Kids Count Report – Indiana

Why it’s tough to be a youth in Indiana, By Shari Rudavsky, February 27, 2017, Indianapolis Star: “It’s not easy being a child. And it can be even harder to be a child in Indiana, according to data released Monday.  Indiana has the 15th largest population of youth younger than 18, with more than 1.5 million children living here. But many youth in Indiana experience poverty and maltreatment, says the 2017 Kids Count in Indiana Data Book from the Indiana Youth Institute with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  The annual report paints a picture of the experience of children who live in Indiana, by sharing statistics on families and communities, education, the economy, health and safety…”

Lead Poisoning in Children – Indiana

Indiana bill aims to increase lead testing for children in low-income families, By Ted Booker, February 9, 2017, South Bend Tribune: “Only a small fraction of Indiana’s children in low-income families are tested for lead poisoning, but a proposed state bill aims to change that.  Senate Bill 491 — co-authored by Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, and Sen. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend — calls for doubling the number of Medicaid-eligible children tested statewide for the toxic metal, which can cause permanent damage to kids’ developing brains and organs…”

Medicaid Expansion – Indiana

Indiana’s Medicaid experiment may reveal Obamacare’s future, By Alana Semuels, December 21, 2016, The Atlantic: “Nearly 20 governors turned away the federal funding to expand Medicaid offered under the Affordable Care Act. Their states’ opposition to Obamacare meant that tens of thousands of low-income people in their states continued to live without health insurance.  But Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, was not one of them. After two years of negotiation, Pence in January 2015 reached an agreement with the Obama administration granting Indiana a waiver to try its own form of Medicaid expansion, called Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) 2.0. The state would become one of the 31 that participated in the Medicaid expansion, receiving federal money through the Affordable Care Act to cover people between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty line. (Medicaid already covered a limited number of people living below the poverty line.) But it could also add its own modifications, the most salient being that participants would be required to contribute monthly fees to continue to receive access to health care…”

Public Defender System – Indiana

Indiana’s public defender system flawed, study says, By Fatima Hussein, October 24, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “The state’s public defender system is not only woefully underfunded, legal experts say, the Sixth Amendment right to a fair and speedy trial is routinely violated in Indiana.  Lack of oversight of the public defense system, inconsistent funding and subpar representation contribute to the problems, the experts said…”

Aging Out of Foster Care – Indiana

From foster care to first-time homeowners, By Maureen C. Gilmer, July 20, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “As a child, Ronnisha Davis bounced from home to home. She lived with her mom, then in a foster home, then her dad, then another foster home, then an apartment when she was 17.  Today, the 23-year-old is settling into her own house, purchased with ‘sweat equity’ on her part, as well as help from Habitat for Humanity andIndiana Connected By 25. The latter is a nonprofit that partners with United Way, the Department of Child Services and other organizations to support young adults before and after they age out of foster care (age 20 in Indiana). Among its programs are Opportunity Passport, which offers financial literacy classes, a matching savings plan and micro loans to build credit…”

Medicaid Expansion – Indiana

Indiana battling feds over Medicaid, By Maureen Groppe, June 20, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana remains at odds with the federal government over how to evaluate the state’s unique Medicaid program, a standoff that affects not only Indiana, but also other states looking to adopt Indiana’s model. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services gave Indiana a deadline of June 17 to finalize a data-sharing agreement on the jointly funded health care program for the poor. Instead, Indiana responded in a letter Friday that the federal government hasn’t satisfied the state’s concerns about data safety…”

Pre-Kindergarten – Indianapolis, IN

Indy pre-K shatters goals, setting up funding fight in 2017, By Brian Eason, March 1, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “A pilot program offering prekindergarten scholarships to low-income families in Indianapolis is shattering expectations, but not entirely in a good way. The good news, relayed last week at a City-County Council committee hearing, is that just one year into the five-year program, the public-private partnership already has secured $33.2 million of its $50 million goal. The bad? That initial goal will only pay for less than a third of the demand…”

Medicaid Expansion – Indiana, Ohio

  • Hospitals boosted by Medicaid expansion, By Maureen Groppe, February 1, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “The biggest obstacle a Richmond, Ind., hospital has had in signing up low-income Hoosiers for Indiana’s expanded Medicaid program is convincing them it’s real.  ‘These are people who have never had this type of coverage before,’ said Chris Knight, the chief financial officer and vice president of Reid Health. ‘We have had very touching stories where people just break down and cry when they’re given this coverage.’  As Indiana enters its second year of expanded Medicaid coverage created by the Affordable Care Act, hospitals around the state report it has helped patients gain needed coverage.  But it’s helping hospitals, too.  The amount of unpaid bills Reid Health can’t collect from patients has dropped about 40 percent…”
  • Do Indiana’s poor Medicaid recipients really have skin in the game?, By Maureen Groppe and Shari Rudavsky, February 1, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “When Gov. Mike Pence sought federal permission to run an alternative Medicaid program in Indiana, one aspect was non-negotiable: Participants in the joint federal and state health care program for the poor would have to have ‘skin in the game.’  Even those with no monthly income would have to pay a minimum $1 a month toward their care, if they wanted to stay in the part of the Healthy Indiana Program (HIP 2.0) that offered better benefits and no co-payments…”
  • Medicaid cuts number of uninsured Ohio workers, By Randy Tucker, February 3, 2016, Dayton Daily News: “The number of Ohio workers who were employed but uninsured fell sharply in the first full year of expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to a report released Wednesday by Families USA. On average, the rate of uninsured, mostly low-wage workers, fell by 25 percent in the 26 states that expanded Medicaid in 2014, the non-profit health care advocacy group found. That was about twice the rate of decline in non-expansion states, where the share of uninsured workers was cut by an average of 13 percent, according to the report…”

Medicaid and Children’s Dental Care – Indiana

Many children with Medicaid not getting required dental care, By Carla K. Johnson (AP), January 25, 2016, Northwest Indiana Times: “Three out of four children covered by Medicaid in four states, including Indiana, didn’t receive all required dental care over a recent two-year period, according to a federal report that recommends a government push to improve access to care.  One in four such kids didn’t see a dentist at all, the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office said Monday. Among the reasons were that there were too few dentists accepting Medicaid patients and a lack of education about the importance of proper dental care…”

Workforce Development – Indiana

Indiana’s low unemployment creates worker shortage, By Kris Turner, January 8, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “One. That’s how many qualified employees Gregg Fore can find among every 10 job applicants at his RV manufacturing business.  And he’s far from alone. Economic experts say Indiana businesses face some particularly tough hiring challenges because of the state’s heavy reliance on manufacturing, a sector that has been hit hardest by a national worker shortage…”

Human Needs Index – Indiana

New poverty index shows continuing need in Indiana, By Maureen Groppe, October 7, 2015, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana is taking longer to recover from the Great Recession than the nation as a whole, according to a new poverty measure released Wednesday by Indiana University and the Salvation Army. The Human Needs Index tracks services provided by the Salvation Army for food, shelter, clothing, health and well-being. Researchers at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis said the index provides a more timely and detailed measure of need than government poverty statistics…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Indiana

Many NWI residents at risk of losing food stamps, By Giles Bruce, September 2, 2015, Northwest Indiana Times: “As she input inventory numbers into a computer at her local food bank Tuesday, Gary resident Jessica Lipscomb said she was glad to be out of the house. She’d been out of work for several months. She says she had to quit her last job, in medical billing, because she didn’t have reliable transportation. Then she got a letter from the state earlier this year, saying she would have to find or train for a job if she wanted to keep receiving food stamps. While she hasn’t found employment yet, she participates in job training at the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, doing data entry there two mornings a week. She gets there by bus…”

State Medicaid Program – Indiana

Indiana’s poor get Medicaid — by paying, By Noam N. Levey, June 15, 2015, Chicago Tribune: “Linda Joyner, at 64, just got health coverage. Uninsured for years, the former waitress signed up for Medicaid after Indiana expanded its program through the Affordable Care Act. But unlike millions of low-income Americans who’ve enrolled in the government plan since last year, Joyner is paying for her coverage. Indiana, which has a conservative Republican governor and legislature, is pioneering an experiment that requires low-income patients to contribute monthly to a special health account. Joyner chips in $12.33…”

Kids Count Reports – Michigan, Indiana, Iowa

  • Saginaw County above state averages for child poverty, low birth weight, child abuse investigations, Kids Count 2015 reports, By Heather Jordan, February 19, 2015, MLive: “When it comes to the overall well-being of Michigan children, Saginaw County ranked 59th of 82, with No. 1 being the best.  Saginaw County has a greater percentage of young children who are eligible for food assistance than the state average, a greater percentage of low birth weight babies than the state average, a higher rate of children living in families investigated for abuse or neglect than the state average and a greater percentage of students who did not graduate high school on time than the state average.  All of this is according to the 2015 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book released Thursday, Feb. 19, by the Michigan League for Public Policy…”
  • Data: Indiana has highest rate in U.S. of teens who considered suicide, By Marisa Kwiatkowski, February 17, 2015, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana has the highest rate in the country of teens who have considered suicide and the second-highest rate of those who attempted it, according to a report from the Indiana Youth Institute.  The Institute’s ‘2015 Kids Count in Indiana data book,’ which was released Monday, pulled data from hundreds of national and state sources to analyze the state of Hoosier children and families. It tackled concerns such as a high rate of teen drug use, a low student-to-school counselor ratio and the fact that 22 percent of Indiana children live in poverty…”
  • Mixed results for Iowa’s children in Iowa Kids Count Report, By Chelsea Keenan and Andrew Phillips, February 11, 2015, The Gazette: “The health and education of Iowa’s children has generally improved since 2000, according to the 2013 Iowa Kids Count report. But the economic well-being that their families face has not.  The report, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has data looking at 20 different indicators of child and family well-being, including child poverty, food assistance, high school graduation rates and teen births.  It also provides data on a county, state and national level as well as compares rural with urban areas…”

Medicaid Expansion – Indiana

  • Gov. Pence gets federal OK for Medicaid alternative, By Shari Rudavsky and Maureen Groppe, January 27, 2015, Indianapolis Star: “After months of wrangling between Gov. Mike Pence and the Obama administration, Indiana won approval to expand its own brand of Medicaid that injects personal responsibility into the healthcare program for the poor. About 350,000 low-income Hoosiers who lack insurance could benefit from the program, whose approved expansion was announced Tuesday, the day enrollment began. Coverage could start as early as Feb. 1. Pence said the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, a revamped version of a program started by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels, goes beyond standard Medicaid expansion by requiring that participants contribute to the cost of their care…”
  • Indiana will allow entry to Medicaid for a price, By Abby Goodnough, January 27, 2015, New York Times: “After a lengthy back-and-forth, the Obama administration has agreed to let Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, a Republican, expand Medicaid on his own terms, including some that have not been allowed before under federal rules. The plan will extend coverage to an additional 350,000 Indiana residents with incomes of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — about $16,100 for a single person and $27,310 for a family of three — starting next month. As in the 27 other states that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will cover the entire cost through this year and at least 90 percent in future years. But Mr. Pence, like several Republican governors before him, insisted on adding a conservative twist to the expansion, mostly by requiring beneficiaries to pay something toward their coverage…”

SNAP Work Requirements – Indiana

Indiana reinstates time limits for some food stamp recipients, By Maureen Groppe, October 20, 2014, Indianapolis Star: “Indiana will begin cutting off food stamp benefits next year to tens of thousands of people who fail to get a job or train for work. Beginning in the spring, the state will limit benefits to no more than three months during a three-year period for able-bodied adults without children who don’t work or participate in job training for at least 20 hours a week. The time limit is a requirement for the federally funded program, but states can ask for a waiver if jobs are scarce in all or part of the state. Although Indiana is among the majority of states that qualify for a waiver, the state plans to reinstate the requirement…”

Affordable Care Act and Medicaid

  • In rural Kentucky, health-care debate takes back seat as the long-uninsured line up, By Stephanie McCrummen, November 23, 2013, Washington Post: “On the campaign trail, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was still blasting the new health-care law as unsalvageable. At the White House, President Obama was still apologizing for the botched federal Web site. But in a state where the rollout has gone smoothly, and in a county that is one of the poorest and unhealthiest in the country, Courtney Lively has been busy signing people up: cashiers from the IGA grocery, clerks from the dollar store, workers from the lock factory, call-center agents, laid-off coal miners, KFC cooks, Chinese green-card holders in town to teach Appalachian students…”
  • Medicaid expansion’s tale of two states: Kentucky ‘haves’ vs. Indiana ‘have-nots’, By Laura Unger, December 1, 2013, Louisville Courier-Journal: “Lorinda Fox of New Albany, Ind., hasn’t been to a doctor since her last child was born 21 years ago. Poor and uninsured, she treats her illnesses with over-the-counter remedies. At age 58, she knows she’s taking chances with her health, especially since she recently began having heart palpitations and chest pain. ‘I’ll do the same thing I always do — gut it out,’ said Fox, who lives with her hearing-impaired daughter and earns about $12,000 a year working in retail. ‘I don’t know what else I can do.’ If Fox lived in Kentucky, she would qualify for expanded Medicaid next year under the Affordable Care Act. But she lives in a state where she makes too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid, and politicians have chosen not to expand Medicaid as Obamacare intended, contending that Indiana taxpayers can’t afford it…”
  • Michigan embraces Medicaid expansion to help inmates, By Guy Gugliotta, November 30, 2013, Washington Post: “When Medicaid expands next year under the federal health-care law to include all adults living close to the poverty line, one group of eligible beneficiaries will be several million men and women who have spent time in state and federal prisons and jails. The Justice Department estimates that former inmates and detainees will constitute about 35 percent of the people who will qualify for Medicaid coverage in the states expanding their programs to anyone earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $15,000 for an individual in 2013. The Congressional Budget Office estimated earlier this year that 9 million people will get the new coverage next year…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

  • Working poor losing Obamacare as states resist Medicaid, By Alex Wayne and David Mildenberg, June 24, 2013, Bloomberg: “Rose Ruiz collects $8 an hour cooking, cleaning, checking the oxygen tanks and changing the diapers for a 67-year-old diabetic confined to a studio apartment on the south side of Austin, Texas. Ruiz, a home health aide to Medicaid patients, has no medical insurance herself. Her best shot at getting access to doctors and medicines for her own needs was through President Barack Obama’s expansion of the federal-state Medicaid programs. That hope was scuttled for Ruiz and thousands of other health-care workers across Texas when the state opted out of the Medicaid expansion earlier this month. Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the U.S…”
  • Pence team not working on Medicaid expansion alternative, By Dan Carden, June 25, 2013, Times of Northwest Indiana: “With just three months until millions of low-income Americans start signing up for an expanded Medicaid program, the Pence administration revealed Tuesday it has yet to begin talking with the federal government about creating an Indiana alternative. Debra Minott, Indiana’s secretary of the Family and Social Services Administration, told the General Assembly’s Health Finance Commission the governor believes preserving the Healthy Indiana Plan, which covers 37,316 participants, is a higher priority than negotiating a Medicaid alternative, which would cover some 400,000 Hoosiers…”
  • Despite rejection of Medicaid expansion, next steps in Obamacare set to begin in Wisconsin, By David Wahlberg, June 24, 2013, Wisconsin State Journal: “Though the Legislature last week approved Gov. Scott Walker’s rejection of an optional Medicaid expansion under federal health care reform, the next steps in carrying out the rest of the law are expected to unfold this summer. ‘Navigators’ will be hired to help people enroll in coverage for next year, and details of the private insurance plans to be offered will be released. Outreach campaigns will pick up, including a ‘Get Covered America’ effort launched last week by former campaign staffers for President Barack Obama and ‘Time for Affordability,’ organized by America’s Health Insurance Plans…”

Free Lunch Program and School Funding – Indiana

State won’t use free lunch program as poverty indicator, By Maureen Hayden, May 24, 2013, News and Tribune: “Indiana is changing the way it counts low-income students in public schools because Republican legislators suspect fraud in the federal school-lunch program used to measure poverty. Tucked inside the budget bill passed by the General Assembly last month is a provision that ends the use of the program to determine levels of poverty-based funding for school districts after next year. Instead, the state’s textbook assistance program, which provides free schoolbooks to low-income children, will be used to calculate how much additional money the state gives schools to help educate children most at-risk for failure…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

  • Missouri House approves budget, no money for Medicaid expansion, By Elizabeth Crisp, March 29, 2013, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The Missouri House approved a nearly $25 billion state spending plan Thursday that calls for slight increases in education funding and modest raises for most state employees in the coming year, but it doesn’t include expansion of the state’s Medicaid rolls. Gov. Jay Nixon and other Democrats, as well as health care and business groups, have spent several months pushing for a federal Affordable Care Act-driven expansion of the health care program for the poor. But the Republican-controlled House blocked multiple attempts this week to add the more than $900 million in federal dollars to the state budget proposal and expand eligibility to an estimated 300,000 Missourians…”
  • Pence administration claims authority to negotiate Medicaid deal with feds, By Eric Bradner, March 27, 2013, Evansville Courier and Press: “Indiana lawmakers don’t need to approve legislation related to a Medicaid expansion because Gov. Mike Pence already has authority to negotiate with federal officials, his administration’s top human services official said Wednesday. That was the assessment of Debra Minott, secretary of the Family and Social Services Administration, as she fielded questions from the House Public Health Committee. The panel has been working on a bill that would set parameters for an expansion of Medicaid through the federal health care law. If the state opts to go forward with an expansion, around 400,000 more Hoosiers would qualify for government-funded health insurance. But the state would only do so using the health savings account-based Healthy Indiana Plan as a vehicle, Pence has said…”
  • Business groups optimistic about TennCare deal, By Chas Sisk and Getahn Ward, March 29, 2013, The Tennessean: “Health care and business groups are putting their faith in Gov. Bill Haslam’s ability to hammer out a deal on TennCare. But there are no signs of a master strategy that could bring that bargain about or drive it through the legislature. After months of doom-saying, health care and business groups have held their tongues following Wednesday’s momentous announcement that the state would not start offering TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, to 180,000 more uninsured Tennesseans. The decision appeared to put the state on track to miss out on more than $400 million in federal funding in the first half of 2014 to pay for expansion and more than $1 billion a year after that…”