Health and Poverty News
"Springfield area families living below the poverty line are eating healthier these days.
The WIC program, or 'Women, Infants, and Children', provides needy families with $40 to buy fresh produce at farmers markets in Holyoke, Chicopee, Westfield and Ludlow."
"Low-income parents may be more likely to get their infants routine checkups and vaccinations when clinics offer extra support navigating healthcare issues and addressing basic needs like food and housing, a U.S. study suggests."
"More low-income children are eating summer meals, according to a new report released today by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) which showed more than 3.2 million children participated in the Summer Nutrition Programs in July 2014. This represents a seven percent increase over the previous year, and demonstrates what can be done when the federal government, states, and communities make summer food a priority."
"The low-income pool, conceived as a temporary financing aid for Florida’s safety net hospitals, was extended for nearly 10 years. But that may change. As part of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration is advocating insurance coverage rather than a reimbursement-based model for uninsured care, and the LIP program’s last federal authorization is set to run out on June 30."
"Among African American adults with low education and income levels, the increase in risk of heart disease or stroke associated with living in poverty is largest for women and people under age 50, according to a large new study."
"During the 2014 fiscal year, over 21.5 million children qualified for the free and reduced-price lunch program, but only 2.7 million children used the national summer food service program daily. A survey by No Kid Hungry, an organization that seeks to raise awareness about childhood hunger, released this month, showed 83 percent of educators worry that their students will not have enough to eat this summer and 75 percent say their students come to school hungry."
"About 4,500 county residents in the Aspen area live at or below the federal poverty level, and Pitkin County health officials are trying to find options to help the area’s low-income families receive the care they need because many doctors are not accepting public health insurance."
"Florida is losing more than half of a critical hospital funding program but lawmakers say they’re grateful to at least have a number they can start building a budget around. Meanwhile the legislature continues to grapple with how to fill substantial budget hole."
"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."