Louisiana’s 2016 decision to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income adults will save the lives of approximately 764 residents over four years, according to landmark new research. The Louisiana results are found in a new study that shows that Medicaid expansion has prevented 19,200 premature deaths nationwide. Conversely, the study by researchers at the University of Michigan and University of California Los Angeles found that 15,600 older adults died prematurely because of state decisions not to expand Medicaid. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains:
This new evidence that thousands of lives are at stake should give states that have not yet expanded Medicaid one more reason to do so. It should also finally put to rest claims that Medicaid doesn’t provide quality coverage, such as Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma’s suggestion that Medicaid expansion gave low-income adults “a[n insurance] card without care.” On top of the already well-documented gains in access to care and financial security, the new study shows that gaining Medicaid coverage is literally a matter of life and death, particularly for people with serious health needs.
Making progress for children
Medicaid expansion, the extension of foster care to age 21 and the stability of the state budget after years of chronic shortfalls are among the policy victories that have produced tangible gains for vulnerable children in Louisiana. That was the message from the Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families, which is on the road this week to talk about policies that affect children and the work that remains. Tuesday’s stop was in Monroe, where The News-Star’s Bonnie Bolden reports:
The gains made to help children, said Louisiana Budget Project Director Jan Moller, are a direct result of budget stability at the state level. One in four children live below the federal poverty line, and one family in two lives on a basic survival budget, he said. The Washington budget doesn’t have to be balanced, but the state budget does. Cuts can be made at the federal level to boost the economy, but maintaining services in Louisiana requires a conscious investment.
The Platform and Invest in Louisiana campaign will be in Lafayette today and New Orleans on Friday. Details about location and how to register are on the Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families webpage.
The inflation gap
The U.S. economy is growing and personal incomes are rising, leading many to conclude that poverty is on the wane. But new research finds that the prices of items that poor people buy has been rising faster than goods purchased primarily by the rich, thus making the poverty rate higher than the measurements suggest. Anne Lowery of The Atlantic has more on the “inflation gap” and why it matters:
“It’s not just that inflation is not uniform across income groups,” says Michael Linden of the Groundwork Collaborative, a think tank and advocacy organization that worked with Wimer, Collyer, and Jaravel to produce the new poverty-and-inflation analysis. “It’s that it’s not uniform across income groups because of inequality itself.”
Lack of food in Farmland
America’s farmers provide food to America growing urban and suburban centers. But some farming communities are themselves becoming “food deserts.” Rural areas are seeing a decline of grocery stores, leaving residents with fewer options for buying healthy food. The New York Times’ Jack Healy has more on this growing problem and how some rural residents are fighting back:
The loss of grocery stores can feel like a cruel joke when you live surrounded by farmland. About 5 million people in rural areas have to travel 10 miles or more to buy groceries, according to the Department of Agriculture. Dollar-store chains selling cheap food are entering hundreds of small towns, but their shelves are mostly stocked with frozen, refrigerated and packaged foods. Local health officials worry that the flight of fresh foods will only add to rural America’s health problems by exacerbating higher rates of heart disease and obesity. Many of the places losing their grocery stores are conservative towns that value industrial agriculture and low taxes.
Number of the Day
$8 billion – The amount in wages working families lose due to lack of affordable child care. (Source: Case for Childcare via The Center for American Progress)