Some good news from Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute: The uninsured rate for America’s children dropped to historic lows in 2015 – a trend that experts say is related to the broader expansion of health coverage as part of the federal Affordable Care Act. More than 95 percent of U.S. children had health coverage last year, as 1.7 million children gained coverage since 2013 through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. In Louisiana the news is even better, as only 3.6 percent of kids were uncovered last year, as 23,000 more children received coverage during the previous two years. Georgetown’s Joan Alker has more:
States with high rates of uninsurance are concentrated in the Mountain West, but also include Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. The South is home to 38 percent of all children but fully half (50 percent) of all uninsured children. One in five uninsured kids now live in Texas. While children saw improvements across age groups, racial categories, and income ranges, some groups continue to lag behind. For example, Latino children continue to be disproportionately uninsured among the remaining uninsured kids.
Paid family leave and Louisiana
The United States is the world’s only industrialized country without a federal law guaranteeing workers paid leave for maternity or when they get ill. Low-income workers are far more likely than highly paid workers to go without paid leave. With Congress failing to act, some states have taken it upon themselves to pass such policies. But not Louisiana, where the Legislature has balked. Tulane University public health researchers Phyllis Raabe and Katherine Theall tried to change that last year, with the help of state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson. They analyze what happened in a new article for the academic journal Women’s Health Issues, which explains how Louisiana women are doing compared to women elsewhere:
In the vacuum of focus in Louisiana on these policies, the initial strategy was to begin illuminating the needs for and benefits of these paid leaves. This first step was accomplished. The swift submission of legislation was an important development and a welcome second step achieved sooner than originally anticipated. Next steps will involve more communication about paid leave benefits, and, as was important in the paid leave campaigns in other states, this will need to be coupled with greater efforts to mobilize a broader coalition of supportive organizations, voters, and legislators to attain enactments of paid leaves.
Anti-poverty starts at year one
Emerging research about the lifetime effects of poverty and other stressful conditions on very young children is prompting an array of researchers and advocates to say that anti-poverty efforts should start as early as possible. Ann Courter, blogging for The Shriver Institute, explains
The negative effects of poverty on children from birth to age 3 are damaging, and the consequences of those experiences can shape a child’s entire life trajectory. This is why it is important for advocates working to end poverty to focus on programs and resources available to infants and babies. Effective programs — including home visiting, Early Head Start, quality child care, and Early Intervention — along with safe housing, and access to healthcare — can help ameliorate poverty’s proven ill effects. Racial disparities in program access must be understood and addressed so that we do not perpetuate inequities by denying some children the supports that provide optimal, healthy development.
New Orleans leads affordable housing discussion
With the cost of housing rising faster in New Orleans than other parts of Louisiana, city’s Planning Commission is evaluating whether developers should be required or incentivized to build affordable housing as a condition of building new residential developments in middle or upper-income neighborhoods. It’s part of a five-year affordable housing plan unveiled in June by Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration. The Advocate’s Jessica Williams reports:
That plan is in keeping with a controversial U.S. Department of Urban Development rule that cities across the country must work to foster racial and class integration in their neighborhoods in coming years if they want to continue to receive federal funding. By requiring homebuilders to include low-income properties in well-to-do city areas and by investing in other areas that have long struggled economically, Landrieu administration officials said, they hope to combat segregation and housing discrimination. However, it’s likely that the Planning Commission and the council will hear an earful from developers who oppose the move. The Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans has said such policies reduce, not boost, the amount of affordable housing, because landlords raise the rents on units they aren’t required to keep affordable in order to make up for income they lose on the cheaper units they are ordered to provide.
Number of the Day
$555 million- Amount that class-action attorneys will be paid in connection with the BP Deepwater Horizon litigation. [Source: NOLA.com]