhere else to go and because it will be enforced mostly in downtown parks, where there are more homeless people than in most other city parks. The homeless advocacy group Real Change has also come out against the ban."
"The Obama administration rebuffed Florida's Gov. Rick Scott's proposal to extend federal funds for hospitals that treat the uninsured, increasing the pressure on states that have refused to expand coverage for low-income people under the president's health care law."
"Philadelphia is well-known as medicine central, with one of the nation's highest concentrations of hospitals and specialists. But a new University of Pennsylvania study finds that in health care, as in so many other realms that intersect with economics, there are two Philadelphias."
"Setting off for Washington, D.C., to meet with federal officials over health-care money at the heart of a state budget crisis, Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday flatly ruled out a Senate plan to extend private insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of lower-income Floridians."
"An intervention to connect low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to a reliable source of primary health care shows promise for reducing avoidable use of hospital emergency departments in Maryland. A University of Maryland School of Public Health study evaluating the results of the intervention was published this week in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs."
"How many know that WIC served an average of 159,525 Hoosiers each month in 2013? Or that during that year, more than 46 percent of live births in Tippecanoe County were to mothers participating in the WIC program?"
"Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $3 million has been allocated to the Cooling Assistance Component of the Home Energy Assistance Program to help low-income New Yorkers who suffer from medical conditions aggravated by extreme heat. The program will provide air conditioning units to eligible households for the summer months. Prolonged exposure to high indoor temperatures poses health risks that disproportionately affect those already suffering from medical ailments."
"Gov. Rick Scott filed a lawsuit in federal court in Pensacola on Tuesday seeking declaratory relief that the Obama Administration violated the U.S. Constitution by withholding supplemental Medicaid funding from the state in the form of Low Income Pool dollars."
"President Barack Obama's administration is dialing up the pressure on four states that have resisted expanding Medicaid coverage for their low-income residents under the federal health care overhaul."
"The difference between right and wrong in the Florida Legislature is as obvious as light and darkness. Senators met in the sunshine Tuesday to discuss the considerable benefits of accepting federal Medicaid expansion money and revamping payments to hospitals for treating the uninsured. House Republicans met in secret and were asked to trust their leadership's rigid opposition to providing health coverage to low-income Floridians. It's hard to meet in public when your position is financially and morally irresponsible."
"The head of UF Health in Jacksonville painted a dire picture Tuesday of the future of his hospital without the pool of money that helps cover the cost of uninsured adults' unpaid bills. 'If I lose it, I'll close in a few months,' UF Health Jacksonville Chief Executive Officer Russell Armistead told the Florida Senate about the pot of money known as the low-income pool (LIP)."
"By rejecting an expansion of Medicaid, the House of Representatives is standing guard over a broken system that forces you to pay twice to care for the working poor:"
"An estimated 850,000 uninsured Floridians would be newly eligible for coverage under the plan, though they would be required to work or to attend school, and to pay monthly premiums.
But House leaders and Gov. Rick Scott oppose any Medicaid expansion because they say they don’t trust the federal government to keep its promise to pay for covering more Floridians. Other states have overcome political opposition to Medicaid expansion and adopted plans to bring government-subsidized coverage to more of their low-income residents: 28 states and the District of Columbia, as of April. Expansion is under discussion in Missouri, Montana, Utah, Alaska and Tennessee."
"Scott is pointing to the state’s loss of federal money for safety net hospitals called the Low Income Pool. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made it crystal clear in February 2015 that some $1.3 billion in Florida’s LIP funding won’t be renewed after June 30. That left a billion-dollar hole in Scott’s proposed budget, which assumed that LIP money would be available. And on Thursday Scott announced he was suing the federal government for allegedly coercing Florida to expand Medicaid."
"A new study led by researchers at MIT and Harvard University offers another dimension to this so-called 'achievement gap': After imaging the brains of high- and low-income students, they found that the higher-income students had thicker brain cortex in areas associated with visual perception and knowledge accumulation. Furthermore, these differences also correlated with one measure of academic achievement—performance on standardized tests."
"In the latest escalation of a complicated standoff between the federal government and the state, Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday he will sue federal officials for tying funding for some hospitals and other health-care providers to Medicaid expansion."