This month, tens of thousands of Washington’s families lose half their State Food Assistance, with Children’s Alliance standing by one hard-hit immigrant community in Spokane. Last week, a family in Mukilteo was relieved that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act; now their son can get the care he needs. In other news, an editorial writer praises the decision’s implications for Washington’s kids, and an in-depth report discusses what steps Washington took to improve access to health coverage for all families.
Legal Immigrants Hit Hard By State Budget Cuts | KUOW News | 07-02-2012
Hard times just got harder for legal immigrants who receive food stamps from the state. Their benefits were cut in half yesterday. The move is part of many cutbacks to balance the state's budget.
In a room half-full of people, Linda Stone held up a piece of paper and circled two numbers to illustrate the bad news. The paper was a letter from the state, one that some of Spokane’s Marshallese had already received. It told them that, starting in July, the state Food Assistance Program benefits would be cut in half. Where a person used to get $112, now they’ll get $56, says Stone, food policy director of the Children’s Alliance. “It’s not exactly a hefty benefit to begin with,” Stone says. “Like everybody else, times are tough.” Spokane has become a refuge for an estimated 2,000 Marshall Islands immigrants, whose homes were irradiated by nuclear testing. And with jobs scare or low-paying, many rely on the state program to pay for groceries.
Food stamps for legal immigrants sliced | The Kitsap Sun | 07-01-2012
Benefits under a program that gives food-stamp assistance to legal immigrants have just been cut in half, and the leader of Bremerton's biggest food bank says her organization won't be able to fill the void.
The McNultys have insurance and still pay more than $30,000 out of pocket a year for their son's medical expenses. They said Thursday's Supreme Court decision upholding the health care reform law is a huge relief. If the law wasn't upheld in its entirety, insurance companies could have brought back lifetime limits on coverage and denied children with pre-existing conditions, measures that would have been devastating for the McNulty family.
A key aspect of the Affordable Care Act is a Navigator program placing people in schools, community health centers and other organizations to connect families with health care. For those who have never had coverage, the program will be critical in helping them understand how to use it, particularly for child checkups and immunizations.
The ruling clears the way for the state, beginning in 2014, to enroll low-income adults without dependent children or severe disabilities in Medicaid. The state also will continue work on the Health Benefit Exchange, where small businesses and people with low to moderate incomes — with federal subsidies — can shop for private health insurance, easily comparing benefits.