The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its annual Kids Count data book on Wednesday, and the news is not good for Louisiana. The Pelican State slipped one slot to 49th in the national ranking of overall child well-being, and ranks last in economic well-being for children. Louisiana’s poor ranking reflects our high percentage of children living in poverty, the percentage of young children not in school, the percentage of teens who abuse alcohol and drugs and much more. To understand Louisiana’s score, get a greater sense of why its data points are critical and learn about the challenges in measuring it accurately, check out the report:
The 2020 census will determine how much federal funding states and localities receive each year for the next decade. When kids aren’t counted, communities don’t get their fair share of federal dollars for Head Start, school lunches, public health insurance, housing, child care and myriad other programs and services that help young children in low-income families get a healthy start in life. What’s more, the census is used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and to draw legislative districts at other levels of government. When young children, kids living in poor families and children of color aren’t counted, their parents and communities don’t get a full voice in electing leaders who will make critical decisions about their futures, violating one of the fundamental principles of representative democracy.
Vast differences between House and Senate Farm Bills
Congress is debating a comprehensive farm bill this summer, and the competing versions offered by the House and Senate could hardly be more different. The House bill, which was approved earlier this month, would cut funding for food assistance by nearly $19 billion and invest that money in risky new work programs. The Senate proposal – which faces a floor vote this week – would protect and strengthen food assistance while making meaningful investments in workforce development programs for SNAP recipients. Read more on this issue from Davante Lewis on LBP’s Two Cents blog:
There is a long history of bipartisan commitment to protecting and strengthening SNAP, which has long been one of the nation’s most effective anti-hunger and poverty reduction programs. It delivers nutrition assistance primarily to children, veterans, people with disabilities and seniors. In 2015, SNAP lifted more than 8 million people above the poverty line – including nearly 4 million children. Between 2009 and 2012, SNAP kept 207,000 people out of poverty in Louisiana, including 100,000 children.
In Trump trade war, Louisiana loses
Louisiana’s economy stands to lose more ground than any other state from the international trade war started by President Donald Trump. As Katia Dmitrieva of Bloomberg Business News reports, the tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union are likely to slow the state’s economic output by 7 percent over the next five years in a state where one in six jobs is tied to international trade. Louisiana has three major international ports, and our port in Gramercy sees more product each year than any other port in the country:
Aluminum shipments through New Orleans are half what they were at this time last year, according to Harbor Intelligence, an analysis firm. In the first quarter, the amount of traded goods slowed along the Port of South Louisiana: Animal-feed exports declined 31 percent from the same period last year, soybean exports are down 20 percent, and imports of chemicals and fertilizers have been halved.The slowdown doesn’t bode well for the half-million Louisianans whose jobs rely on that flow of goods.
Trump health care order threatens market stability
A recent executive order from President Donald Trump expanding access to “association health plans” has insurers, providers and policy experts scrambling to determine potential market impacts. The association health plans, which allow smaller businesses and self-employed people to join together to buy group health insurance, are typically more affordable than other forms of coverage, but those savings come with a cost. The newly available plans won’t be required to offer coverage for health services deemed essential by the Affordable Care Act. Sam Karlin of The Advocate writes:
Making plans more affordable will likely mean they offer worse coverage, critics say, which means consumers, who often aren’t well-versed in the intricacies of health insurance, could be left with insurance that doesn’t cover what they need. Jeanie Donovan, policy director at the Louisiana Budget Project, also worries the expanded AHPs will mean workers who get federal subsidies to buy individual market plans will no longer have access to those federal dollars if their employer buys into an AHP. Plus, the AHP expansion would likely draw people from the individual market–which in recent years has seen double digit rate hikes and an increasingly sick population–further destabilizing that pool.
Number of the Day:
29 percent – The percentage of Louisiana children living below the poverty line, significantly higher than the national average of 19 percent. (Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation)