Being evicted from a home can be disruptive and traumatizing for a family, but is an all too common practice in cities around the country, as demonstrated in the 2017 book Evicted. Recently, a controversial New Orleans Civil District Court pamphlet about eviction procedures has brought the issue into the spotlight in the Crescent City. While groups are debating the validity of the information in the brochure, one Loyola University law professor says we should be thinking about why evictions are so prevalent in New Orleans that a brochure is necessary. Davida Finger in a letter to The Advocate:
The vast majority of tenants hauled into court on eviction matters are not represented by attorneys and eviction hearings can be completed in a matter of minutes. My research on First City Court evictions over the last several years shows that from 2015, the annual number of eviction cases filed has increased steadily each year. An analysis of demographic information in census bureau tracts where evictions are most heavily ordered shows that Orleans neighborhoods that are primarily African-American are more likely to have higher numbers of evictions ordered. The real issue behind this story is that landlord-tenant law is an area in need of legislative reform to protect tenants from being trapped in uninhabitable units and to create disincentives against bad actors who commit security deposit theft and other unscrupulous practices.
Farm bill debate resumes
The 56-member House and Senate farm bill conference committee is holding its first public meeting this morning, with the task of reconciling the vastly different proposals passed by the House and Senate. The leaders of the conference committee have committed to delivering “certainty and predictability to our farmers and families as quickly as possible,” but that may be easier said than done. Kevin Freking and Matthew Daly for the Associated Press:
Congress has until Sept. 30 to reauthorize farm programs that, among other things, provide payments to farmers when prices for major crops decline. Pleas from farm groups for action come as they deal with the Trump administration’s decision to use tariffs as leverage in trade disputes; major trading partners have responded with tariffs of their own on farm products from the U.S. The farm bill also would extend food aid for low-income Americans. House-passed legislation significantly tightens existing work requirements for aid recipients, an approach Trump has said he hopes makes it into the final bill. But the Senate version takes a more bipartisan approach and makes only modest changes to the food stamps, formally known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Public health payoffs hard to measure
Lawmakers are typically eager to see the returns on public investments made while they’re in office, often with an eye toward using those achievements as an argument for reelection. But what if the payoff isn’t something that’s easy to measure or highlight, but rather something bad that didn’t happen? Such is the case with many public health investments, which can make it challenging to find champions for public health investments even though the long-term savings are often substantial. Austin Frakt and Aaron E. Carroll with the New York Times’ Upshot Blog talked to several public health experts about the issue:
Karen DeSalvo, a former New Orleans health commissioner, said: “Of the $1 trillion in federal spending, only 1 percent is on public health — an infrastructure that saves lives” and that can “reduce suffering and improve community well-being and vitality.” We could do a better job at providing access to the things we know that already work. Dr. [Vivek] Murthy also argued that “the way the Congressional Budget Office scores health legislation does not recognize much of the cost savings from prevention, which creates a further disincentive for legislators to pursue prevention-oriented legislation.” Perhaps the biggest change needed is for public health to do a better job at trumpeting its success. Too often, it seems to be the unsung hero. “It can be difficult to maintain support for public health systems when they are so often invisible,” Dr. [Richard] Besser said.
Fertility down, Medicaid coverage up
Women in the United States are having fewer babies and are waiting until they’re older to get pregnant, according to new data released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Teen childbearing has declined by an incredible 55 percent since 2007. One statistic that’s on the rise in the CDC data: Medicaid as the primary source of payment for delivery. Joyce A. Martin, Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., and Michelle J.K. Osterman with the National Center for Health Statistics:
Approximately two in five deliveries had Medicaid as the source of payment for the delivery in 2017. In 2017, 43.0% of all births had Medicaid as the source of payment for the delivery, up from 42.6% in 2016. Medicaid coverage increased for all maternal age groups between 2016 and 2017. The largest increases were for women aged 30 and over, up 3%–4%. Medicaid coverage decreased with increasing maternal age, from a high of 77.5% (for 2017) among females under age 20, to 27.8% for women aged 35–39, and then increased slightly for women aged 40 and over (30.2%).
Number of the Day
65 – Percentage of all births in Louisiana that were covered by Medicaid in 2015, the most recent year reported. (Source: Kaiser Family Foundation)