Good news on health coverage

Good news on health coverage

Louisiana – often stuck at the top of the “bad” lists – is doing something right when it comes to health insurance. New U.S. Census data shows that the number of Louisianans without health insurance is decreasing, even as it’s climbing across the rest of the country.  The Louisiana Budget Project’s Stacey Roussel explains why this is important: 

Having health insurance does not guarantee good health. But it does mean people have access to doctors and clinics when they get ill or injured, and increases the likelihood that certain diseases or chronic medical conditions are diagnosed before they become more serious. A wide-ranging study from Oregon has found that people who get Medicaid coverage after being uninsured are more financially secure and less likely to suffer from depression, among other things.

The Advocate’s Emily Woodruff notes that more than 30,000 people have lost coverage in recent months thanks to a new eligibility system that more closely tracks the income of Medicaid enrollees to make sure they don’t earn too much money to qualify.  


Food insecurity hurts kids
About 1 in 7 households with children (14%) experienced food insecurity in 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports. A new study by researchers at Boston University and American University – reported by Science Daily – shows that lack of consistent access to healthy food has long-term negative health consequences for kids, even when isolated from other factors such as neighborhood safety or household income.  

“Household food insecurity was related to significantly worse general health, some acute and chronic health problems, worse health care access, and heightened emergency department use for children,” says (Associate Professor Taryn W.) Morrissey (of American University).


Unions are still relevant
The Advocate’s letters page usually offers a spirited back-and-forth on the issues of the day, and union pipefitter Michael Day is often in the middle of the action. This morning he responds to a previous letter writer who claimed labor unions are holding back the country’s economy. 

Local #198 as well as all the building trade unions offer free on-the-job training and a five-year apprenticeship that once completed is good for college credit in trade-related degrees and a marketable trade to start a business — all with zero student debit. Let me also bring up family health insurance, a defined pension, 401k and forged friendships that are lifelong, just as the pension plan. This equal opportunity is offered by all the building trade unions regardless of race, religion or gender.


Fewer polling locations in Louisiana
In 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Louisiana and other Southern states no longer have to seek Justice Department pre-clearance for most voting-related changes. Six years later, Elizabeth Crisp reports in The Advocate that Louisiana voters have 126 fewer polling locations in which to cast their ballots. Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, weighs in: 

“Jurisdictions are closing polling places at an alarming speed,” Gupta said. “Of course, there may be valid reasons for polling place closures, but it’s important to recognize these closures are taking place amid a larger constellation of efforts to prevent people of color from voting.”


Number of the Day
$5,000 – Amount that U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema wants to lend to new parents in the form of a tax credit that would be repaid over time. (Source: KTBS)