Welfare Reform – Kansas

More Kansans will drop from welfare rolls as requirements stiffen, By Andy Marso, November 11, 2016, Salina Post: “For Ashlyn Harcrow, the sound of the train whistle brings up all kinds of thoughts she’d like to avoid.  Harcrow, 24, has been living at the Topeka Rescue Mission since July. The nonprofit homeless shelter has helped her stabilize as she recovers from domestic violence and tries to improve her mental health amid post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.  But the mission, at 600 N. Kansas Ave., is right next to the tracks. As trains rumble through north Topeka, they remind Harcrow that she’s thought about using those tracks to take her own life.  ‘All these trains that go by here,’ she says, ‘it don’t help.’  Harcrow would like to leave the mission and get her own place. But it’s a financial impossibility until she gets her mental health on track so she can return to the workforce…”

Medicaid Expansion – Louisiana

Medicaid expansion enrollment tops 326K people in Louisiana, By Elizabeth Crisp, October 20, 2016, Baton Rouge Advocate: “Enrollment in Louisiana’s expanded Medicaid program has topped 326,000, leaving the state just 50,000 shy of the goal it aims to reach by July.  The Louisiana Department of Health announced the updated enrollment figure on Thursday, as well as some key treatment numbers…”

SNAP Enrollment – New Jersey

Food stamp use down in N.J., but not as much as the rest of the U.S., By Susan K. Livio, September 16, 2016, NJ.com: “Reliance on food stamps dropped by 3 percent in New Jersey since last summer – six months after tougher rules took effect that required adults without children to work to receive their benefits, according to state data. There were 430,000 households on food stamps or what has been renamed Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, a 3 percent decline from last summer, state Human Services data said. Salem, Somerset and Hunterdon counties saw the biggest caseload declines…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Pennsylvania

  • Number of food stamp recipients skyrockets in the region, By Candy Woodall, February 8, 2016, PennLive.com: “The number of food stamp recipients exploded throughout the midstate during the last five years, according to state and federal data. All counties in the region had increases of about 50 percent or more, compared with data from 2005 to 2009. Some local counties reported gains of 80 percent or more, and Cumberland County’s numbers increased 138 percent. There are now 1.8 million Pennsylvanians receiving food stamps, compared to 1.1 million during fiscal year 2006-07, according to the state Department of Human Services…”
  • Pennsylvania nonprofits work to help those facing food stamp restrictions, By Adam Smeltz, February 8, 2016, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Western Pennsylvania nonprofits are hustling to blunt a clamp-down this spring on food stamp benefits, promoting volunteer work and other provisions that can keep low-income households eligible for the aid.  More than 9,500 residents of Allegheny County are among some 48,000 Pennsylvanians who could lose the help by June 1, according to state figures and Just Harvest, a South Side anti-hunger organization. Those beneficiaries fall under a renewed three-month limit for many unemployed or underemployed adults ages 18 to 50 who aren’t disabled or raising minor children…”

State Medicaid Spending and Enrollment

  • Medicaid costs rise, report says, but not more than most states expected, By Abby Goodnaugh, October 15, 2015, New York Times: “Spending on Medicaid rose nearly 14 percent on average in the last fiscal year, a report has found, largely because of a tide of newly eligible enrollees in the 29 states that had expanded the program by then to cover millions more low-income adults. But for most of those states, the per-member, per-month cost of the new enrollees was not higher — in a few cases, in fact, it was lower — than expected, according to the report, released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And almost all of the additional spending was covered by federal funds, which are paying the entire cost of expanding Medicaid through 2016 and at least 90 percent thereafter…”
  • Survey: Big growth in Medicaid enrollees in expansion states, By Christina A. Cassidy (AP), October 15, 2015, Washington Post: “States that opted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act saw enrollment increase on average by 18 percent during the first full year of expansion, according to a report released Thursday. That will soon have an effect on state budgets, with expansion states to pay a portion of costs to cover the new enrollees beginning in 2017. Currently, the federal government is covering the expanded population at 100 percent. States will eventually pay 10 percent of costs by 2020…”
  • Study: Nearly half of Iowa’s uninsured are eligible for Medicaid, By Ed Tibbetts, October 15, 2015, Quad-City Times: “A new study says nearly half of Iowa’s non-elderly uninsured are eligible for Medicaid, one of the highest rates in the nation. The Kaiser Family Foundation this week released a state-by-state analysis, which said 188,000 non-elderly are uninsured in Iowa, and 47 percent of them are eligible for Medicaid, the program that is run jointly by the federal government and the states to provide coverage for the low-income and disabled people…”

State Medicaid Program – Ohio

Medicaid costs nearly $2 billion below estimates in Ohio, By Catherine Candisky, August 12, 2015, Columbus Dispatch: “Despite higher than expected enrollment of Ohioans newly eligible for Medicaid, overall costs of the tax-funded health insurance program last year were nearly $2 billion below original estimates. According to a report released today by Gov. John Kasich’s administration, total Medicaid spending was $23.5 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30, about 7.6 percent less than projected…”

Medicaid Expansion – Illinois

In Illinois, Medicaid expansion sign-ups double predictions, By Carla K. Johnson (AP), July 20, 2015, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Illinois is among a dozen states where the number of new enrollees surpassed projections for the expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s health law. While the surge in sign-ups lifts the number of insured people, it has also stoked worries about the future cost to taxpayers.  Illinois and Cook County eventually will have to bear 10 percent of the cost of expanding the safety-net insurance program for the poor. The federal government agreed to pay all costs for the expansion through 2016, but it will begin lowering its share in 2017.  More than twice as many Illinois residents have enrolled under the expansion than was projected by former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration. It expected 298,000 people to sign up in 2015, but 623,000 newly eligible Illinoisans enrolled by the end of June. Sign-ups have outstripped forecasts in at least a dozen states, according to a new analysis by The Associated Press…”

SNAP Enrollment

Fewer Americans receiving food stamps, By Marisol Bello, May 12, 2015, USA Today: “In a further sign of the improving economy, the number of Americans receiving food stamps fell below 46 million people for the first time in more than three years.  As of February 2015, the most recent month available, 45.7 million people are receiving food stamps, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

  • Health law brings growth in food stamps in some states, By Carla K. Johnson and David Mercer (AP), April 22, 2015, ABC News: “President Barack Obama’s health care law has had a surprising side effect: In some states, it appears to be enticing more Americans to apply for food stamps, even as the economy improves.  New, streamlined application systems built for the health care overhaul are making it easier for people to enroll in government benefit programs, including insurance coverage and food stamps…”
  • Pa. to eliminate asset test for food stamps, By Alfred Lubrano, April 21, 2015, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Pennsylvania will eliminate the asset test for food stamps as of Monday, a spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services announced Tuesday evening. The controversial test, initiated by then-Gov. Tom Corbett in 2012, ties federal food-stamp benefits – now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP – to people’s bank accounts and car ownership.  Corbett saw the test as a way to cut down on fraud and waste…”

SNAP Enrollment

  • Despite high poverty, Californians’ food aid use is low, By Dan Walters, March 3, 2015, Sacramento Bee: “Nearly a quarter of California’s 38 million residents are living in poverty by a new Census Bureau method of calculating economic well-being – by far the nation’s highest rate.  But the 23.8 percent of Californians who are impoverished – due largely to the state’s very high costs of housing and other necessities – have one of the nation’s lowest rates of using federal food assistance benefits, according to another Census Bureau report and data from federal and state agencies…”
  • The astonishing state-by-state rise in food stamp reliance, By Niraj Chokshi, March 3, 2015, Washington Post: “The share of households on food stamps has more than doubled since 2000, a new Census Bureau report finds. From 2000 to 2013, the share of households receiving aid through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has grown from 6.2 percent to 13.5 percent nationally. What was once a program providing aid to 1 in 16 Americans is now helping 1 in 8.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Republicans eye changes to food-stamp program, By Tennille Tracy, February 11, 2015, Wall Street Journal: “House Republicans are laying the groundwork for a revision of the food-stamps program after its sharp expansion during the recession. The effort kicks off Feb. 25 when the House Agriculture Committee holds the first of several hearings scheduled this year on food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program…”

Health Insurance Coverage

Medicaid, CHIP add 10.1 million since insurance marketplaces opened, By Tony Pugh, February 2, 2015, Fresno Bee: “More than 10.1 million people have enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in the first 14 months since marketplace enrollment began, the Obama administration reported Monday. That’s a 17.5 percent increase over the average monthly enrollment of both programs just before marketplace health insurance became available in October 2013…”

Medicaid Expansion – Pennsylvania

Applying for Pa. Medicaid expansion? Wait in line, By Robert Calandra, January 16, 2015, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Almost seven weeks after the launch of Healthy Pennsylvania, the state’s Medicaid expansion plan, enrollment has been hampered by delays. Only an estimated 55,000 of 163,968 people who applied for the program by Jan. 1 have been enrolled in the Medicaid expansion, said Kait Gillis, spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services. She acknowledged the delays and said the agency was working to fix them…”

State Medicaid Programs – New Jersey, Ohio

  • N. J. Medicaid fiasco: Thousands stranded without coverage, no fix in sight, By Kathleen O’ Brien, December 23, 2014, Star-Ledger: “The doctor was perfectly clear after examining Aurora Blackwell’s son this fall: The boy needed to get to an emergency room for his worsening digestive problems. Instead, Blackwell took the 4-year-old home and treated him herself — first with prune juice, then suppositories. Why would the devoted young mother of two ignore her pediatrician’s advice? Because the Burlington County woman knew that despite 10 months of phone calls, emails and letters, her family still lacked health insurance. ‘I feel helpless,’ she’d written two months earlier in a plea to Gov. Chris Christie. ‘How much longer do we have to wait?’ The meltdown of the federal government’s website tied to the Affordable Care Act has been well documented. But in New Jersey, something far worse was happening as the state expanded Medicaid access under Obamacare, an NJ Advance Media investigation has found…”
  • Medicaid extension again on Kasich agenda, By Catherine Candisky, December 23, 2014, Columbus Dispatch: “Nearly one year after Ohio expanded Medicaid coverage for poor adults, Gov. John Kasich again faces uncertainty as he seeks approval from the Republican-led legislature to extend new eligibility guidelines for two more years. The governor and other supporters say lives are at stake. As of October, more than 430,000 poor Ohioans had gained health coverage under the expansion paid through federal funding available through the Affordable Care Act…”

Medicaid Enrollment

Medicaid rolls surge under Affordable Care Act, By Margot Sanger-Katz, December 18, 2014, New York Times: “In Idaho, the number of people who signed up for Medicaid has jumped by 13.4 percent. In Georgia, it’s up 12.9 percent. In North Carolina, the rate has climbed 12.4 percent. None of those states opted to expand their Medicaid programs as part of the Affordable Care Act, but all have seen substantial enrollment increases in state health insurance…”

Medicaid Provider Access

Shortage of Medicaid doctors? Not if you ask patients, By Austin Frakt, November 10, 2014, New York Times: “One longstanding concern about Medicaid is that too few doctors will accept it, because it tends to pay providers less generously than private plans do. This concern shows up in news articles about Medicaid, driven by evidence from doctors’ offices. But if you ask Medicaid enrollees directly, they reveal that access to primary care is comparable to that for private plans. A report from the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services released in late September reinforced concerns about access to care for Medicaid enrollees…”

Medicaid Enrollment and Access to Care

For many new Medicaid enrollees, care is hard to find, report says, By Robert Pear, September 27, 2014, New York Times: “Enrollment in Medicaid is surging as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but the Obama administration and state officials have done little to ensure that new beneficiaries have access to doctors after they get their Medicaid cards, federal investigators say in a new report.  The report, to be issued this week by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, says state standards for access to care vary widely and are rarely enforced. As a result, it says, Medicaid patients often find that they must wait for months or travel long distances to see a doctor…”

SNAP Enrollment – Oregon

Oregon’s economy would get $500 million infusion if everyone eligible for food stamps accepted them: report, By Bryan Denson, August 28, 2014, The Oregonian: “Oregon’s economy would get a nearly $500 million boost if every person in the state eligible for food stamps took part in the program, according to a study. An estimated 276,000 Oregonians qualify, but don’t participate, in the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to Katie Furia, who serves as SNAP outreach manager for the nonprofit Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon…”

ACA Coverage

  • Reports: ACA coverage reached more than 9 million, By Kaitlyn Krasselt, July 15, 2014, USA Today: “Far more people are insured because of the Affordable Care Act than the White House estimated in May, new research shows. At least three new studies on the ACA’s effect show big increases in the number of newly insured Americans, with the highest estimate topping out at 9.5 million from the Commonwealth Fund. That compares with the 8 million reported by the White House in May. It’s hardly all good news for the administration’s efforts, however. Analysts from the Rand Corporation estimate that while 14.5 million people gained coverage in the last year, about 5 million people were insured before the ACA and lost coverage because of the law — leading to a net gain of around 9 million. . .”
  • Groups under Health Act are said to aid millions, By Abby Goodnough, July 15, 2014, New York Times: “More than 4,400 consumer assistance programs created under the Affordable Care Act helped an estimated 10.6 million people explore their new health insurance options and apply for coverage during the initial six-month enrollment period, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey. But the programs that operated in states with their own online insurance marketplaces got more funding and helped more people than those in states on the federal exchange, the survey found. In the District of Columbia and 16 states that ran or were working toward running their own exchanges, the programs helped about twice as many people, relative to the uninsured population, as they did in 29 states served by the federal exchange. . .”

ACA Sign-up Period

Study: Selling health insurance at Christmas is bad idea, By Louise Radnofsky, June 26, 2014, Wall Street Journal: “Tax preparers and some other advocates have complained for a while that the health law’s insurance sign-up period is timed wrong. Now they have a paper in the journal Health Affairs to back them up. Asking lower-income people to contemplate buying coverage around the holiday season is a bad idea, because their decision-making capacity is stretched too thin, say two health policy professors. Crafters of the Affordable Care Act originally envisaged the open enrollment period as a fall activity that would coincide with the sign-up periods for Medicare and also the time when many Americans who get coverage through their jobs have to renew their elections. . .”