Health and Poverty News

Plain Dealer, August 26, 2014: Kasich urged to ease food stamp rules statewide

“Advocates for the poor on Monday called on Gov. John Kasich to reinstate the statewide waiver of work requirements to receive food stamp benefits. Participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can receive up to three months of food stamp benefits within three years. To continue receiving benefits, able-bodied adults without dependents must work or attend job training at least 20 hours per week.”

Redding Record Searchlight, August 26, 2014: Survey offers emerging profile of Redding's homeless (Subscription Only)

“A survey of Shasta County’s homeless population by police officers working side by side with social services is far from over, but a profile of the homeless camper is emerging. Two-months worth of data show two-thirds of the people interviewed either have a mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction. Half of those interviewed do not have a single source of income, posing one of the most significant challenges to securing housing. The majority are locals.”

Los Angeles Times, August 25, 2014: L.A. accuses Glendale Adventist of patient dumping on skid row

“Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer has filed a lawsuit accusing Glendale Adventist Medical Center of dumping mentally ill and disabled homeless patients on L.A.'s skid row over the last four years. The six-page complaint, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, said the hospital improperly transported elderly and dependent patients to the downtown Los Angeles neighborhood, a 50-block area ‘known for extreme poverty, homelessness, rampant sale and use of illegal drugs and violent crime.’”

The Washington Times, August 25, 2014: Medicaid payment woes plague Idaho mental health service providers

“The state's effort to rein in Medicaid costs has created deep friction between small businesses that deliver behavioral-health services to Medicaid patients and a new contractor hired to manage them. Service providers across Idaho have raised complaints over the last 11 months that the contractor, Optum Idaho, a unit of United Behavioral Health, has created red tape and cut services needed by at-risk patients. Now providers in the Treasure Valley have raised another complaint: Optum isn't paying them promptly, putting their businesses' survival and employees' jobs at risk. Optum says it has fixed a glitch that resulted in tiny claims payments to the companies, which provide counseling and other behavioral health services to low-income and disabled adults and children on Medicaid.”

The Boston Herald, August 25, 2014: (Op-Ed) Obama's team creates crisis after crisis

“A potentially game-ending crisis for our nation is the growing number of people dependent on welfare - now at epidemic levels. The Census Bureau reports that in 2012, nearly 110 million Americans lived in a household that received some sort of means-tested aid. A whopping 35 percent of our population is on welfare. These figures don't include Social Security, Medicare, unemployment or veterans benefits. It does include 82 million people on Medicaid, with an additional 9 million expected to enroll this year due to Obamacare. In 2000, there were only 17 million people with EBT cards. That's up to 51 million now - 300 percent larger. Then there are 22 million on WIC; 13 million in public housing; 20 million on supplemental security income; 5 million on temporary assistance for needy families; and 4 million with other forms of tax-funded assistance.”

The Daily Athenaeum, August 25, 2014: (Op-Ed) Food insecurity hitting hard on college campuses

“This year, more college students will experience food insecurity - the lack of ability to find or afford nutritious food - than ever before. This trend has much more serious consequences than you may think. A study published in the January 2014 edition of the "Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior" found that nearly 60 percent of students at a midsized university were threatened with food insecurity sometime during the previous year, and that figure is only expected to grow. In fact, college students are four times more likely to experience this concern when compared to all U.S. households, although this problem has received scarcely any attention targeted toward the college demographic.”

Winston-Salem Journal, August 25, 2014: (Editorial) We're still facing challenges of poverty and hunger

“The need for assistance with food is growing across the 18-county area served by the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC, according to a new study produced by Second Harvest and Feeding America, which showed that the organization and its affiliates are currently feeding nearly 300,000 individuals — or one in every six people living in Northwest North Carolina. This is higher than the national average of one in seven. Sixty-two percent of Second Harvest's partner programs report increases in the number of requests for food assistance.”

Post and Courier, August 25, 2014: New primary care program may benefit former inmates

“An estimated 9,000 inmates discharged from the South Carolina corrections system each year may soon benefit from a modified Medicaid program that would address some of their basic health care needs after they leave prison. Officials from the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the S.C. Department of Corrections recently discussed enrolling these adults into a new program upon their release called Healthy Connections Checkup, which provides primary care screenings and family-planning benefits for residents whose income falls below 194 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $22,600 a year for a single adult.”

The Oklahoman, August 25, 2014: Glitches delay Medicaid enrollment for former foster kids

“An estimated 2,300 former foster youth - these two examples included - are now eligible to remain on the state's Medicaid program until age 26. Some advocates are worried, however, that not enough former foster children are being enrolled into the program. That change in eligibility is thanks to a provision of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, that expanded the Medicaid program to allow young people who were in foster care when they turned 18 to remain on the state health insurance coverage plan until age 26.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal, August 25, 2014: Mobile health clinic provides care to homeless

“Just steps from the incident, the Touro University Nevada mobile health care clinic was parked — treating the down and out on the street of broken dreams. A few weeks ago, the college started the outreach program to provide medical care to people living on the streets. Students from Touro’s physician assistant studies program get on-the-job training providing basic medical needs. The team treats patients with medical problems that include rashes, colds and spider bites.”

Investor’s Business Daily, August 25, 2014: Government Dependency In U.S. Nears The Tipping Point

“New data on federal public assistance programs show we've reached an ignominious milestone: More than 100 million Americans are getting some form of ‘means-tested" welfare assistance. The Census Bureau found 51 million on food stamps at the end of 2012 and 83 million on Medicaid, with tens of millions of households getting both. Another 4 million were on unemployment insurance. The percentage of American households on welfare has reached 35%. If we include other forms of government assistance such as Medicare and Social Security, almost half of all households are getting a check or other form of government assistance.”

San Francisco Chronicle, August 24, 2014: Medi-Cal has booby trap for estates

“Many low-income Californians who became eligible for Medi-Cal, the state's version of Medicaid, under the Affordable Care Act were happy to get free health care. But for those 55 and older, it came with a booby trap. When they die, the state will attempt to recover anything it spent on their health care from their estates, including their home. This so-called estate recovery program has been a feature of Medi-Cal for many years, but the act allowed California to expand Medi-Cal coverage to a much larger group of people, including those with low incomes but unlimited assets. Some who are 55-plus are deeply concerned about asset recovery, because the rules are confusing and it's hard to know how much of their estate is at risk.”

Stillwater News Press, August 24, 2014: Tulsa mental health advocates will serve entire state

“MHA Oklahoma, based in Tulsa, is now the state’s most prominent nonprofit to focus on mental health services beyond the local level. The need is great: Oklahoma’s rate of mental illness ranks among the highest in the nation, and funding for health services is limited. In an interview with Oklahoma Watch, Brose discussed the association’s plans for expansion; efforts to help the homeless, teens and veterans, and how to prevent suicide.”

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, August 24, 2014: (Op-Ed) Treat root causes of homelessness

“Although all possible solutions for ending homelessness must be on the table, the premise that treating only the symptoms or simply moving the problem without dealing with the root causes is a disservice to those we desire to help. In order to end the cycle of homelessness and poverty permanently, we must engage in the hard work of supportive services and programs, including recovery, transformation, and restoration to productive citizenship, and it must be in agreement with those individuals who need it the most.”

Williamson Daily News, August 24, 2014: Mingo school system participating in new free meal project

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released data reporting high levels of food insecurity and hunger across the country. In West Virginia, nearly 14 percent of residents live in food insecure households and more than 88,500 children live below the poverty line. The CEP was enacted as a result of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and provides universal meal service to children in high poverty areas. This is the second year for the option. The CEP is an alternative to collecting, approving and verifying household eligibility applications for free and reduced price eligible students in high poverty Local Education Agencies (LEA). If at least 40 percent of a school’s students are directly certified for free meal benefits, the entire school qualifies for the option.”

Deseret News, August 23, 2014: Transit, health care discussions dominate poverty summit

“The metropolitan area can have as many buses as there are streets, but if the fares aren't affordable, the transit system isn't working. While Salt Lake City may boast it has top-ranked, quality health care in its stable of state-of-the-art hospitals, the system fails if people can't get treated due to financial hurdles. This paradox that exists for many low-income people dominated the discussion at the 11th annual Poverty Partnership Summit Saturday hosted at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark.”

The Spectrum, August 22, 2014: Health community pushes Healthy Utah Plan

“Utah’s top health official said Thursday he is optimistic about the prospects of gaining federal approval for a state-tailored private expansion of Medicaid, but some strides still need to be made. David Patton, director of the Utah Department of Health, met privately with elected officials and other community leaders during a visit to Washington County, part of a campaign to gather support for Gov. Gary Herbert’s Healthy Utah Plan, proposed as a compromised alternative to a full Medicaid expansion under the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act.”

The Boston Globe, August 20, 2014: Medicaid insurers prod state on funds; Tie costly drug, surge in members to a need for higher payments

“Buckling from more than $140 million in losses racked up since the start of the year, the companies that contract with the state to insure Medicaid patients are pressing the Patrick administration to boost health payments for low-income residents. The health insurers' losses are tied to a high-cost hepatitis C drug approved by federal regulators last December and a surge of nearly 190,000 new members, many with expensive medical needs, assigned by MassHealth, the state Medicaid program. State funding budgeted for the current year falls far short of covering these costs, the insurers say.”

Boston Business Journal, August 20, 2014: MassHealth insurers look to state, other markets to solve operating losses

“Health insurers that cover low-income residents are reacting in different ways to financial struggles brought on by the health care overhaul and expensive drugs, with some turning to new markets while others petition the state for help. Many insurers that cover Medicaid populations, and those that offer the fee-per-member model for Medicaid clients known as ‘Managed Medicaid,’ have seen drastic operating losses in the last several months.”

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 20, 2014: Fewer in state filing for U.S. disability aid (Subscription Only)

“Fewer low-income children and adults are filing for federal disability benefits in Arkansas this year, according to the state's Social Security disability determination agency. Physically or mentally disabled people up to age 64 who have little or no Social Security trust funds are eligible for Supplemental Security Income, SSI. Those approved for the federal program, which is funded through general tax revenue, are automatically enrolled in Medicaid. The 19 percent drop - from 17,497 first-time SSI applications to 14,160 applications from Oct. 1 to Tuesday - is the largest seen by the agency since 2006.”

The Washington Times, August 19, 2014: Chris Christie is lone GOP presidential prospect to expand Medicaid

“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare puts him alone among Republican governors vying for the 2016 presidential nomination, and could come back to haunt him among primary voters. Some of his potential rivals who are also governors have sought ways to leverage federal money, and others have spurned the Medicaid expansion altogether. Mr. Christie, however, embraced President Obama’s vision of expanding the federal-state health care program for the poor to those with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level.”

The Messenger-Inquirer, August 19, 2014: Uninsured adults fall in state

“Kentucky showed one of the largest drops in the percentage of uninsured adults since expanded Medicaid went into effect last January, according to a recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll. The latest state figures show that 512,000 Kentuckians were newly enrolled in health coverage, with nearly three-fourths of them qualifying under Medicaid expansion that happened as part of the Affordable Care Act. One-fourth purchased private insurance through the state-based marketplace, kynect.”

The Plain Dealer, August 19, 2014: Food stamp discrimination alleged in civil rights complaint brought against Ohio

“Advocates for the poor have filed a civil rights complaint against Ohio officials for failing to renew the state's food stamp waiver for all 88 Ohio counties, which resulted in thousands of Ohioans losing the federal benefits. In a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the advocacy groups argued the decision disproportionately hurt minority Ohioans.”

The Pitt News, August 19, 2014: What we must do to combat poverty

“The apparent disparity of income inequality among low- and high-income families in the United States is at an all-time high. Income inequality, or poverty to be exact, is one of the most deprecating issues hindering society and, for decades now, little has been done to reverse the trend. Programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and Supplemental Security Income are all directed to helping those in need, particularly those troubled by a serious gap in income, resources and education from their wealthier, more adept counterparts."

The Miami Herald, August 18, 2014: Pediatricians in Florida could see relief from low Medicaid payments

“After years of hearings and delays, the possible resolution this fall of a class-action lawsuit against Florida health and child-welfare officials could mean that physicians will at last receive what they consider to be adequate compensation for treating children of the poor. The lawsuit, filed in 2005 by pediatricians, dentists and nine children against the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Health, claimed that Florida violated federal law by providing inadequate Medicaid services to children, and that their care had been hampered by low Medicaid payments to doctors. A federal judge is expected to rule on the case in October.”