In this edition, you’ll find an article on Gov. Gregoire’s plans to head to Washington, D.C. to make the case for federal Medicaid dollars and an opinion on why congressional failure to approve Medicaid funds will hurt Washington state’s families and economic recovery. You’ll also find an editorial on the important duty of the child welfare system to protect children while striving to keep families together.
Gov. Chris Gregoire plans to head to Washington, D.C. this week to make a case for additional federal Medicaid dollars. The state Legislature banked on $480 million from Medicaid to help balance the budget. But Congress has never approved the money, and now it's balking at the price tag. If the Medicaid payment doesn't come through, Washington's budget reserves could be wiped out. And the state would face about $200 million in additional budget cuts.
A failure by Congress to help high-unemployment states with Medicaid expenses will cause real problems for real people, possibly for schools here. Why would Congress draw a line about the deficit in a way that hurt so many people and states? Read More:
Child-welfare officials appear to get it. Taking neglected children away from their parents is a last-ditch effort that ought to be accompanied by an action plan for reuniting families. Encouraging signs come from King County Youth Services and other child-welfare agencies around the state that recently spotlighted a handful of dependency cases that ended with children returned to their families. Protecting children in danger of neglect or abuse is one of the state's most important duties. It must be done with a goal toward keeping families intact.
Years of research point to the importance of developing the skills that children need to succeed in school and identifying the kindergartners who could have benefited from more learning opportunities before arriving. This is what kindergarten readiness assessments are all about. And yet while states have heeded the call to begin developing practices that support readiness, only a few are actually tracking readiness based on established statewide expectations.
Seven-year-old Alex Rowe, who has a rare bleeding disorder, soon will have private health insurance again. He is among more than 5 million Americans under the age of 19 with a pre-existing medical condition who cannot be denied coverage by insurance companies beginning as early as September under a key provision of the health care reform law.
A coalition of farmers, children’s health advocates, environmentalists, and anti-hunger advocates applauded the Executive Order issued today by Governor Gregoire at the Food Systems Strategies Summit. Executive Order 10-02 brings together agencies and community partners to coordinate their work and increase collaboration to strengthen our state’s food system.
The economy isn’t done taking a toll on the state budget. According to the detailed budget forecast released today by the Office of Financial Management (OFM), current revenue expectations will be $3 billion short of the amount needed to continue our current commitments to education, communities, health, and economic security.