Health and Poverty News
"The CMS will not renew a Medicaid waiver in Florida expiring at the end of June that provides more than $1 billion a year to help the state's hospitals with uncompensated-care costs for low-income and uninsured patients. That may put additional pressure on Florida Republican leaders to consider expanding Medicaid to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act."
"One of America's crown jewels in enabling people to lift themselves out of poverty, the Federation Employment and Guidance Service (FEGS), which for generations enabled people with disabilities, immigrants and others at-risk, is closing its doors. It has 3,500 employees, 2,000 volunteers, 300 locations and an annual budget of $250 million. FEGS helps more than 12,000 people each day, and as many as 100,000 each year. Now leaders are working around the clock to find other agencies that can complete vital services so that those who are most vulnerable are not harmed."
"One in five kids relied on food stamps last year, yet nearly half of low-income children didn’t sit down to the most important meal of the day, according to a recent report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). The organization determined the figures by comparing the number of kids who partook in the free lunch program to those who took advantage of the gratis breakfast option, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture."
"In addition, providing extra time for enrollment would increase the number of people who received health insurance subsidies and thus had a personal stake in a Supreme Court case challenging payment of the subsidies in more than 30 states. The White House and its allies said that if the court ruled against the administration, it would cause hardship for many low-income people and chaos in insurance markets around the country. More than eight out of 10 people buying insurance through the public exchanges qualify for financial help."
"In Texas and nearly two dozen other conservative states that chose not to expand their Medicaid coverage under the federal health care overhaul, nonprofit groups and volunteer tax advisers are trying to help people avoid the penalty for not having insurance."
"Lower-income insurance shoppers can slash their share of healthcare costs to an average of $14 in co-payments when they visit their primary care doctors, and the percentage of costs they have to share for emergency room visits can be as low as 19%, according to a report out today from the Kaiser Family Foundation."
"The report found that efforts from the state's comprehensive community health centers and clinics to improve patient satisfaction paid off in a big way: In 2011, 48 percent of patients ranked the quality of their care as 'very good' or 'excellent,' and in 2014 the percentage jumped to 53 percent."
"A potential problem is brewing in Florida for Medicaid patients. State lawmakers recently discovered a gaping, billion-dollar hole in the budget to cover those costs. A budget deficit of $1.3 billion will be created if Florida's 'Low Income Pool' program is not extended."
"A new report shows 11 million low-income children from around the nation participate, on an average day, in free breakfast programs – but when it comes to reaching hungry kids New York is at the 'back of the bus.' The report from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) shows New York coming in at 40th among states. Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, says there is plenty of room for the state to do better, especially since breakfast programs are paid for with federal funding."
“The Randolph Hospital Community Health Foundation has awarded 18 health and wellness grants totaling $93,157, the largest amount ever awarded by the foundation in its 18 years of providing funding. […] $5,000 to The Dream Center of Randolph County, to build a walking track surrounding a playground for low-income families to have a safe place for children to play while adults are walking for exercise.”
“In Omaha, Nebraska, $297,500 was granted to 20 local agencies. Grants will fund a wide range of programs including health and human services for homeless and low-income families, after-school enrichment and arts programming for disadvantaged youth, and senior support services.”
"Most of the visits stem from the limited access to dental care for people who are covered by BadgerCare Plus, the state's largest Medicaid program, or for people who are uninsured. And advocates and dentists alike express little hope that the well-documented and longstanding problem will improve anytime soon."
"University of California researchers last week determined there are between 2.7 million and 3.4 million people without health insurance in California -- about 1.5 million of them undocumented. Using back-of-the-envelope math, roughly half the state's uninsured are undocumented and the other half are eligible for coverage and just not enrolled."
"In reports released in January by Florida Legal Services, a non-profit organization founded in 1973 to provide civil legal assistance to indigent persons who would not otherwise have the access to a lawyer, the state’s healthcare providers for low-income residents could lose $2 billion a year. The loss would come due to federal funding that is scheduled to end June 30. The funding reduction would particularly impact 'safety-net' hospitals, ones that provide the most charity aid."
"One year into the explosive, health law-induced growth of Medi-Cal, it appears one of the most alarming predictions of critics is coming true: The supply of doctors hasn't kept up with demand. One recent study suggests the number of primary care doctors in California per Medi-Cal patient is woefully below federal guidelines."
"Nonprofit hospitals can be very profitable, thanks in part to state, federal and local tax exemptions. In return, they're supposed to give back to the community with free and low-cost care to low-income patients. For decades, though, many have withheld financial aid and even sued poor patients for debts that should have been forgiven. Now IRS regulations require the hospitals to adopt more transparent practices, or risk losing their cherished tax-exempt status."
"Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to extend health coverage to 280,000 low-income Tennesseans has failed during a special legislative session."
"While overall stress among Americans is down since the beginning of the Great Recession, stress has stayed at high levels high or even risen among some, including the young, females, and those making below $50,000 a year, according to a new survey."
"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."