Health and Poverty News
"This week, the San Francisco Public Health Department launched 'Healthy Hearts SF,' a federally funded campaign designed to promote free fitness opportunities for those who find that gym memberships or sports classes are outside of their budget. Healthy Hearts aims to get low-income San Francisco residents, particularly African Americans and Latinos, to take advantage of public parks and free fitness classes to broaden access to fitness for the entire community."
"Low-income teenagers will be able to access birth control and women’s health services through a revamped state program in July 2016. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission plans to combine the Texas Women’s Health Program and the Expanded Primary Health Care program into one new program called Healthy Texas Women, and will expand access to teenagers aged 15 and up for the first time."
"Low-income children are particularly at risk of BPA exposure because they are more likely to eat federally funded meals instead of bringing lunch from home. Increasingly, students are eating not only lunch but also breakfast and sometimes dinner at school, exposing students to potentially dangerous levels of BPA."
"Even Medicaid is out of reach for some of Missouri’s poorest children, who are uninsured at a rate 2.5 times as high as their counterparts in Illinois. Being uninsured can limit a child’s access to health care or wreak havoc on a family’s finances in the case of an emergency."
"Analyzing the data collected from the NHNES in 2011-2012 — a cross-sectional survey designed to monitor the heath and nutritional status of the U.S. population — the CDC reported 'no significant difference was seen by poverty status in the average daily percentage of calories consumed from fast food among children and adolescents aged 2 to 19.' Similarly, 'the average daily percentage of calories consumed from fast food did not vary significantly by weight status.' As The Atlantic first put it, the level of fast food consumption based on poverty and weight status was 'pretty even.'"
"Seniors managing chronic health conditions or experiencing an age-related decline in physical or cognitive functioning may need long-term services and supports (LTSS) to complete daily self-care activities (such as eating, bathing or dressing) or household activities (such as preparing meals or doing laundry)."
"New census data released today on poverty and health care measures for 2014 provide indisputable proof that the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, is working to improve access to health care across the country. Since these new data only cover 2014, they do not include the full second open enrollment period of the ACA’s marketplaces and thus understate the full impact of the ACA. As evident from the recently released National Health Interview Survey, however, the national uninsured rate had dropped by about one-third to a historic low of 9.2 percent as of early 2015, with 15.8 million people gaining coverage since the ACA’s marketplaces opened in late 2013."
" The number of people without health insurance dropped last year by 8.8 million, to a total of 33 million, but there was no statistically significant change in income for the typical American household, the Obama administration said Wednesday."
"Before Obamacare, most uninsured Americans were poor or near-poor, so it’s not surprising that Americans with the lowest incomes benefited the most from the insurance coverage expansion. The law made Medicaid available to low-income people in many states and offered highly subsidized coverage to people buying private plans who earned just above the poverty line."
"The nation’s two largest public insurance programs also expanded last year, with Medicaid coverage for low-income people growing more rapidly than Medicare, the federal program for older Americans. As a result of a legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that each state had the latitude to decide whether or not to expand the program to fold in people with slightly higher incomes than most states had allowed in the past."
"The number of people with health savings accounts has ballooned, but higher-income families are much more likely to fund the accounts, a new analysis found. The number of health savings accounts, or HSAs, has been growing by about 1 million a year, reaching more than 6.5 million in 2012, according to research published last week in the journal Health Affairs. The analysis covered eight years, though the accounts have been around for more than a decade."
"Discussion in policy and political circles very often focuses on income inequality, and in particular, the growing disparity in incomes between the top 1 percent and everyone else. Unfortunately, a focus on inequality can shift our focus away from the poor to the wealthy. In a new book titled $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, authors Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer focus our attention front and center on the poor. The inequality they highlight is between the working poor and the non-working poor. The distinction is meaningful and provides an interesting insight into how policies aimed at encouraging low income families to enter the labor market have left those unable to find work on the sidelines."
"After a heart attack, black patients typically don’t live as long as whites – a racial difference that is starkest among the affluent – according to a new U.S. study. Researchers evaluated data on more than 132,000 white heart attack patients and almost 9,000 black patients covered by Medicare, the government health program for the elderly and disabled."
"The National School Lunch program provides free or reduced-cost meals to over 30 million children each day and the School Breakfast program to 13.5 million children. In 2014, the federal government spent over $15 billion feeding low-income children at school. Often overlooked as a safety net program, government-supported school meals free up resources in poor households for other expenses. In 2013, the school lunch program lifted almost 1.5 million people out of poverty."
"Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature passed a bill approved by Gov. Jay Nixon in 2014 that would provide health insurance to pregnant women who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to pay for a private health plan. But more than a year later, the Show-Me Healthy Babies program has failed to get off the ground."
"The Ryan-White HIV/AIDs program (RWHAP) was initiated in 1990 to help low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals gain access to high-quality HIV care, treatment and supports. They provide access to outpatient medical care, HIV treatment medications, antiretroviral therapy adherence support, as well as non-medical assistance with food, housing, transportation, mental health services and risk reduction counseling."
"California’s low-income, black and disabled students are more likely to miss school frequently, which can be linked to future achievement gaps and dropout rates, according to a report released Monday. The national report by Attendance Works found that chronic absenteeism is often the result of a student’s health problems, such as asthma, and absenteeism is often as prevalent among young children as it is among teenagers. At least 10 percent of kindergartners and 1st graders miss nearly a month of class in a school year, according to the report."
"Before the Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was the second-lowest-ranked district in the second-lowest-ranked state in the country. In 2005, 62 percent of students were failing, according to district records. Simmons' story represents that of many students who might not have succeeded to the same degree without the post-Katrina education system changes, experts point out. For Simmons, that meant attending a charter school, where she said her teachers pushed her even more once they found out about her compromising situation."
"We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Community Health Centers. What began as a modest demonstration program in the mid-1960s has evolved 50 years later into the largest and most successful primary health care system in the country."
"The reality, however, was substantially different. Rose sold everything to Access Funding — 420 monthly lead checks between 2017 and 2052. They amounted to a total of nearly $574,000 and had a present value of roughly $338,000. In return, Access Funding paid her less than $63,000."
"The fruits and vegetables are normally an expensive indulgence in the Southwest Washington neighborhood surrounding the center, but at Martha’s Table’s summer markets, they are free. It is the longtime D.C. charity’s latest initiative to provide low-income families with a bevy of produce and meal ideas, offered up with a casual farmers market feel, picking out veggies while music plays in the warm breeze."
"This summer's deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the South Bronx was described by one politician here as an 'unfortunate perfect storm' — invisible clouds of contaminated mist from commercial cooling towers swirling down into one of this city's poorest areas, whose population already struggles with health problems associated with poverty. The result: the worst outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in New York state history — 115 cases and 12 deaths since the middle of July. No one was prepared for the ferociousness with which the disease struck the South Bronx."
"Unfortunately, misdiagnosis happens more often when the pediatric patient is black, Hispanic or low-income, according to a study published today in PLOS ONE led by Park and Stanford medical student Louise Wang."
"Medicare turned 50 at the end of last month and has proven to be a popular and indispensable component of the social safety net. Still, like any 50-year-old, the program needs to learn some new tricks to bring it more comfortably into the modern age, where budget pressures, rising health costs and equitable access to quality care must be addressed. Specifically, Medicare’s reliance on the fee-for-service model has contributed to rising budgetary pressures. Considerable research has shown that fee-for-service plans are one way our system incentivizes quantity of treatment over quality."
"Green classrooms, incorporated into high school curricula, have sprouted nationwide to educate teenagers about nutrition and include them in community gardening. Participating students invest their time and energy in providing their neighborhoods with ready access to healthy and affordable food. As a result, they may also improve academic performance and engagement at school and pass on their knowledge and habits to their families."