The percentage of young children in Louisiana without health insurance ticked up slightly from 2016 to 2018, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. Louisiana’s uninsured rate for children under 6 increased from 2.6% to 2.8% – or about 875 children. But young children in Louisiana are still more likely to be insured than those in the rest of the country. This is the first time since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act that the number of uninsured children was more than 1 million.
The widespread coverage losses among the nation’s youngest children are particularly troubling given the need for stable health care during the early years, when a child’s brain develops most rapidly. As the data show, ensuring young children have health coverage requires a whole-family approach. Medicaid expansion states had lower rates of uninsured young children than non-expansion states, illustrating the inextricable link between parent and child health.
A tax win for local governments
Louisiana’s attempt to streamline the collection of local sales taxes was dealt a serious blow Wednesday by the state Supreme Court, which ruled that the funding mechanism for the state board that oversees the tax collection is unconstitutional. Lawmakers created the Louisiana Uniform Local Sales Tax Board in 2017 to help local collectors navigate through the state’s complex tax system and funded it by taking a small percentage of local government’s motor vehicle’s sales tax. But local governments balked, fearing it would strip local governments of their control over sales taxes that finance services such as schools, law enforcement and roads. The Advocate’s Mark Ballard:
“What is apparent is that the voters did not authorize those sales and use tax proceeds to be directed for a use to be determined by the Legislature,” (Justice James T.) Genovese wrote. “Moreover, the voters did not expressly authorize the use of any of those sales and use tax proceeds by the Legislature for purposes of funding the Board.”
A focus on dual enrollment
State education leaders want every student to leave high school with either a college credit or an industry-based credential by 2029. That goal was endorsed Wednesday by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the state Board of Regents in a joint meeting. It’s the latest example of the state’s commitment to dual enrollment, the practice of high school students taking college-level courses for both high school and college credit. The Advocate’s Will Sentell:
(Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed) said too few state residents enter and finish college and that African-American residents trail their peers nationally in education attainment. Reed said that, of 100 ninth-graders, only 45 enter college and 18 will earn a two- or four-year degree. The rate for African-American students is even bleaker. Randy Ewing, a member of the regents and former president of the Louisiana Senate, sounded taken aback by the statistics. “Is it economic? Is it preparedness? “We have got a lot of work to do,” said Ewing, who lives in Quitman.
A tale of two health-care systems
Ariëtte Sanders and Marianne Broers first met 40 years ago at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Both were interested in medicine and went on to train as family physicians. But upon completion of their training, Sanders stayed in the Northwestern European country, while Broers made the journey to the American Northwest. But as the Commonwealth Fund’s Noam N. Levey explains, the experiences in their respective countries left them feeling very differently about medicine and health care.
Sanders, who remained in Europe, practiced in a country with one of the most robust, carefully planned primary care systems in the world, a place where family physicians can tap extensive community resources and support services to help their patients at all hours of the day. … Broers had to navigate more complex terrain. … Too often, she said, she struggles to connect her patients with the services they need. Increasing numbers of patients are rationing their care, fearing medical bills they won’t be able to afford. “The system could be so much better,” she said.
Number of the Day
$32.8 billion – Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in East Baton Rouge Parish in 2018, an increase of 5.5% from the previous year. The Baton Rouge economy is the largest in the state, followed by Orleans and Jefferson parishes (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis)