Child Care Subsidies – Hawaii

State delays new child subsidy rules, By Suzanne Roig, December 11, 2009, Honolulu Advertiser: “The state will delay, by one month, a change in the child care subsidy scale to give providers and families time to work out solutions and apply for federal grants. The department has created a new 10-part scale that pays varying amounts to needy families or their providers for child care so that the parents can afford to go to work. The state will help child care providers apply for assistance from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or the Salvation Army. The one-month delay will help families make the transition from the three-level subsidy system to the 10-level system, said Christina Cox, president of KCAA Preschools of Hawai’i and liaison for the Childcare Business Coalition, which represents 44 licensed preschools…”

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Grandpa does more than baby-sit, By Michael Winerip, December 10, 2009, New York Times: “In May 2006, Tom Kust discovered that his two grandchildren, Monica, then 6, and Nathan, 2, were about to be adopted by a foster-care family in Florida. He had hired a lawyer to help his daughter, the children’s mother, get the children back. But his daughter kept dropping out of rehab programs, unable to shake her addiction to cocaine and heroin. Mr. Kust wanted Monica and Nathan, but grandparents have limited custody rights, their legal status varying state to state. As a result of working full time as a machine shop manager 1,000 miles away here on Long Island, tension with his daughter over her years of drug use and the lack of coordination between social workers in two states, Mr. Kust had trouble tracking his grandchildren’s case…”

States and Health Insurance Coverage

  • Despite recession, 26 states grew health coverage this year, By Phil Galewitz, December 8, 2009, Miami Herald: “Despite the economic downturn that’s busting state budgets from Sacramento to Tallahassee, 26 states this year made it easier for low-income children, parents or pregnant women to get health coverage, according to a report released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. But the gains could be fleeting as most were made possible by new federal stimulus dollars, which run out at the end of 2010, along with a requirement that states maintain Medicaid eligibility levels. The report surveyed how states were handling Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). States also benefited from the federal reauthorization of the CHIP program last February, which gave them new options to expand eligibility and millions of dollars to find uninsured kids…”
  • Most uninsured In Lower Hudson are working U.S. citizens, By Candice Ferrette and Tim Henderson, December 8, 2009, Journal News: “They are waiters, dental assistants, preschool teachers, hairdressers, small-business owners and recent college graduates. More than half of the uninsured people living in the Lower Hudson Valley are working U.S. citizens who stand to be affected by the national health-care reform debate. As more people become unemployed, this group of people still has jobs but no health insurance…”

Children’s Health Insurance Coverage – Montana

State faces backlog of applications for Montana Healthy Kids, By Mike Dennison, December 10, 2009, The Missoulian: “Two months into the state’s new, expanded children’s health insurance program, only about 740 kids have been added, as health officials try to erase a backlog in processing applications. State officials also have held off on a planned statewide advertising blitz for the new program, known as Healthy Montana Kids, while they work through delays in the approval process. ‘We want to make sure our eligibility (processing) is working as it should,’ said Anna Whiting Sorrell, director of the state Department of Public Health and Human Services. ‘We don’t want to frustrate people.’ Yet Whiting Sorrell said the state is still encouraging families to apply for the programs. ‘Our message to all Montana families who would like health coverage for their children is, apply now,’ she said. ‘Even though we’re experiencing a heavy workload, people should still apply.’ Healthy Montana Kids, approved by voter initiative in 2008, expands two government health insurance programs – Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan – with the goal of covering an additional 29,000 children in low- and moderate-income families in Montana…”

Poverty Measurement – India

  • India set to measure poverty beyond food, By S.P.S. Pannu, December 11, 2009, India Today: “India is likely to switch to a new method of estimating poverty, which includes total expenditure required by families on clothes, housing, health, education and conveyance apart from adequate food, which was until now the sole criterion for determining poverty. Planning Commission member Abhjit Sen said this gives a more realistic picture of the poverty level as the earlier estimates were based only on the food calorie intake of a person. Sen said the new method uses the lifestyle of the urban households as a benchmark for the rural families as well since they also need to spend on health, education, clothes, transport and housing. Estimates, for the year 2003- 04, using the new method show that a whopping 41.8 per cent of the country’s rural population live below the poverty line based on the wider criteria…”
  • 37.2% of India is in poverty by criterion of consumption, By P. Vaidyanathan Iyer and Priyadarshi Siddhanta, December 9, 2009, Express India: “The poverty ratio or the number of poor as a percentage of total population in India for 2004-05 is estimated at 37.2 per cent, according to a new report submitted on Tuesday by the Suresh Tendulkar committee to Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. The committee, headed by Tendulkar, former chairman of the PM’s Economic Advisory Council, was asked to review the methodology to measure poverty. The committee has defined the poor based on a normative living standard – it has moved away from calorie intake as the criterion and considered per capita consumption expenditure on commodities and services. The number of poor in India in 2004-05 based on an estimate by the Planning Commission released in March 2007 is 30.17 crore or 27.5 per cent of the population. It will, however, be wrong to compare the Tendulkar committee’s estimate with the Plan panel’s 2007 numbers since the criteria for defining the poverty line itself have changed…”

Delivery of Assistance Programs – Maryland

  • City judge rules against state in food stamp processing lawsuit, By Brent Jones, December 11, 2009, Baltimore Sun: “A Baltimore Circuit Court judge ruled Thursday that the state has failed to deliver food stamps and medical benefits in a timely manner to thousands of Marylanders, and he ordered a corrective action plan to be filed by late January. Judge Barry Williams ruled that the Department of Human Resources needs to fully comply by the end of 2010 with a law that requires that emergency and medical benefits be received by applicants within 30 days. The case was brought by a Baltimore County woman who sued the state after she applied for food stamps in February but did not receive the services until April, more than 60 days after the request…”
  • No food stamps blamed on Md., By Henri E. Cauvin, December 11, 2009, Washington Post: “A Maryland judge ruled Thursday that the state government is failing to provide food stamps and other public benefits as promptly as federal and state law requires. Thousands of families have been affected by the delays over the last few years, and in announcing his decision, Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams said the Maryland Department of Human Resources had engaged in a pattern and practice of violating the law. The judge gave the department 45 days to provide a plan to correct the problems and a year to bring the agency into full compliance with the laws governing food stamps, temporary cash assistance and medical aid…”

Cuts to Medicaid Program – Oklahoma

  • $17 million cut from Medicaid program, By Kim Archer, December 11, 2009, Tulsa World: “The Oklahoma Health Care Authority board voted unanimously to cut nearly $17 million in the state’s Medicaid program Thursday, but left payments to providers such as hospitals, doctors and nursing homes untouched. But Mike Fogarty, chief executive officer, warned that state legislators have indicated additional cuts are likely so providers likely will face a 1 percent reduction in Medicaid payments. ‘If and when this board meets again to discuss more cuts, provider rates will unavoidably be on the table,’ he said. ‘Additional cuts will take us into muscle.’ Cuts to patients – the agency serves about 20 percent of the state’s population – include such things as prescription co-payment increases and a cap on outpatient mental health services…”
  • State hit with cuts to SoonerCare, By April Wilkerson, December 11, 2009, Journal Record: “Cuts to the state’s SoonerCare health insurance were made official Thursday, but the program may face further reductions before the fiscal year ends. Members of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority voted to approve cuts that will affect SoonerCare members when they go to the dentist, get a prescription filled, open their wallets to make a co-payment and more. SoonerCare is the state’s Medicaid program and provides health care to nearly 700,000 elderly, disabled and children of low-income families. The cuts were required when the state mandated a 5-percent budget reduction earlier this year, which the OHCA accommodated by trimming $9.8 million. But on Nov. 1, another 5-percent reduction was required, so the OHCA began shaving another $16.8 million…”