Health and Poverty News
"Because of a wrinkle in the Affordable Care Act, Ramos made too little money to receive federal aid for buying private insurance — and too much to qualify for Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor. But she found a solution."
"In New York City, where one in seven people is a millionaire, more people than ever were left without food or a roof over their head during last night's snowstorm."
"ECHO was started by a group of downtown Tallahassee churches in 1981 to provide a central location to help families and individuals in desperate need of food and other assistance. Jon Hinkle, ECHO's warehouse manager, estimates the organization sees 10 to 12 people each day who need food."
"Sen. Charles Grassley is calling out nonprofit hospitals who are suing poor patients over unpaid bills and says they could be breaking the law, according to a report by ProPublica and NPR."
"A 2014 survey of 4,507 Americans by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 81 percent support paid sick leave legislation of the type Obama is proposing. The survey found majority support across all demographic and political groups, with even 70 percent of Republicans supporting such a law."
"U.S. student performance on international exams has fallen compared to other industrial nations in recent years, a fact policymakers and others often cite in arguing that U.S. public schools need rapid reform in order to maintain their global competitiveness.
But now two organizations are out with a new study that challenges that narrative by comparing the United States to eight other nations on a raft of socioeconomic measures. The upshot of the report is that the single-minded focus on test scores has led policymakers to overlook other important trends that affect U.S. public education, including high levels of economic inequality and social stress. Schools can’t be expected to solve these larger problems on their own, argue the study’s authors, the Horace Mann League and the National Superintendents Roundtable."
"The researchers found that as the children's family's annual income went down, the risk of having an emergency asthma attack increased. Also, children from very low income families had the highest risk of being diagnosed with asthma."
" But there is one that is proven, paid for, and possible for every child in this country and that is school breakfast. It's a federal entitlement for low income kids yet barely half of them receive it. It is exempt from sequestration's automatic budget cuts and enjoys a long track record of bipartisan support. A change as simple as moving breakfast from the cafeteria before school begins, to the classroom or "after the bell" enables us to reach many more children."
"Two women’s health groups along with a state resident on Tuesday filed a class action lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS), alleging that the department systematically delayed enrolling low-income women for comprehensive health coverage. The case, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Mackereth, alleges that 85,000 women are affected by the department’s delay."
"Nurse Family Partnership works like this: It pairs a low-income, first-time mother with a trained nurse, who counsel her throughout the pregnancy and until her child's second birthday. The nurses visit the mothers frequently in their homes and offer guidance on everything from nutrition during pregnancy to breastfeeding to caring for a newborn and child development. In many instances, the nurses also play the role of social worker to help the mothers apply for government assistance, if they qualify; navigate tricky family dynamics; or escape abusive relationships. And they mentor young mothers as well, encouraging them to finish their educations, apply for better-paying jobs, and set themselves on a path to financial stability, so they can support their families."
"The Obama administration has adopted sweeping new rules to discourage nonprofit hospitals from using aggressive tactics to collect payments from low-income patients. Under the rules, nonprofit hospitals must now offer discounts, free care or other financial assistance to certain needy patients. Additionally, hospitals must try to determine whether a patient is eligible for assistance before they refer a case to a debt collector, send negative information to a credit agency, place a lien on a patient’s home, file a lawsuit or seek a court order to seize a patient’s earnings."
"Earlier this week the OIG released an advisory opinion stating that a nonprofit organization’s proposed arrangement to provide copayment assistance to financially needy patients would not result in civil monetary penalties or administrative sanctions, even though it could potentially generate prohibited remunerations under the anti-kickback statute."
"The primary purpose of the Affordable Care Act was to make health insurance affordable for people with modest incomes. Yet as the employer mandate begins to kick in for 2015, the law is already hurting some of the people it was intended to help. By this time next year, we may find that many workers who earn within a few dollars of the minimum wage have less income and less insurance coverage (as a group) than they did before the mandate began to take effect."
"Many primary care doctors who see Medicaid patients this year will get a fee cut averaging nearly 43 percent, a drop that could threaten access to care for low-income Americans and the success of one of the Affordable Care Act’s key features. The Affordable Care Act, which has led to lower rates of uninsured U.S. residents over the past two years, expanded Medicaid by instituting changes to the public insurance’s eligibility criteria that are by now well known—for example, removing the federal ban on childless adults from the program and raising the annual income level over which people no longer qualify."
"Gov. Bill Haslam's administration has released its detailed plan to expand the state's Medicaid program under what the governor calls 'market-driven' reforms that would help more than 200,000 low-income Tennesseans get health coverage."
"A family-planning and preventive health screening for women is the subject of a bill introduced Thursday by Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist. The family-planning component would allow Nebraska to join a number of other states that provide family-planning services to low-income women."
"Of people who make too little to qualify for subsidies, Thomas says, 'Anyone that's in that predicament, we're going to encourage them to get another job, get the extra hours, and qualify for the exchange, by bumping their income up a little bit.' He points out that under the Affordable Care Act low income people who make at least 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or FPL, qualify for premium subsidies through HealthCare.gov, which makes health coverage 'pretty economical,' or nearly free."
"Bay Area Food Bank is teaming up with Wal-Mart to launch a different kind of bowl this football season. With Jacksonville running back Denard Robinson as the face of the Florida campaign, Wal-Mart is kicking off the second annual Defeat Hunger Bowl in an effort to collect food and raise awareness for those struggling with hunger in Florida."
"The new Congress has to renew the nation's Child Nutrition legislation in 2015. This is a golden opportunity to end this child hunger crisis in America, once and for all. We start by improving our child feeding programs — for even a school meal can be a life-changer for a child."
"In the US, 21 cities have managed to pass legislation banning or restricting organizations from sharing food with homeless populations in public places since January 2013 alone, according to a recent report by the National Coalition for the Homeless."
"Many hospitals in the U.S. receive tax breaks in exchange for the community service of providing care to those who cannot afford to pay. But hospitals in at least five states employ aggressive debt collectors to garnish the wages of low-income patients with unpaid debts, a ProPublica/NPR investigation revealed Friday. Hospitals in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Alabama and Missouri pass debts along to for-profit collection agencies. People affected tend to be those who earn too much to qualify for assistance in states that rejected the Medicaid expansion in President Barack Obama’s health care law, but not enough to purchase health care on their own. The cost of health care services for the uninsured tend to be significantly higher than for people with health insurance."
"Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, left open the possibility Wednesday that his chamber will consider an expansion of health coverage for low-income Floridians. Gardiner described as 'intriguing' a proposal that would accept billions of dollars available under the federal Affordable Care Act and provide coverage through private insurers."
"But the four-acre farm, which was a working dairy farm until the early 1990s, is much more than a place for urban agriculture. For 15 years, Friends of Zenger Farm has been advocating healthy eating for low-income families throughout Portland, particularly in Lents, where many families struggle to put nutritious food on the table."
"Grissom is among the almost half-million low-income elders and people with disabilities being initially enrolled in the state’s new program, and many have been confused by CMC’s complexities, leaving them uncertain of whether they will be able to remain with their current doctors and other health care providers. If successful, the state would expand the program to 1.1 million people in all 58 counties."
"The idea has enormous promise, but relatively few Californians seem willing to participate. And many who have been automatically enrolled are dropping out. The California program, called Cal MediConnect, is a demonstration program aimed at the so-called dual eligibles–people who receive benefits from both Medicaid and Medicare. The goal is to improve health outcomes and save money by managing care for those who are high-risk and high-cost patients."