June 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm
An increase in Medicaid primary care payment rates that was included in health reform is scheduled to expire at the end of this year. But with the need for cost-effective Medicaid primary care rising across the country, the current physician rates should be maintained — and expanded to additional providers — as the Obama Administration and a group of hospitals and doctors have recommended.
Medicaid enrollment has risen by 6 million since October, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and total enrollment now tops 65 million. … Read more
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June 18, 2014 at 11:13 am
The House Judiciary Committee will likely approve a bill today to make permanent the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), which bans discriminatory and multiple taxation of Internet purchases and imposes a moratorium on new state and local taxes on Internet access services. Rather than make ITFA permanent, Congress should extend its ban on discriminatory and multiple taxes for a few years but allow its prohibition on taxing Internet access to lapse.
That prohibition denies states and localities billions of dollars in potential revenues each year — money that could help undo cuts in education, libraries, and other critical services made due to the Great Recession. … Read more
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June 17, 2014 at 12:47 pm
Emergency federal jobless benefits expired in December, and the Senate-passed extension, which only provides benefits retroactively through May 31, continues to languish in the House. This means that only regular state UI benefits — 26 weeks, in most states — are available to qualifying workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. We’ve updated our backgrounder on the weeks of UI available in each state to reflect where things stand for the unemployed across the country.
This map and table show the number of weeks available in each state, along with the state’s three-month average unemployment rate. … Read more
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June 16, 2014 at 11:25 am
Update, June 20: We’ve updated the graph, below, to correct an error in the display of data.
New data never before systematically collected and reported show that thousands of schools across the country have very high concentrations of poor students. States provided the data as part of the new community eligibility provision of the school lunch and breakfast programs, which allows schools serving high-poverty areas to simplify their school meal programs and serve meals at no charge to all students. The data show how important community eligibility is.… Read more
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June 13, 2014 at 12:26 pm
Community eligibility, a provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, will allow more than 28,000 schools in high-poverty neighborhoods to offer nutritious meals to all students at no charge next year, as we’ve explained. Schools must opt in to take advantage of this important anti-hunger initiative — which underscores the need to spread the word about its success so far.
Community eligibility has been phased in over the last three years. About 4,000 schools in 600 school districts in low-income communities across 11 states already offer community eligibility, and it has led to a striking increase in the number of children in high-poverty areas eating school breakfast and lunch. … Read more
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