Child Welfare in the 21st Century

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Archive for the ‘Data and Statistics’ Category

Expanding Medicaid for Parents Helps Children

Posted by lboyd544 on September 15, 2012

Expanding Medicaid to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for working (full-time or part-time) and for unemployed parents is good for kids!
  • 1- Expansion has the potential to cut the rate of uninsured kids by 40%.  Most of that reduction comes from covering their parents and enrolling eligible kids at the same time.
  • 2- Children are more likely to receive preventive care and other health care services that they need to be healthy and stay healthy if their parents also receive health care.
  • 3- Parents’ health can affect children’s health and well-being, such as their ability to get to school ready to learn.
Regardless of party, age, geography, ethnicity and any other demographic, we all believe that America’s kids should be able to enter school – and stay in school – healthy and ready to learn. The future leadership of our country depends on a healthy populace for business and finance success, for human services and education, for transportation and manufacturing, for law and politics, and for all sectors of our economy and our society.
Expanding Medicaid is good business and good community sense!

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Good Business (and Community) Sense – part 2

Posted by lboyd544 on September 10, 2012

Last week I talked about the new money for Oklahoma (and most states) through expansion of Medicaid to 113% Federal Poverty Level.  This week let’s ‘drill down’ on that.

  1. The Medicaid Expansion will help free up state and local spending that now goes to uncompensated care. State and local governments help offset the cost of care that is provided to uninsured patients who cannot afford to pay—paying an estimated 30% of the cost of uncompensated care. In Oklahoma, uncompensated care would be reduced from $886M annually to $277M, a drop of $609M or 69%. (figures from OHCA)
  2. The Medicaid Expansion will reduce state spending on mental health services for lower-income, uninsured patients. This includes spending on state mental hospitals, hospital emergency rooms and community health clinics. This spending has been growing over time, with state and local governments covering 42% of the cost of state mental health expenditures by 2009. Full Medicaid Expansion is estimated to save between $11 and $22 billion in funds states will otherwise spend on mental health programs from 2014-2019.
  3. The Medicaid Expansion will enable states to continue using health care provider assessments as part of their state matching funds. Although federal Medicaid funding to states is open-ended (i.e. a state entitlement), it is limited by a states’ ability to raise its matching share. Oklahoma has taken advantage of federal provisions that place assessments on hospitals and other health care providers that are then used to match (and draw down additional) federal dollars. In fact, this effort was led by the Oklahoma Hospital Association. Without the Medicaid Expansion, hospitals and other providers may be unwilling or unable to pay these assessments, resulting in the loss of federal funds and a negative impact state revenues.
  4. (One of my biggest concerns as a taxpayer!)The Medicaid Expansion will keep residents’ federal taxes flowing into our State. Almost every state resident pays federal taxes, and federal dollars will fund the Medicaid Expansion. Taxpayers residing in states that do not implement the Expansion will be paying out dollars to states that do expand, states like CA, CT, CO, DC, MN, MO, NJ, WA, which have already obtained approval for Medicaid Expansions.

Please talk to your legislators about this cost savings measure. This is more than ‘politics’ or Obamacare. This is about real money, real savings, ….real people!

More next week….

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I am angry….and scared.

Posted by lboyd544 on September 22, 2011

Many of you read the new poverty statistics released last week both nationally and for each state.
“A report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the organization that studies the state of children throughout the world, found that the child poverty rate has jumped 18 percent from 2000 to 2009. Other reports now show that 49 percent of the nation’s children are growing up in families who qualify for help from the Women, Infants and Children program.”

In Oklahoma alone, 60% of the babies born in 2010 were born on Medicaid! Almost 20% of the state population has NO insurance. 1 in 3 children grow up in homes of parents under age 30 who are below the federal level of poverty.

And we worry about education, obesity, taxes (68% of Oklahomans want taxes lowered by the Legislature in 2012 even if it means FEWER government services)! If you have read my prior blogs, you know I have been focusing on some of these issues as well.

Clearly, I, too, have missed the boat!  How can we worry about obesity when all families can afford is mac-and-cheese. Even those of us supporting church and community food pantries are personally limited to high carb and high calorie donations.  I’ve worried about the quality of education offered our children or families that don’t get their kids to school and help with homework. What about the child who simply can’t learn because hunger and worry about his/her family’s hunger keeps him occupied mentally and emotionally elsewhere!

The national “talk” is about how the next generation could be strapped with huge national debt, and unable to sustain this country as they take on a growing aged population with their own smaller census of workers.

Talk about off-the-mark! How dare we skip the reality of today to focus so exclusively (even with justification) about tomorrow. These youth may not LIVE to inherit the earth: debt-laden or debt-free. These children cannot develop their bodies for the future when robbed of nutrients and health care today. These future workers will not become the engineers or the highway workers who maintain our infrastructure, so necessary to a vibrant economy, if their minds have not been nurtured with the opportunity and ability to achieve at least a basic education.

Yes, I’m scared…..and angry. Now is the time to refocus attention, discussion, and action. Please join me.

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People: Our most valuable resource?

Posted by lboyd544 on September 9, 2011

AARP released a new survey yesterday: 2011 State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers. Sadly, Oklahoma ranks 48th overall. Most alarming is that Oklahoma ranks 49th in Quality of Life and Quality of Care and 51st (DC is included) in Support to Family Caregivers.

As those reading my blog know, my life’s focus has been on children and families. I am not an expert on aging and disabilities….other than the daily knowledge I am gaining through passing my 60th birthday!

Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Hawaii all rank highest. What have those states done that Oklahoma hasn’t? Why, once again, are 7 of the lowest ranking states located in the southeast of the US?

The report accompanying the scorecard is nicely detailed about possible answers to the above and is offered as a benchmark and set of recommendations for states.

As Oklahoma tackles our design of health care reform and the creation of  a state health care exchange, this report is timely. All citizens, young and old, need a government that weaves individual choice and control (obviously with age-appropriate limitations for the young) with a framework of community well-being in which public structures support access and affordability to needed services for quality living.  That certainly sounds like populist Oklahoma to me.

Let’s hope our legislators working on these issues read the AARP report. Let’s hope our citizens notice the needs of their neighbors just a bit more. Let’s act in some way – big or small – to make a difference.

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Sad irony…..

Posted by lboyd544 on September 3, 2011

One in three Oklahoma youth ages 0-18 is overweight or obese! Other states have similar issues, although not this high! (Except Colorado which seems to be quite healthy…at least in comparison.)

Consider what this statistic says about the limited effect of playing and enjoying life for these youth now. (Doing anything physical is more difficult and therefore a deterrent to those activities that could actually reverse this trend!)  Consider the future impact to these youth of health complications as adults  —- YOUNG adults!  Consider the consequence to tax payers whether through increased medical and insurance costs or lack of healthy workforce to move our economy and country forward.

Clearly this is one epidemic that cannot bear our willingness to ‘not notice’.

Why are we in this condition?  Yes, too much TV and computer games. Yes, too many parents drive kids to school when they could (should) safely walk. Yes, good nutrition, fruits, and vegetables are expensive for a citizenry in which 65% participated to some degree last year in the food stamp program. Yes, laziness, poverty, ignorance, denial.

Regardless of how we arrived here, what are we going to do? As a community, in our schools, as families, as individuals?

We know that ‘addicts’ will not be able to begin recovery until the addict him/herself makes that commitment. How much more difficult this work is around obesity when society accepts and too often laughs with/at this addiction of inactivity or poor choices or the vicious cycle of poverty.

I do not know the answer. I do know that I will no longer join self-kidding from others who remark about their overweight as though age or work requirements are allowable excuses. I know I continue to invite my family into playful, physical activities….even if rebuffed repeatedly. I know I will seek suggestions from others who face this same worry on behalf of our common good.

Comments welcomed!

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