Medicaid Expansion – Utah, Louisiana

  • State officials send feds Medicaid expansion plan for low-income parents, By Alex Stuckey, February 3, 2107, Salt Lake Tribune: “As Utah officials continue to wait for federal approval of their small-scale Medicaid expansion plan, they hope to expand coverage to some parents.  Tom Hudachko, state Department of Health spokesman, said Friday that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ‘verbally indicated’ to state officials late last year that it would approve that part of the expansion, covering low-income parents with dependent children…”
  • Louisiana’s uninsured rate falls to 12.5 percent; leaders cite Medicaid expansion, By Elizabeth Crisp, February 8, 2017, Baton Rouge Advocate: “Louisiana is one of 10 states that have seen the steepest decreases in the rate of uninsured residents over the past four years, according to survey findings released Wednesday. The 2016 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that Louisiana’s uninsured rate fell to 12.5 percent last year — down from 21.7 percent in 2013.  The survey’s researchers note that all 10 states that saw their uninsured rates drop have expanded Medicaid through the federal Affordable Care Act…”

Public Defender System – Louisiana

La. Governor sued over state’s alleged failure to provide lawyers to poor defendants, By Rebecca Hersher, February 7, 2017, National Public Radio: “Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was sued Monday over his state’s public defender system, which plaintiffs say violates the U.S. and Louisiana Constitutions by denying effective representation to poor people accused of crimes.  The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court describes defendants kept in jail for months before seeing a lawyer, public defenders who are so overworked they cannot provide adequate counsel and multiple instances in which people accused of minor crimes did not receive an attorney at all…”

New Orleans Youth Index

Child poverty down, and 6 more facts from New Orleans Youth Index, By  Danielle Dreilinger, December 16, 2016, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “New Orleans’ young people could thrive if conditions were different. That’s what The Data Center says in its 2016 Youth Index, released Wednesday (Dec. 14). The report compiles figures on poverty, education, housing and other factors that shape lives. It updates the 2015 edition…”

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…”

Child Care Subsidies – Louisiana

The state-budget cuts trapping poor parents, By Della Hasselle, September 29, 2016, The Atlantic: “Over the summer, Kinsley, then 19 months, was just starting to develop her vocabulary. Sometimes her mom, Christian Gobert, laughed about it, because the word Kinsley knew best was ‘no.’  But jokes aside, the New Orleans mother worries about her child’s language development, which she says is slower than some of her daughter’s peers…”

Medicaid Expansion – Louisiana

  • Louisiana, the U.S. incarceration capital, prepares for expanded Medicaid, By Jayne O’Donnell, June 28, 2016, USA Today: “Here in the state that imprisons more of its citizens per capita than any other, the long-awaited July 1 launch of expanded Medicaid coverage will give those leaving prison a chance to at least continue what many describe as spotty treatment for the conditions that plagued them while behind bars. These include Dolfinette Martin, who has been out of prison for four years with no health coverage or medications to control her bipolar disorder, and Maryam Henderson-Uloho, who spent more than 12 years in prison, and who says she and other inmates seldom sought medical treatment because prison officials would write them up for ‘malingering’ when they did…”
  • Louisiana Medicaid expansion and the promise of economic security, By Kevin Litten, June 30, 3016, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “There was a dignity in getting up to go to work each day, even if it was a low-wage janitorial job. Marigny resident Katherine White had been brought up with working class values: What you have is what you worked for, and friends and family were there to support you if you fell short.  But because White didn’t have health insurance that would cover regular doctor visits and prescriptions to treat her persistent high blood pressure, she fell into a gap. That same gap has affected thousands of New Orleans area residents, plunging many of them into situations that threaten their ability to earn regular wages to support themselves and their families…”
  • A rush to ERs in Louisiana Medicaid expansion? Clinics hope to fill that need, By Kevin Litten, July 1, 3016, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “In most of the 30 states that expanded Medicaid eligibility before Louisiana, emergency rooms often experienced a surge in traffic when tens of thousands of patients were made eligible for the federally subsidized health insurance.  But in New Orleans and the surrounding area, it’s the network of health clinics established in the years after Hurricane Katrina that is expected to absorb many of the new patients. In many ways, the New Orleans area is uniquely positioned to begin treating the estimated 60,000 people who become eligible for Medicaid on Friday (July 1)…”

Medicaid Expansion – Louisiana

Medicaid expands, ERs brace, Ernest Burrell prays, By Richard Rainey, June 10, 2016, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Ernest Burrell poured eight orange, translucent plastic bottles from a bag onto the floor of his Central City apartment. They clattered on the chipped, ruddy concrete. Unpronounceable labels — Spironolactone, Amlodipine, Indapamide and more — were typed in faint serif font above handwritten notes on which pills to take once a day, twice a day, three times a day. He fished a few more vials from a purple plaid knapsack with faded images of cartoon skulls etched in the fabric. In all, a dozen drugs and vitamins doctors say he needs to handle his high blood pressure, failing heart, depression, and Stage 3 kidney disease.  The drugs aren’t optional. Heart attacks killed his mother, his father and his brother in the middle of their lives. His older sister wears a pacemaker. At 52, Burrell has survived two attacks himself. He needs those drugs…”

Public Defender System – Louisiana

On the defensive, By Dylan Walsh, June 2, 2016, The Atlantic: “Concordia Parish extends tall and narrow along the Mississippi River, where the ankle of Louisiana meets the instep. Almost one-third of its 20,000 residents live below the federal poverty line. Strip malls dominate Vidalia, the parish seat. Smaller satellite towns are home to Pentecostal mega-churches, defunct gas stations, and tin-sided shacks selling crawfish for $2 a pound. State highways run through low fields once flush with cotton that was picked by slaves and sold across the river to Natchez.  Near the river is the parish courthouse, a low-slung building made of concrete and set behind a grassy berm. The court opens at 9:30, but the halls fill before then. People sit on the floor outside the double-doors of the courtroom entrance, crowd together on benches, wander around to find the offices where they can get the documents or signatures that they need…”

Medicaid Expansion – Louisiana

Louisiana first state to use food stamp data for Medicaid expansion, By Kevin Litten, May 06, 2016, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Louisiana has gotten federal approval to use data from food stamp applications to qualify people for Medicaid, the first state in the country to use such a method. The approach will allow the Department of Health and Hospitals to automatically qualify tens of thousands of people for the state’s expansion of Medicaid, the federally funded health care program for the poor. It will also reduce the workload for DHH and its contractors as they begin signing up as many as 375,000 people over the next several months for the program that’s now being branded as ‘Healthy Louisiana…'”

State Medicaid Programs

  • Tens of thousands of Ohioans could lose Medicaid coverage under fee proposal, By Catherine Candisky, April 7, 2016, Columbus Dispatch: “Gov. John Kasich’s administration projects tens of thousands of poor Ohioans will lose Medicaid coverage while taxpayers save nearly $1 billion under a plan to charge new fees for the government health coverage and impose penalties on those who miss payments.  The proposal, subject to federal approval, would require those being treated for breast and cervical cancer, teens coming out of foster care and other working-age, nondisabled adults on Medicaid to make monthly payments into a health-savings account to help cover their expenses beginning Jan. 1, 2018…”
  • Support for Medicaid copays plan is crumbling, By Kevin Litten, April 7, 2016, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Legislative support appears to be crumbling for plans to charge Medicaid recipients copays for receiving health care services. Gov. John Bel Edwards threw his support behind copays after Republicans pushed for the measure as part of Medicaid expansion.  But two legislators interviewed Wednesday (April 6) said there are serious doubts about whether there is enough support to get the plan out of committee after health care providers began lobbying against the bill. The House Health and Welfare Committee is scheduled to hear Medicaid copay bills Thursday…”
  • Florida deal could finally improve healthcare for poor children, By Carol Marbin Miller, April 5, 2016, Miami Herald: “Florida health administrators have agreed to settle a long-simmering lawsuit that claims the state’s Medicaid insurance program for needy children is so poorly funded and managed that impoverished youngsters are consigned to a second-rate healthcare system where long waits for access and substandard care are the norm.  A federal court judge in Miami sided with needy children and their doctors in a 153-page ruling in December 2014, saying state lawmakers had so starved the Florida Medicaid program of funding that it was operating in violation of federal law…”

Public Defender System – Louisiana

In Louisiana, the poor lack legal defense, By Campbell Robertson, March 19, 2016, New York Times: “It was arraignment morning at the Vermilion Parish courthouse, the monthly catalog of bad decisions, hot tempers, hard hearts and hard luck. Natasha George, who until recently was one of 10 lawyers defending the poor of the parish, stood before the full gallery of defendants. ‘I’m the public defender in Vermilion Parish, right now the only public defender,’ she said. ‘Due to a lack of funding for our district and our office, today we will be taking applications for our service but you will be put on a wait list.’ Over the next hour, a steady stream of people left the courthouse and headed out into the rain, nearly all holding a sheet of paper explaining that as the poor and accused of Vermilion Parish they were, for now, on their own…”

Public Defenders and Legal Aid

  • Some public defender offices turning away clients, East Baton Rouge ‘treading water’ during budget crisis, By Bryn Stole, February 16, 2016, Baton Rouge Advocate: “Public defenders in East Baton Rouge Parish are, for the time being, weathering the deepening funding crisis better than some other district offices elsewhere in Louisiana. Unlike public defenders in other parishes such as Lafayette, Vermilion, Acadia and Orleans, Mike Mitchell, the chief public defender in East Baton Rouge, said his office hasn’t yet been forced to turn away clients…”
  • $1 hike in court fees aimed at boosting Legal Aid, By Zack Pluhacek, February 17, 2016, Lincoln Journal Star: “A bill to raise state court fees by $1 would provide much-needed funding for Legal Aid of Nebraska, supporters said Wednesday. State Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, who sponsored the legislative measure (LB1098), says it would raise an extra $355,000 a year for the nonprofit law firm that provides free legal help to low-income people in non-criminal cases. Seven in 10 low-income Nebraskans deal with a significant legal issue each year, Morfeld said…”

 

Medicaid Programs – Ohio, Louisiana

  • Should some Ohio Medicaid recipients have to pay premiums?, By Catherine Candisky, January 18, 2016, Columbus Dispatch: “Tens of thousands of low-income Ohioans could lose Medicaid coverage under a state plan to charge premiums and impose penalties on those who miss the payments, advocates for the poor warn…”
  • Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion enrollment could grow to 450,000, By Kevin Litten, January 22, 2016, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “The Department of Health and Hospitals is now forecasting that Louisiana’s Medicaid rolls could swell to nearly 450,000 people after initially projecting that as many as 300,000 uninsured could be covered under the federally funded program.  The department had originally based its projections based on U.S. Census data that counted about 306,000 people as uninsured. But there is also a population of about 130,000 people who are part of the Take Charge Plus program who are eligible to receive screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI) and family planning services for men and women even if they aren’t eligible for Medicaid coverage…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

  • Obama seeks to boost financial assistance for states’ Medicaid expansion, By Louise Radnofsky, January 14, 2016, Wall Street Journal: “The Obama administration is proposing to extend a financial sweetener the federal government offers states that expand their Medicaid programs, in a bid to persuade more to do so before the president leaves office. White House officials said President Barack Obama will ask Congress to include three years of full federal funding of expansion for any state that extends eligibility for the program to most low-income residents. Officials said the proposal will be made in Mr. Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget, to be released Feb. 9…”
  • Bevin’s Medicaid testing ground lies in E. Ky., By Laura Ungar and Chris Kenning, January 14, 2016, Louisville Courier-Journal: “These hardscrabble Appalachian hills so rife with need and illness have been a national testing ground for Obamacare over the past two years, but they may soon test something more fundamental – the age-old struggle to balance personal responsibility with the obligation to care for the poor. The Affordable Care Act gave thousands of residents in Eastern Kentucky, one of the nation’s most vulnerable communities, unprecedented new access to health care – mostly through expansion of taxpayer-funded Medicaid, helping make Kentucky a national model.  But it also raised fears about yet another burden on a fragile state budget and skepticism among conservatives who saw it as out of step with their political ideology…”
  • Louisiana’s new governor signs an order to expand Medicaid, By Richard Fausset and Abby Goodnough, January 12, 2016, New York Times: “On Tuesday, his second day in office, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, fulfilling a campaign promise that will expand health coverage to hundreds of thousands of people in one of the nation’s poorest states…”
  • Why is Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion so important?, By Christina Beck, January 14, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards recently signed controversial Medicaid expansion legislation into law. President Obama visited Louisiana on Thursday in hopes that Medicaid’s success there will spur other conservative states to consider the plan.  Governor Edwards (D) signed Medicaid expansion legislation on Tuesday, his first day in office. He has long been a proponent of the Medicare expansion, which he believes will help Louisiana counter its wellness woes…”

Post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans

Poverty worsens for African-Americans since Hurricane Katrina, Data Center reports, By Richard A. Webster, August 1, 2015, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Despite many of the positive economic gains New Orleans made in the 10 years after Hurricane Katrina, black families continue to struggle while the gap between the rich and poor grows wider, casting a pall over the recovery. In addition, poverty is increasing in the surrounding parishes ‘undermining social cohesion and resilience capacity across the region,’ according to the Data Center. The nonprofit research organization examined income trends as part of ‘The New Orleans Index at 10,’ its report analyzing the region’s recovery since the storm…”

Affordable Housing – New Orleans, LA

Where will working poor live in future New Orleans, if gentrification continues?, By Robert McClendon, July 30, 2015, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Twenty-year-old Jonquille Floyd is on the hunt for an apartment. Like many New Orleanians without much of a formal education, he works in the hospitality industry, washing dishes at a touristy French Quarter restaurant. It’s minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, plus some lagniappe from the wait staff who share tips with him for fetching water and the like. It’s not his long-term plan. He’s going to school in the fall to study welding. In the meantime, he has to find a place to live. At his pay, he thinks he can afford something in the realm of $650, with some help from Covenant House, the shelter where he lives now…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

  • In wake of federal reform, Minnesota’s Medicaid enrollment surges to 1 million, By Glenn Howatt, May 31, 2015, Minneapolis Star Tribune: “Minnesota’s Medicaid rolls have soared past the 1 million mark for the first time, driven by two years of explosive growth in government insurance programs in the wake of federal health reform.  The enrollment surge — one of the largest in the country and the biggest for the state in 35 years — helped push Minnesota’s uninsured rate down to about 5 percent and has enabled more low-income families to receive regular medical care, doctors say. But it also means that Medicaid and its sister program, MinnesotaCare for the working poor, now rank among the state’s largest health insurers, which could place long-run strains on the state budget. Fully one in five Minnesotans now receive health insurance from public programs, up from one in 10 just five years ago…”
  • Louisiana Legislature OKs potential Medicaid expansion, By Marsha Shuler, June 2, 2015, Baton Rouge Advocate: “The Louisiana Senate gave final approval Monday to a measure that would allow the next governor to expand Medicaid. The Senate voted 31-8 for a House-passed resolution establishing a funding source to cover the state’s contribution for the government health insurance expansion…”

Child Poverty – New Orleans, LA

39% of New Orleans children live in poverty, well above national average, report says, By Rebecca Catalanello, February 26, 2015, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Poverty is depriving New Orleans children of healthy brain development and increasing the likelihood that their lives will be steeped in trauma and lifelong learning difficulties.  That’s according to new research from The Data Center, a New Orleans-based research organization that compiles and analyzes data for the purposes of informing public policy discussion.  Thirty-nine percent of New Orleans children live in poverty. That is more than 17 percentage points higher than the national average — and the ninth highest child poverty rate among 39 cities with populations between 275,000 and 600,000, according to the report…”

Child Poverty

  • More than 1 in 4 school-aged children in Louisiana live in poverty, By Emily Lane, December 18, 2014, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “If a link exists between poverty and poor educational outcomes, Louisiana’s rate of school-aged children living below the poverty line may explain some of the state’s K-12 education struggles. Louisiana has the fourth highest rate of school-aged children living in poverty among the 50 United States and Washington, D.C., according to 2013 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Only Mississippi, Washington, D.C., and New Mexico, respectively, have higher rates of poverty among children ages 5-17…”
  • Census data: Across Colorado, child poverty rate slowly improving, By Nathaniel Minor, December 18, 2014, Colorado Public Radio: “The child poverty rates in counties across Colorado are slowly dropping after spiking during the Great Recession. New U.S. Census Bureau data released on Wednesday shows little movement from 2012 to 2013 in the child poverty rate for 44 of Colorado’s 64 counties. Only four counties saw increases of at least two percentage points: Alamosa, Dolores, Fremont and Hinsdale…”