- State Rewarded For Kids' Health Program | KUOW NPR | 12-28-2010
- "We call upon the governor and the Legislature to wisely use this money," says Children's Alliance Deputy Director Jon Gould. "It's a sensible opportunity to keep the program going in the current year, and then when they get into Olympia in the next legislative session we'll be working with them to advocate to sustain the program for as long as it's needed." Washington's federal bonus is expected by the end of the year.
- Federal bonus could save kids' health care from cuts | The Spokesman-Review | 12-27-2010
- The federal bonus comes without strings attached, and it will be up to lawmakers to decide whether to apply it to Apple Health for Kids to retain those 27,000 on the state’s health insurance program for children, according to the Children’s Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group. “We think this performance bonus is a sensible way to continue providing health care for kids,” said Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children’s Alliance.
- $17.6M award to rescue kids' insurance program | The Olympian | 12-28-2010
- Gould said that the state could qualify for similar bonuses in future biennia until federal health reform kicks in in 2014. So the question for lawmakers becomes whether to invest now in order to receive that additional help. “We think it’s a natural that money earned by the success in children’s health should be used to protect children’s health – especially when this is federal money that Washington so desperately needs more of,” Gould explained… the alliance quoted Gregoire in its release as saying: “This award is recognition that Washington state is at the forefront of states that have made children’s health coverage a priority. These resources come at a critical time given our economic crisis, and provide a sensible means to continue our effort to ensure that all of Washington’s children have health insurance, and that no child should ever have to go without health care.”
In this edition, Children’s Alliance, Governor Gregoire, legislative leaders and health advocates celebrate a $17.6 million bonus from the Obama administration rewarding the popular and successful Apple Health for Kids program for covering more kids efficiently. In other news, the state budget tops the news in 2010, Rep. Larry Seaquist continues to develop his proposal closing tax breaks for revenue and a national study finds that pediatricians are oversaturated in wealthy regions yet missing in poor and rural areas.
Washington state qualified for nearly $7.9 million in 2009, the first year that bonuses were awarded, said Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children’s Alliance, a organization that advocates for children’s health care. This year’s award, Gould said, will help continue Apple Health for Kids and make up for the loss of an estimated $9 million worth of state funding for the program through June 30, 2011. “It’s more than enough,” Gould said. “It means Washington continues to be in that top tier of states that are successfully providing health care to children.” Apple Health for Kids was created by Gregoire and the Legislature in 2007 for families with no other options for affordable health care coverage, Gould added.
Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children's Alliance, an advocacy group, said the grant was in recognition of the state's success in getting low-income children enrolled in health coverage…"All children in the state should have health coverage, regardless of where they are born," he said. "It's not just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. Preventive health care avoids emergency visits" and other costly care.
Jon Gould, deputy director of the advocacy group The Children's Alliance, said he hopes lawmakers will use the money to maintain the program. He said the state could be in line for another bonus at the end of next year if it increases or even maintains its enrollment. "We still have some room to grow," Gould said. State forecasters think the program could add 25,000 children in each of the next two years.
The Children's Alliance said the money should be funneled into the state's Apple Health for Kids, which provides health insurance to low-income children. It also said the money can help cover the 27,000 kids currently at risk of losing insurance this fiscal year. "Covering all kids made good sense in good times; it makes even better sense now," Jon Gould, deputy director for The Children's Alliance, said in a statement.
Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children's Alliance, a Seattle-based nonprofit, said the sum "is more than enough" to keep children in the program for the current year with some leftover for the next two-year budget cycle. Gregoire is expected to support using the money to keep the program funded, according to the Children's Alliance.
Apple Health for Kids, Washington’s health coverage program for children, has won $17.6 million from the federal government − a timely windfall thatcould prevent thousands of children from losing their health coverage.
Gov. Chris Gregoire has ruled out tax increases next year. But some lawmakers and human-services advocates say they still hope the Legislature can look at closing tax breaks to raise money in the 105-day session that begins in January. Few tax breaks are ever closed in Olympia, but Seaquist said House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, encouraged him to keep working on the idea. He hopes to file his proposal early in the session. That is not the only tax-loophole approach under consideration. In a scenario suggested by labor and human services advocates, voters could be given blunt choices on the ballot, such as ending a tax subsidy for large out-of-state banks or cutting the subsidy for children’s health insurance or another health program.
Help with child care keeps low-income parents employed. Access to food banks stretches monthly support checks being reduced from $562 to $472 for a mother of two. "I am really, really wondering how we are going to do this," said Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-32nd District, who chairs the House Early Learning and Children's Service Committee. Kagi, who spoke at the forum, talked later about the challenge of cutting basic services that make up the safety net and dealing with the fiscal reality of new families who never expected to be on welfare.
There are enough children’s doctors in the United States, they just work in the wrong places, a new study finds. Some wealthy areas are oversaturated with pediatricians and family doctors. Other parts of the nation have few or none.
Ideally, a budget crisis would bring out the best in our public officials — a search for creative solutions and a willingness to take on even the most sacred cows to spare those who will suffer most as belts tighten and axes fall. Not in the District, where, as part of a battle over closing a gap in the current budget, public officials pitted one of the groups most in need, impoverished children at risk of being placed in foster care, against another, children already in foster care. Meanwhile, alternative cuts that might advance the public good even as they save money were never even discussed.