State Children’s Health Insurance Program

  • Millions of kids may lose health insurance over missed deadline by Congress, By Elizabeth Chuck, November 17, 2017, NBC News: “The diagnosis was dire: Roland Williams, a St. Louis boy with a megawatt smile and a penchant for painting, had an extremely rare form of lung cancer, oncologists told his mother in May 2016. ‘They didn’t think he would make it to see his 10th birthday,’ Myra Gregory said. ‘But thankfully the insurance was covering everything at that time, so we were happy to make it to see number 10 and 11.’  Roland is covered under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a federal health insurance program that provides inexpensive coverage to nearly 9 million children in low-income families…”
  • Nevada wants $11.3M for Children’s Health Insurance Program, By Jessie Bekker, November 20, 2017, Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Nevada has requested an extra $11.3 million in federal funding to continue the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program while Congress decides if it will renew funding for the decades-old program…”
  • Minnesota dipping into own funds to keep kids’ health program running, By Michael Ollove, November 22, 2017, Stateline: “The state of Minnesota has run out of federal funds for its Children’s Health Insurance Program this month, requiring the state to contribute more of its own resources to keep the health plan in operation. It appears to be the first state to run out of federal funds for the program since Congress failed to meet a September deadline to reauthorize the program…”
  • End of Children’s Health Insurance Program looming in Colorado, Virginia, By Michael Ollove, November 21, 2017, Stateline: “Colorado and Virginia are preparing to send out letters to low-income families who get health services through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, notifying them that the program will end in those states in two months unless it is reauthorized by Congress before then…”

Medicaid Expansion – Nevada

High-stakes health-care debate hits Nevada’s Medicaid program, By Ben Botkin, August 5, 2017, Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Marta Jensen, Nevada’s point person on Medicaid, watched on C-SPAN recently as the U.S. Senate debated health care reform. She had four different bills pulled up on her computer. The stakes were high for Nevada. Each of the bills would have repealed at least parts of the Affordable Care Act and affected Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides poor and disabled Americans with medical coverage. More than one-fifth of the state’s residents now receive their health insurance through Medicaid…”

Rural Health Care – Nevada, Kentucky

  • Health-care ‘have-nots’: Nevada’s rural residents face fraying safety net, By Pashtana Usufzy, November 19, 2016, Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Tears well up in the eyes of lifelong Tonopah resident Acacia Hathaway as she talks about last year’s closure of Nye Regional Medical Center, the only hospital within 100 miles of her home.  ‘It was … like the end of the world here,’ says the 24-year-old mother of three, including a daughter who suffers from Goltz syndrome, a rare illness that requires frequent care from medical specialists.  Now, instead of visiting the local hospital when 4-year-old Ella suffers one of her seemingly inevitable infections, Hathaway or her husband, Justin, drive to Las Vegas – three hours each way. That’s in addition to twice-monthly trips for regular appointments with her doctors — all eight of them…”
  • In depressed rural Kentucky, worries mount over Medicaid cutbacks, By Phi Galewitz, November 19, 2016, National Public Radio: “For Freida Lockaby, an unemployed 56-year-old woman who lives with her dog in an aging mobile home in Manchester, Ky., one of America’s poorest places, the Affordable Care Act was life altering.  The law allowed Kentucky to expand Medicaid in 2014 and made Lockaby – along with 440,000 other low-income state residents – newly eligible for free health care under the state-federal insurance program. Enrollment gave Lockaby her first insurance in 11 years…”

Child Poverty – Nevada

Kids Count: Nevada poverty rate for children exceeds national average, By Bethany Barnes, June 18, 2014, Las Vegas Review-Journal: Despite an economy that is starting to turn around, the number of children living in poverty in Nevada is slightly above the national average, according to an annual analysis of children’s well-being released Wednesday. The Nevada Kids Count report, sponsored by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, looked at seven indicators of well-being, and the Silver State saw small gains made in almost all of those areas. Poverty was the one exception. In Nevada, 23.4 percent of children lived in poverty in 2012, a 1.2 percentage point increase from 2011. That is higher than the national average, which is 22.6 percent. The number of children in Nevada living in poverty has climbed 8.4 percentage points since 2007, when the Great Recession began. . .”

2012 Kids Count Report – Western States

  • Oregon tumbles in report on kids, By Saerom Yoo, July 24, 2012, Statesman Journal: “An annual report that ranks the 50 states on the well-being of their children says that Oregon’s place has taken a dive.  The 23rd Kids Count Data Book, released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranks Oregon 33rd — a drop of 15 spots since last year.  The foundation measures child well-being using statistics about economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.  In previous reports, Oregon consistently ranked in the top 20 because of its positive performance on child health care. This year, the foundation focused more on economic and community characteristics, which are the indicators weighing on the state’s children, according to the report…”
  • Nevada takes hit on kids’ well-being, By Siobhan McAndrew, July 25, 2012, Reno Gazette-Journal: “Compared to the rest of the country, Nevada’s kids are more likely to live in poverty, come from a single-parent home and less likely to attend preschool or graduate high school on time.  Trailing just behind New Mexico and Mississippi, a report ranked Nevada 48th in child welfare indicators.  The low rankings in education, health and economic situations affect a child’s ability to succeed and thrive, according to the 2012 Kids Count Data Book released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The nonprofit has been collecting data from states since 1990 in an effort to create new initiatives and lobby lawmakers…”
  • Calif. sinks to 41st on kids’ well-being, By Neal J. Riley, July 25, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle: “Ranked highly among the states on child welfare issues last year, California is now one of the worst, according to a new report.  The Golden State tumbled from last year’s position of 16th to 41st on children’s overall well-being, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national philanthropy group for children, reported in its annual rankings Wednesday…”
  • Kids Count report: Number of Utah kids in poverty up 45%, By Cathy Mckitrick, July 24, 2012, Salt Lake Tribune: “Utah is among 43 states where the number of children living in poverty has increased, according to the 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book released Wednesday.  From 2005 to 2010, the number of Utah children living below the federal poverty threshold — $23,050 in gross annual income for a family of four— rose from 11 percent to 16 percent, roughly a 45 percent increase.  However, the Annie E. Casey Foundation study also ranks Utah 11th in the nation in terms of overall child well-being…”
  • Wyoming ranks in top half of states for child well-being, By Joshua Wolfson, July 25, 2012, Casper Star-Tribune: “Wyoming’s child and teen death rate inched up during the second half of the past decade, even as the national rate declined 15 percent, according to figures released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  The rate of child and teenage deaths in Wyoming rose from 45 to 47, per 100,000, during the years 2005 to 2009. The national average decreased from 32 to 27 deaths over that same period.  The disturbing trend contributed to Wyoming’s poor health score in the foundation’s annual Kids Count report, which measures child well-being. The state ranked 47th in the nation in the health category…”
  • Montana behind neighbors in children’s well-being report, By Charles S. Johnson, July 25, 2012, The Missoulian: “Montana ranked 28th best nationally in some key indicators of children’s well-being, but once again trailed its four neighboring states, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2012 Kids Count Data Book showed Tuesday.  The private foundation ranked states on their overall child well-being using what it calls four ‘domains,’ or categories: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. Within each category, there are four sets of measurements…”
  • National report gives Arizona poor marks in child well-being, By Michelle Reese, July 26, 2012, East Valley Tribune: “Arizona is not doing well by its children, according to an annual report released this week by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  In fact, the 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book shows only four states in the country are doing worse in terms of the overall well-being of children. Arizona dropped nine rankings from last year’s report.  Using economic, education, health, and family and community facts related to children in Arizona from 2005 through 2011, the foundation determined Arizona sorely needs to make improvements to a number of areas, including children’s access to health care and early childhood programs…”

Kids Count Report – Nevada

Number of Nevada children living in poverty climbs, By Trevon Milliard, July 10, 2012, Las Vegas Review-Journal: “One out of every five Nevada children lives in poverty, marking the highest youth poverty rate in the state’s recent history, according to the newly released 2011 installment of an annual report that tracks the well-being of children. ‘It’s not a surprising finding but a disappointing one,’ Stephen Brown, executive director of Nevada Kids Count, said Tuesday. The increase is a marked one from 2001, when one out of 10 children lived in poverty. The report charted improvements in other areas: the rates of teen births, infant mortalities, child deaths, teen deaths and high school dropouts all declined, according to the report, which is based on statistics obtained from numerous public agencies and state sources…”

States and Jobless Benefits

  • 99 week maximum for jobless benefits may drop as low as 59 weeks, By Olivera Perkins, January 26, 2012, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “People thrust out of work in Ohio might have to settle for a much shorter period of unemployment benefits. Jobless workers here have been able to count on 99 weeks of benefits, but the maximum could fall to as low as 59 weeks. That possibility raises a divisive question: Is 99 weeks — almost two years — too long to draw jobless benefits…?”
  • Jobless benefits to expire unless Pa. House acts, By Laura Olson, January 31, 2012, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Thousands of Pennsylvanians will see their federally funded unemployment benefits expire after this week, with legislation to extend those checks lingering in the state House of Representatives. A pending measure, which passed the state Senate last week, would offer 13 additional weeks of benefits to the state’s jobless residents. The federal funding was approved by Congress in December but requires the state to tweak its unemployment compensation rules in order to receive those dollars. That bill is awaiting consideration by a House panel, which has a vote scheduled for Monday. Legislative staffers say the belatedly approved benefits would be retroactive, but pressures to also enact broader changes to the state’s unemployment compensation system could further hold up that assistance…”
  • Study: Safety net misses many jobless in Nevada, By Ed Vogel, January 30, 2012, Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Las Vegans Dylan Wikoff and Jorge Suescun Hijuelos know firsthand the downward spiral that occurs once you lose your job and then exhaust your unemployment benefits without finding work. ‘I ended up homeless on Fremont Street,’ said Wikoff, a 36-year-old Marine Corps veteran who was laid off more than two years ago from a sales job at a construction supply company. ‘It was a slow downward spiral for me,’ said Hijuelos, 51, a longtime union construction worker who had never been without work for more than a few weeks until the completion of the CityCenter project. ‘I sold my car, sold my bedroom set, sold everything to pay my rent. I went from a beautiful condo to renting rooms by the week. I slept in a couple of fields.’ These polite and bright men are not unusual. They actually are some of the lucky ones in the never-ending recession in Nevada…”
  • Tension rises over Maine bill tackling unemployment insurance fraud, By Steve Mistler, January 30, 2012, Lewiston Sun Journal: “A controversial bill that would increase the penalties for unemployment fraud and the qualifications to receive out-of-work benefits is meeting stiff resistance from worker advocates. The proposal, LD 1725, was presented by the Department of Labor, which argued that an increase in unemployment claims has been accompanied by an increased possibility of fraud. Additionally, employer advocates are championing a provision in the proposal that would stop exempting vacation pay from the waiting period to receive benefits. Opponents, however, say the bill’s proposal to increase potential criminal penalties for unemployment fraud from a maximum of one year to 10 years in prison is extreme for a state that has one of the nation’s lowest unemployment fraud rates. In addition, they say the bill’s increased work-search mandates will force unemployed workers to take a job well beneath their skill and wage level…”
  • Senators want to end jobless benefits for fired workers, By Gina Smith, January 26, 2012, The State: “State senators said Wednesday that they want to make sure that workers who were fired cannot get state unemployment benefits in the future. A Senate panel Wednesday advanced a bill that would prevent workers fired for misconduct from receiving any state unemployment benefits. Under current law, these workers can get jobless benefits for from five to 20 weeks, depending on the type and severity of their workplace infraction. The fired workers still would be eligible for up to 58 weeks of federal unemployment benefits under the proposal…”

Recession and Child Well-being

Recession’s toll touches children, By Michael Martinez, January 14, 2012, Reno Gazette-Journal: “Heidi Lanini and her four kids live an austere life — by necessity. Lanini, 37, has lived in her southeast Reno apartment for eight years but hasn’t worked in six for a variety of reasons. These include health issues, the inability to find a new job as the economy soured and a lack of training in the technological skills required for her work. And then there are her kids, who require resources she has struggled to provide, leaving the children living on the edge, struggling with everyday life, school work and uncertainty about their futures. She and her family have survived on subsidized housing, food stamps, welfare and Medicare. Lanini’s family could be a portrait of a growing national trend described in a report on how the recession has affected families — particularly children. The report released by Washington, D.C.-based First Focus shows that Nevada children fared worse than American children overall on several key economic indicators of child well-being…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Food stamps surge in West, By Jim Carlton, March 16, 2011, Wall Street Journal: “Before the recession hit, Idaho, Nevada and Utah had some of the lowest rates of food stamp use in the nation. It was a boom time in a region that has always prided itself on self-reliance and a disdain for government handouts. But since the recession began, these three states have the fastest growth rates in the nation of participation in the federal program, recently released figures show. Utah saw a nearly 34% jump in food-stamp participation in December from the same month a year earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nevada had the second fastest growth rate at 25%, followed by Idaho at 24%. For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, those three states plus Wyoming ranked among the top 10 in food-stamp growth, with Idaho leading with a 42% jump from 2009, according to USDA figures…”

Exhaustion of Jobless Benefits

An uncertain future after jobless benefits expire, By Cristina Silva (AP), January 29, 2011, Washington Post: “The portraits of his dead father are among the few mementoes Bud Meyers is certain he will take with him when he is forced from his home of five years next month because he cannot pay the rent. His prized collection of mystery novels, the bedroom set he was once proud to purchase new and anything else that can’t fit into the trunk of a car must be left behind. More than two years after Meyers lost his job as a Las Vegas Strip bartender and nearly eight months after he exhausted his unemployment benefits, it has come to this: a careful inventory of a life’s possessions and the hopeless embrace of a future as a middle-aged homeless man. ‘I can’t believe this is happening to my life,’ Meyers, 55, said on a recent afternoon, as he surveyed the one-bedroom apartment he must soon abandon. ‘It’s a social holocaust.’ Meyers, who is single and childless, is among a growing number of men and women who no longer qualify for unemployment benefits because they have been out of work for so long…”

Medicaid and the Disabled – Nevada, Colorado

  • Disabled Nevadans could lose aides under state cuts, By Ray Hagar, December 5, 2010, Reno Gazette-Journal: “Meg Procaccini was born with cerebral palsy. Unable to move much, the 46-year-old spends her days between her bed and wheelchair in an apartment building for the disabled at William J. Raggio Plaza. Her Medicaid covers the cost of a personal-care aide, who operates a lift that gets her from bed to chair and back to bed again. The aide means everything to the quality of life she tries to maintain. Coverage of the personal-care aides for more than 6,540 disabled Nevadans is listed among the state Department of Health and Human Services proposed cuts, Director Mike Willden said. ‘If they take the aides out completely, I won’t be able to get out of bed,’ Procaccini said. ‘I will just be in my building alone. If they do these budget cuts and take the aides away from us, I won’t be able to live my life.’ As part of Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval’s $1.2 billion in proposed budget cuts, Health and Human Services will need to trim $200 million from its current budget or $500 million from its requested budget for the 2012-13 cycle. The aides are a big-ticket item, with $53 million requested to cover their costs in the next biennium…”
  • State struggles to help disabled residents create independent life, By Laura Frank and Jennifer Lafleur, December 5, 2010, The Coloradoan: “Nearly one out of every four residents in Larimer County nursing homes wants out, an analysis of state and federal records shows. Colorado – which was the birthplace of the independent living movement three decades ago – now is struggling to help disabled residents receive care at home instead of at a facility. And that’s costing the state money. ‘Long-term care in general is costing the state more and more each year, just as more people need long-term care services and the costs of care continues to increase,’ said Tim Cortez, hired by the state in June to reform long-term care with the goals of serving more people and saving money. In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court said people who can live independently have that right. Keeping them in nursing homes is a form of segregation, the court has said, and that violates their civil rights. But Colorado doesn’t have the resources or the infrastructure to assist all those seeking a change of living situation. And while the overall nursing home population is shrinking, the number of working-age Coloradans in nursing homes is actually growing…”

State Budget Cuts – Nevada

Mergers, program cuts recommended to trim state budget, By Cy Ryan, October 29, 2010, Las Vegas Sun: “Merging agencies, shifting programs to local government and cutting benefits to low-income residents are among proposals to save millions of dollars as the state faces a financial crunch. The fiscal staff of the Legislature on Thursday outlined more than 20 ideas for efficiencies and savings in the upcoming budget. State agencies have produced initial budgets with 10 percent reductions. The legislative financial division has additional suggestions the 2011 session might consider…”

Funding Formula for Homeless Programs – Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas shortchanged in federal funding for homeless, By By Joe Schoenmann, August 18, 2010, Las Vegas Sun: “Homeless numbers in greater Las Vegas have topped 13,000, with the recession leaving people jobless, then pushing parents and children out of their homes and onto the street. It’s happening all around the country, but the human toll here could be compounded because federal formulas lead to uneven homeless funding, giving cities such as Pittsburgh more than $10,000 to serve each homeless person while the Las Vegas area receives about $500 per individual. Southern Nevada has 2 percent of the country’s homeless, but gets just 0.4 percent of $1.7 billion in funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Funding over the years has fluctuated, providing $5.8 million in 2005, $7 million in 2007 and $6.8 million in 2009…”

State Unemployment Rates

  • State’s unemployment rate hits record in March, By Cy Ryan, April 16, 2010, Las Vegas Sun: “The jobless rate in Nevada hit a record high of 13.4 percent in March, the 15th consecutive month of double digit unemployment. The jobless rate in the Las Vegas area, however, declined from 13.9 to 13.8 percent, but it also was the 15th straight month of double digit numbers…”
  • R.I. jobless rate dips slightly in March, By Cynthia Needham, April 16, 2010, Providence Journal: “For the first time in nearly four years, Rhode Island’s monthly jobless rate inched down ever so slightly to 12.6 percent in March, while local businesses saw modest hiring gains, the state planned to announce Friday. But economists warn that the numbers may be misleading. For one thing, the rates are based on monthly surveys that were conducted several weeks before the flooding that temporarily swallowed thousands of jobs across the state. Meanwhile, the small uptick in hiring is likely due to part-time U.S. Census jobs that will only last a few months…”
  • Florida’s jobless rate hits record 12.3 percent, By Kelli Kennedy (AP), April 16, 2010, Miami Herald: “Gary Salloum has sent out close to 300 resumes since losing his job as a civil designer in 2008. He’s even applied to be a stock boy at a grocery store. With a job history that ranges from being a machinist to working in a restaurant, 53-year-old Salloum says it’s hard to believe he’s one of more than 1.1 million jobless Floridians. Unemployment hit a record high at 12.3 percent in March, making it the second straight record-setting month since the state began tracking it in 1970, according to figures released Friday…”

Health Care Reform and State Medicaid Programs

  • Health-care plan to cost state $7B a year unless lawmakers restore cuts, By Howard Fischer, March 23, 2010, Arizona Daily Star: “The new federal health-care plan could cost Arizona $7 billion a year if lawmakers here don’t restore the cuts they made to health-care programs, critics say. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, said the scheduled elimination of KidsCare on June 15 would put the state at odds with a provision in the new federal program requiring states to maintain their programs as they are when President Obama signs the bill. She said the threat isn’t simply losing the $3 of federal money for each dollar of state funds for the program that provides nearly free care for the children of the working poor…”
  • Repeal of children’s program puts Arizona’s Medicaid funding at risk under health overhaul, By Paul Davenport (AP), March 22, 2010, Los Angeles Times: “A controversial decision by Arizona lawmakers to eliminate a health insurance program for poor children puts it at risk of losing billions of dollars in federal Medicaid funding under the historic health care bill approved by Congress. Arizona last week became the first state to eliminate its Children’s Health Insurance Program, removing an estimated 38,000 kids from the rolls starting in June in a budget-cutting move by Gov. Jan Brewer and the Republican-led Legislature…”
  • Health care bill would bring higher state Medicaid costs, By Cy Ryan, March 22, 2010, Las Vegas Sun: “The health bill passed by the House of Representatives Sunday would cost Nevada taxpayers an extra $613 million from 2014-2019, to provide health care to the needy. According to early state estimates, the bill would make an additional 70,000 residents eligible for Medicaid. The state would be mandated to cover another 8,000 individuals who are now eligible but have not applied to be covered by the state health insurance program for the poor. About 209,000 Nevadans are currently covered by Medicaid…”
  • Adding to Medicaid rolls won’t be easy, Texas officials say, By Corrie MacLaggan and Tim Eaton, March 22, 2010, Austin American Statesman: “As Texas considers how to add 2 million people to Medicaid and CHIP over 10 years as part of the federal health care legislation heading to President Barack Obama, state health officials say that won’t be easy. The same enrollment system that is already struggling to enroll Texans in food stamps as quickly as the federal government requires would need to be ramped up soon to prepare for additions to Medicaid and CHIP that would start in 2014. Health reform is a ‘hurricane heading our way in terms of what it would do’ to the enrollment system, said Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Commission…”

State Budgets and Social Services

  • Cuts would dramatically shrink Nevada safety net, By David McGrath Schwartz, February 9, 2010, Las Vegas Sun: “During Gov. Jim Gibbons’ State of the State speech Monday, he told Nevadans to prepare for a smaller state government. Although the list of what he wants to jettison is not finalized, and some of these cuts need legislative approval, lawmakers privately have signaled that many will go through. The cuts would run from the dramatic – allowing more mentally ill to become homeless – to the mundane – eliminating vacant positions…”
  • Hawaii DHS restructuring may cut 200 jobs, close 50 offices, By Mary Vorsino, February 9, 2010, Honolulu Advertiser: “More than 200 state workers who process applications for government assistance programs could lose their jobs, their union said, and at least 50 eligibility offices statewide could close under a cost-cutting proposal that advocates are worried will make it harder for the poor to access key social services. The state Department of Human Services said the planned reorganization is aimed at improving efficiency and lowering costs, but also stressed that the changes are still in the planning stages and no decisions have yet been made…”
  • Cuts outlined to shore up social services, By Shira Schoenberg, February 6, 2010, Concord Monitor: “The Department of Health and Human Services laid out dozens of proposed cuts yesterday, in an attempt to fill an anticipated $43 million hole in its budget for this fiscal year. Hospitals will bear a large portion of the cuts, but the impact will be felt everywhere, from child care centers to nursing homes. Most of the shortfall is due to the economy, which has driven more individuals to seek state services…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • Medicaid change could affect more than illegals, By Mark Andersen, January 27, 2010, Lincoln Journal Star: “A number of legal citizens in Nebraska could lose prenatal Medicaid coverage alongside 1,000 illegal immigrants because of a federal rule clarification. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services told state senators Jan. 15 the state was notified that federal law prohibits Medicaid coverage for people who are not documented, except in emergencies. That includes prenatal care for illegal immigrants. But the same rule may affect some legal residents in two groups: pregnant teens living with parents and pregnant adults living in borderline low-income households. The expected change for both groups results from a federal demand that Nebraska stop using eligibility standards that count the unborn as people for purposes of Medicaid eligibility…”
  • Officials disagree on who can make Medicaid decision for illegals, By Mark Andersen, January 28, 2010, Lincoln Journal Star: “Nebraska Medicaid could continue to cover prenatal care for poor illegal immigrants, but that must be the Legislature’s call, the state’s top Medicaid official said Thursday. ‘I’m a firm believer in prenatal care,’ said Vivianne Chaumont, director of the state’s division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care, ‘but the feds make policy. The Legislature makes policy.’ In light of LB403, the law approved last year that denies illegal immigrants the right to public benefits, jobs or contracts, Chaumont said she will not assume authority to extend that coverage. Staff attorneys with Nebraska Appleseed argued that Chaumont could act without official legislative action, which could be important now that the deadline has passed for introducing new bills…”
  • Senate affirms Medicaid cut, By Tim Carpenter, January 27, 2010, Topeka Capital-Journal: “The legislative session’s first major showdown in a caustic state budget battle Wednesday culminated with Senate affirmation of a $22 million reduction in Medicaid funding recommended by Gov. Mark Parkinson. An attempt to delete the cut to a program providing health care to the poor failed 16-24, with more than a dozen Republicans joining with Democrats to preserve this controversial element of the governor’s plan for balancing the current budget. The Senate bill was then forwarded to the House for consideration. Parkinson proposed the 10 percent reduction in Medicaid payments to hospitals, nursing homes and clinics to help close a deficit exacerbated by unexpected declines in state tax revenue. Adjustments outlined by the governor were part of a larger package of spending cuts he believes sufficient to meet government obligations through June…”
  • Gibbons drops proposal to end state Medicaid program, By David McGrath Schwartz, January 27, 2010, Las Vegas Sun: “Gov. Jim Gibbons has decided not to push for Nevada to drop out of Medicaid, citing spending patterns, the number of people served under the public health plan and the ‘apparent demise of the federal health care reform.’ In a news release, Gibbons warned that spending has increased an average of 10 percent a year over the past decade, and ‘undercuts our ability to fund other state responsibilities and is crowding out education, public safety and infrastructure…'”

Section 8 Housing Vouchers – Nevada

Changes in public housing bring fresh start for families, By Timothy Pratt, November 16, 2009, Las Vegas Sun: “Shea Hampton-Earl’s living room is empty, but her head is full of ideas. This spring, she will plant a garden with tomatoes and collard greens in the back yard of the house she just moved into. And in a few years, the 36-year-old mother of seven wants to buy the house with its path that leads to a park in the back and a tree-lined street in the front. Only two months ago, Hampton-Earl’s front door opened onto the pop of pistols and the hum of police helicopters overhead. There were no gardens, no parks. Hampton-Earl’s family lived in one of the 250 apartments at Ernie Cragin Terraces, a public housing complex scheduled to be turned into dust early next year. The single mother and her children are living through the biggest change in Las Vegas Valley public housing since the 1940s…”

TANF and Immigrants – Nevada

More welfare going to parents here illegally, By Timothy Pratt, October 27, 2009, Las Vegas Sun: “Jose Silva had just obtained an appointment in three weeks to see whether his family would be eligible for monthly welfare benefits. ‘Now I just have to not eat until then,’ he joked, standing with his wife on the sidewalk outside the state office on Flamingo Road. Silva has been without a steady job for a year, one of tens of thousands of workers still reeling from the bottom dropping out of the Las Vegas Valley’s construction industry, the region’s second-largest employer after tourism. If approved for assistance, the Silvas will belong to the fastest-growing category of families in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Bearing the confusing government label of ‘non-qualified non-citizens,’ this category refers to families with parents who are not U.S. citizens and children who are. Since the recession began in late 2007, the average monthly caseload of these families has grown 96 percent, according to state records. About 4,250 of these families of mixed immigration status were on the program’s rolls in September, making it the second-largest category in TANF, after single-parent households…”

States and Proposed Medicaid Expansion

  • States resist Medicaid growth, By Shailagh Murray, October 5, 2009, Washington Post: “The nation’s governors are emerging as a formidable lobbying force as health-care reform moves through Congress and states overburdened by the recession brace for the daunting prospect of providing coverage to millions of low-income residents. The legislation the Senate Finance Committee is expected to approve this week calls for the biggest expansion of Medicaid since its creation in 1965. Under the Senate bill and a similar House proposal, a patchwork state-federal insurance program targeted mainly at children, pregnant women and disabled people would effectively become a Medicare for the poor, a health-care safety net for all people with an annual income below $14,404. Whether Medicaid can absorb a huge influx of beneficiaries is a matter of grave concern to many governors, who have cut low-income health benefits — along with school funding, prison construction, state jobs and just about everything else — to cope with the most severe economic downturn in decades…”
  • Proposed Medicaid Expansion: Plan could be costly to Nevada, By Ed Vogel, October 5, 2009, Las Vegas Journal-Review: “The number of Nevadans receiving free medical care would nearly double by 2015 under provisions of the health care bill being developed in the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. A record 222,022 residents now receive medical care through the state-federal Medicaid program. That total would increase by 217,000 under the national health care bill, according to an analysis done by the state Health Care Financing and Policy Division. The move to expand Medicaid comes at a time when the state can least afford it, although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has proposed an amendment to prevent Nevada from absorbing additional costs under the health care bill. But Charles Duarte, administrator of the division, is not convinced the amendment will be approved. If it fails, then Duarte said Nevada would be responsible for 13 percent to 18 percent of the costs of adding the 217,000 new Medicaid recipients, along with what it already pays for the current recipients. Providing Medicaid to Nevadans already costs the state about $1.5 billion a year, of which $450 million is state funds, Duarte said. Medicaid is the second most costly state government expenditure, trailing only the funding of public education…”