In this edition, you’ll read about a massive proposed cut in federal funding that could jeopardize Washington’s Apple Health for Kids program. The Children’s Alliance is strongly urging the U.S. Senate to restore this crucial funding so that comprehensive health coverage remains available to a growing number of children across our state. You’ll also find a story supporting our call to Congress to re-authorize the Child Nutrition Act while addressing the root causes of childhood hunger in the United States.
A month after Gov. Chris Gregoire signed it into law,
Washington’s state budget is in trouble without an expected lifeline
from the nation’s capital. The Obama administration’s stimulus act
helped states’ bottom lines by increasing matching funds for Medicaid,
the federal-state insurance program for the poor. Washington stands to
take in about $480 million. State lawmakers and Gregoire counted on the
money when they wrote the state budget. Not getting it would wipe out
the $450 million in reserves they left as a cushion, leaving the state
vulnerable if tax revenues don’t pan out exactly as predicted.
Washington may need another special session of the Legislature
if Congress doesn’t come through with some $480 million in higher
payments for Medicaid, Gov. Chris Gregoire said today. Concerns over the
mounting federal deficit have delayed congressional approval of what
Gregoire and officials of other state’s once considered a sure thing — a
boost in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages, or FMAP, for
Medicaid costs which are shared with the states.
The immediate solution to the child hunger cost burden is, of
course, a much larger investment in child nutrition programs.
But...we've also got to do something about the root cause of child
hunger — poverty. Otherwise, we'll just have to keep plowing more money
into child nutrition programs. Eliminating child food insecurity would
itself bring down the poverty rate because well-nourished children are
at a much lower risk for the developmental, health, behavioral and
academic problems that entrap them in lifelong poverty.
Can a child’s school success really be predicated on whether he
had a few books around as a toddler? Crazy as it seems, signs seem to
point to yes. Positive associations with literacy, such as hearing a
mother’s speech or spending story-time with a caregiver, can create an
environment where kids connect with words and reading at the same time
that their brains are undergoing an incredible period of growth.