In this edition, Washington’s hospitals are pushing the State Legislature to build a revenue bridge over the budget hole; broad support for a new kind of mid-level dental provider in Washington built momentum that will move into next year, and proposed cuts to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families will negatively impact Working Connection Child Care subsidies. In national news, a Vermont senator talks about America’s dental crisis, and portraits of hungry children illustrate the need for food stamps.
Hospitals and medical clinics for the poor are making a push for state government to keep threatened medical programs alive – using an infusion of borrowed money if necessary – until a lifeline from the federal health care law arrives. Their effort might give new momentum to a shelved idea of fixing the budget shortfall of more than $1 billion by borrowing against future revenue from a tobacco settlement.
Overall, the new budget plan is a positive step for early education because it keeps funding for Washington’s preschool program, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, at last year’s level and adds back $638,000 for the Child Care Resource & Referral Network …The budget plan contains plenty of cuts and potential cuts to early learning. One of the biggest is a proposal to cut $77 million from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. This reduction could affect child care subsidies under Working Connections Child Care, but details are still unclear.
Repeated cuts to the safety net have left it frayed, resulting in a system replete with hassles and confusion for families and state workers alike. A significant portion of the “windfall” comes from one program, Working Connections Child Care. This programs helps working poor parents pay for the child care they need to work and stay off welfare. … Over the past year, among other changes, eligibility limits have been cut, family co-pays increased, waiting lists created, and child support enforcement requirements instituted. Yes, caseloads are down, but we have no idea what’s happening to the thousands of young children whose parents must work, but can no longer afford to pay for child care.
Parents United convenes trainings and assists parents in learning how the legislative process works, and what they can do to be a part of it. We held our first HANDS ON ADVOCACY TRAINING on Monday at the Capitol. It was a huge success!
The polling firm surveyed about 1,200 voters in Washington between February 16th and 19th. If there is a referendum on the new same-sex marriage law, 50 percent of voters said they would uphold the marriage equality law while 40 percent would repeal it.
The state created a list of 500 conditions it will not reimburse emergency rooms for treating. That list includes things like asthma attacks and hypoglycemic coma, which, in some cases, could in fact be emergencies, said Dr. Michael Albrich, medical director for emergency services at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center. “The concern we have is this essentially does away with the prudent layperson notion of determining what is an emergent condition,” Albrich said.
While most of us take access to food for granted, there are some 367,000 families in this state struggling each and every day to put food on the table. As the Legislature seeks to balance the state budget, there is much talk about providing a quality education for the children. But a hungry child is a child left behind in the classroom, his or her aching stomach robbing the energy and attention needed to learn.
This summer, as chairman of the subcommittee on primary health and aging, Senator Bernie Sanders began preparing for a hearing on “The Dental Crisis in America,” which will be held this Wednesday. Part of that effort involved soliciting stories from his constituents and Americans across the country about their experiences with access to affordable dental care. He received over 1,000 responses. …Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Time and again, we’re hearing from adults who say they’ve been living with rotting teeth, or for years haven’t been able to afford a dentist, or they are struggling to find a dentist who will treat their kids.”
Remembering Deamonte Driver | The Hill | 02-21-2012
February 25th will mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Deamonte Driver, a 12-year old Prince George’s County child whose untreated tooth abscess led to a fatal brain infection. Deamonte’s passing -- from a condition as simple as a tooth infection -- was tragic … America’s health care system failed Deamonte, who lived in a community less than 10 miles from the U.S. Capitol, in one of the wealthiest states in America. … Nationwide, nearly 50 million Americans live in areas where they can’t get dental care … primarily due to the high cost of care and a shortage of providers. ... The access problem has become so severe that many are forced to seek treatment for tooth pain in the nation’s emergency rooms.
The number jumps out at you: More than 46 million Americans — one in seven of us — gets help from the federal government to feed ourselves and our families …If you’re surprised at how many Americans receive help in buying food, you may be even more surprised who they are. As it turns out, millions of Americans with jobs also need the help.