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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Day: August 17, 2018

Medicaid Programs

  • A judge blocked a Medicaid work requirement. The White House is undeterred., By Robert Pear, August 11, 2018, New York Times: “Trump administration officials, whose push to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries was dealt a blow by a federal judge in June, say they have found a way around the ruling and will continue to allow states to put the restrictions in place…”
  • Trump’s Medicaid work requirements face new legal challenge, By Zachary Tracer and John Tozzi, August 14, 2018, Bloomberg: “Advocacy groups are mounting a new challenge to the Trump administration’s effort to limit health benefits for the poor by letting states impose work requirements. The suit, filed in federal district court for the District of Columbia Tuesday, seeks to block the U.S. Health and Human Services Department from allowing Arkansas to kick people off Medicaid if they’re not employed or looking for work…”
  • Diabetes: Medicaid expansion making meds more accessible, By Pauline Bartolone, August 13, 2018, Union Leader: “Low-income people with diabetes are better able to afford their medications and manage their disease in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study suggests. The Health Affairs study, released last Monday, found a roughly 40 percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled for diabetes drugs in Medicaid programs of the 30 states (including Washington, D.C.) that expanded eligibility in 2014 and 2015, compared with prior years. By contrast, states that didn’t embrace the Medicaid expansion saw no notable increase…”
  • Ohio firing pharmacy middlemen that cost taxpayers millions, By Lucas Sullivan and Catherine Candisky, August 14, 2018, Columbus Dispatch: “The Ohio Department of Medicaid is changing the way it pays for prescription drugs, giving the boot to all pharmacy middlemen because they are using ‘spread pricing,’ a practice that has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions. Medicaid officials directed the state’s five managed care plans Tuesday to terminate contracts with pharmacy benefit managers using the secretive pricing method and move to a more transparent pass-through pricing model effective Jan. 1…”

Bail Reform – California

Proposal to radically overhaul California’s bail system advances in Legislature, By Jazmine Ulloa, August 16, 2018, Los Angeles Times: “California could soon end money bail, but some of the criminal justice groups who worked toward that goal aren’t celebrating. A closely-watched bill to overhaul the state’s bail system advanced out of a key fiscal committee on Thursday with broad changes that would virtually eliminate the payment of money as a condition for release from jail. That should have been a roaring victory for legislators and supporters who have long decried a system that they say unfairly punishes the poor. But the amendments also hand over more control to local courts and probation offices to decide who should remain incarcerated, a move former sponsors of the legislation contend could lead to indefinite detention…”

Food Deserts and Food Swamps – Dallas, TX

On top of food deserts, Dallas’ Hispanic and black populations also flooded with food swamps, By Obed Manuel, August 16, 2018, Dallas Morning News: “Maria Amaya gazes at the Texas wildflowers growing in the butterfly-shaped garden at Edwin J. Kiest Elementary, fearless of the hefty mason bees buzzing by her. The scorching Texas sun shines down on her this morning. Beads of sweat roll down her forehead. Even when school’s out, Amaya and her six-year-old daughter, Sophia, work this community garden three to four days a week, tending to the herbs, Texas wildflowers and vegetables the school grows. When it’s time to harvest, Amaya takes home a small share to prepare healthy meals for her husband and three kids, something that helps her stretch the family’s single-income budget. But Amaya said she knows that she’s one of the lucky parents with the time to do this at the predominantly Hispanic school in east Dallas, an area that, on top of being identified as a food desert, is littered with what researchers have recently coined food swamps — areas where fast food options and convenience stores outnumber healthy food options…”

Disability in the US

1 in 4 U.S. adults has a disability, CDC says, By Ashley Welch, August 16, 2018, CBS News: “New government research finds 61 million U.S. adults – about 1 in 4 Americans – have a disability that impacts a major part of their life. According to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common disability type, mobility, affects 1 in 7 adults. With age, disability becomes more common, affecting approximately 2 in 5 adults age 65 and older…”

Immigrants and Public Benefit Programs

  • How Trump’s plan for immigrants on welfare could hurt a million New Yorkers, By Liz Robbins, August 13, 2018, New York Times: “Buying fresh vegetables for children, heating an apartment, using Medicaid to manage diabetes. Those are all legal means of support provided by the government for low-income residents of the United States. But a new rule in the works from the Trump administration would make it difficult, if not impossible, for immigrants who use those benefits to obtain green cards…”
  • As Trump considers penalties, Seattle-area immigrants turn down public benefits they’re entitled to claim, By Nina Shapiro, August 12, 2018, Seattle Times: “A hotel housekeeper with a working adult son, Hudith received food stamps that weren’t worth a lot — about $50 a month. But she was nervous. Though she was entitled to food stamps as a legal permanent resident from Mexico, and her three children were all born in the U.S., she heard from a friend that getting the benefit could be counted against her if she applied for citizenship. And she was planning to do just that. So she disenrolled…”

SNAP Job Training Programs and Work Requirements

  • This program is helping Kentucky’s food stamp recipients find jobs, By Tami Luhby, August 16, 2018, CNN: “Marsha Moses was more interested in working with blood than burgers. The Corbin, Kentucky, mother of two found herself on the job market after her husband was laid off last year and the family’s finances spiraled downward. She was concerned that she’d be forced to work in a fast food restaurant since she only had a high school degree and hadn’t been employed in several years. Then she found Paths 2 Promise, which provides food stamp recipients with job training and support…”
  • Georgia experiments with food stamp work training program, By Susanna Capelouto, August 13, 2018, Marketplace: “At a body shop in Atlanta, Leigh Anne Hatfield just finished taking apart the front of an SUV. ‘This is a brand new Toyota Highlander. Got smacked in the front,’ she said. Hatfield  said she loves her job here at the body shop. It’s her first job since she become a certified welder. A few month ago she was so poor, she had to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps…”
  • Michigan will require people to work for food assistance, By Marc Daalder, August 16, 2018, Detroit Free Press: “The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is sending more than 67,000 letters this week to people on food assistance who will soon be required to start working. The work requirements, which were already reimplemented in 14 counties, will snap back into place on Oct. 1 for the rest of the state…”

Legal Representation in Evictions – Newark, NJ

Renters getting evicted will soon get free lawyers in N.J. city, By Karen Yi and Delaney Dryfoos, August 11, 2018, NJ.com: “Newark has taken the first step to codify into law its intent to provide low-income tenants facing eviction with free legal help. Citing the lack of affordable housing opportunities and ‘frivolous’ eviction actions, the city plans to create a nonprofit that connects eligible tenants with legal representation in landlord-tenant court…”

Low-Income Housing

  • For Americans who rely on public housing, HUD proposals strike fear, By Erika Beras, August 10, 2018, Marketplace: “Clara Malave, 50, works in the hot and loud laundry room at one of the bayfront hotels in Erie, Pennsylvania, loading linens into massive industrial washers and dryers. At $8.80 an hour, it’s grueling work. But it is work, and she’s grateful for it. Like most of the other workers here, she’s a part-timer whose hours change constantly. She only knows a week out what her schedule will be. She keeps a carefully balanced checkbook and a list of her impending expenses…”
  • As NYC public housing tenants suffer, a glimmer of hope emerges, By Henry Goldman, August 2, 2018, Bloomberg: “Lolita Miller had it all: mold, vermin, crime, stalled elevators, uncollected trash and winter days without heat or hot water. After almost half a century living in New York’s public housing, she’d come to expect the neglect and squalor in Far Rockaway’s Bayside homes. So did most of the 400,000 residents in projects owned by the money-starved New York City Housing Authority. Yet a federal program changing how rents get paid has allowed developers at Bayside to tap into $560 million in private and government funds…”
  • A nonprofit got special loans and tax breaks for low-income housing. Dealmakers collected millions in fees. And buildings deteriorated., By Joe Mahr, August 16, 2018, Chicago Tribune: “A newly formed charity came to Chicago pitching state officials on its “model” way to provide low-income housing. The Ohio-based Better Housing Foundation said it would provide safe apartments. It would help tenants get jobs and health care. And it wouldn’t evict ‘solely on the basis that the tenant is unable to pay their rent.’ Starting in early 2016, with little scrutiny, a pair of state agencies helped the nonprofit borrow tens of millions of dollars at lower interest rates and obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in property tax breaks that allowed it to rapidly buy dozens of buildings across the South Side. But a Tribune investigation has found that many residents have been left to live in deteriorating buildings…”

Retirement Income Inequality

Retirement incomes will become more unequal, study finds, By Annie Nova, August 7, 2018, CNBC: “If income inequality continues to grow, so too will the gap between wealthy and struggling retirees. That’s the takeaway from a new report by the Urban Institute, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C., and funded by the Department of Labor, which analyzed how rising inequality will shape the landscape of American retirement…”