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

Tag: Alaska

Medicaid Work Requirements – Ohio, Alaska

  • Ohio closer to work requirements for Medicaid: What’s really going on, By Kaitlin Schroeder, May 2, 2018, Dayton Daily News: “Ohio is a step closer to forcing some Medicaid recipients to get jobs if they receive the government assistance. The Ohio Department of Medicaid on Monday said it had officially submitted its request to create the work requirements for those covered through the expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program that covers residents with low incomes or disabilities…”
  • State analysts say requiring Medicaid recipients to work won’t save money, By Andrew Kitchenman, May 2, 2018, Alaska Public Media: “An analysis by state officials finds that requiring people who receive Medicaid to work won’t save the state money. That’s because the state would have to pay people to help residents to find work, and to check that they’re complying with a requirement…”

State Minimum Wages

  • Minimum wage to rise in Alaska to $8.75 an hour, Associated Press, February 23, 2015, The Oregonian: “Alaska’s minimum wage will rise to $8.75 an hour Tuesday, giving a pay increase to thousands of workers. Voters in November overwhelmingly approved raising the minimum wage from $7.75 per hour to $8.75 per hour, effective Jan. 1. Because the state constitution calls for ballot measures to take effect 90 days after election results are certified, the raise doesn’t take effect until Tuesday…”
  • Tipped workers in New York will get a raise, By Katie Lobosco, February 24, 2015, CNN Money: “Waiters, bartenders and other tipped workers in New York will get a raise at the end of the year.  The state said Tuesday that it will hike the minimum wage for tipped restaurant workers to $7.50 from $5 an hour on Dec. 31…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

  • Haslam’s Tennessee Plan would expand health coverage, By Dave Boucher, December 15, 2014, The Tennessean: “In a major policy move, Gov. Bill Haslam has announced the new Insure Tennessee plan, a two-year pilot program that would provide health care coverage to tens of thousands of Tennesseans who currently don’t have access to health insurance or have limited options. The plan would be leveraged with federal dollars, said Haslam, who has been working for more than a year on a Medicaid expansion plan that could gain approval from both federal officials and the Republican-dominated state legislature…”
  • Medicaid expansion could be months away in Alaska, Associated Press, December 14, 2014, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: “State health commissioner Valerie Davidson said it could be July before the state is in a position to begin enrolling Alaskans under expanded Medicaid coverage. Davidson said issues need to be worked out with a Medicaid eligibility system as well as with a Medicaid payment system that has been plagued by problems since going live in 2013. Both are being converted from one technology system to another, she said…”
  • Robert Bentley suggests he could accept Medicaid expansion, By Brian Lyman, December 12, 2014, Montgomery Advertiser: “Gov. Robert Bentley suggested Thursday that he could support an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program in the form of a block grant with employment requirements. In remarks before lawmakers wrapping up three days of legislative orientation, Bentley — who for years has expressed staunch opposition to expansion — said he would not expand the system until proposed reforms of the state system go into effect. However, he added he would be open to discussing a block grant program, similar to an expansion that took place in Arkansas this year…”

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

  • Lack of affordable housing fuels Connecticut homelessness, By Brian Charles, December 10, 2013,  New Haven Register: “Connecticut’s battle to bring down the number of homeless people living in shelters or on the streets has been hampered by a dearth of affordable housing, according to the Partnership for Strong Communities. At a time when the nation’s homeless population is in steady decline, the number of homeless people in Connecticut has increased. During the last three years, the state’s homeless population has risen from 4,316 to 4,448, according to data collected in January and released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last month…”
  • With rental demand soaring, poor are feeling squeezed, By Annie Lowrey, December 9, 2013, New York Times: “Violeta Torres cannot afford her apartment. Ms. Torres, a 54-year-old nanny, pays $828 a month for a rundown one-bedroom that she keeps spotlessly clean, making the rent only by letting an acquaintance sleep on a mattress in the living room for about $400 a month. But her one-bedroom happens to be in the booming Columbia Heights area here, where such an apartment, once renovated, would easily command twice the price…”
  • Alaska’s thin line between camping and homelessness, By Kirk Johnson, December 7, 2013, New York Times: “People come to Kenai Peninsula for the natural beauty or for an Alaskan escape from the routines that shape life in fussier places. There are good oil industry jobs, and a Russian patina hangs over the landscape in the names of the small towns and a few orthodox churches that keep the flame alive. When the salmon are running on the Kenai River, you can pull them in until your arms are sore, people here are fond of saying. But those bounties of nature, which have drawn settlers and fortune seekers since the days of Captain Cook, also mask a hard reality. When someone’s life goes awry, through a misstep or a spousal betrayal, a job loss or an eviction, or just a stretch of bad luck, there is not much of a safety net here…”

Public Housing Program – Alaska

State overhauls public housing, imposes five-year limit, By Tegan Hanlon, November 2, 2013, Anchorage Daily News: “The disabled and elderly in public housing will receive notices on Monday about changes in their rent and utility costs as state officials implement a plan to encourage able-bodied renters to work and eventually move out of their subsidized apartments. With the waiting time for public housing extending for decades for some kinds of apartments, officials hope the new policies, in the works since 2008, will lead to a greater turnover of units…”

Prisoner Re-entry – Alaska

Alaska prisoner re-entry center targets recidivism, By Michelle Theriault Boots, October 2, 2013, Anchorage Daily News: “Each year more than a thousand inmates who have served their sentences are released in Anchorage, often in the parking lot of the city jail. Many go straight to a homeless shelter. Almost half will be jailed for committing a new crime within three years, according to a 2011 Pew Center for the States report. That’s the highest rate in the nation. Now Anchorage, where more felons are released than any other place in Alaska, has its first walk-in ‘re-entry’ center, just a few blocks from the jail…”

Prisoner Re-entry Program – Alaska

Native Justice Center’s re-entry program helps ex-inmates fight long odds, By Michelle Theriault Boots, November 29, 2012, Anchorage Daily News: “For inmates getting out of prison in Alaska, the odds are abysmal. Two-thirds will go back into Department of Corrections custody within three years, a 2007 study by the Alaska Judicial Council found. In the same period, 44 percent of them will be jailed for a new crime, the highest rate in the nation, according to data from a 2011 Pew Center for the States report. That steep climb out of prison prompted the Alaska Native Justice Center to create a re-entry program to help people who have spent years and sometimes decades incarcerated start new lives while bearing the stigma of their pasts…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program – Alaska

  • Alaska governor vetoes Denali KidCare expansion, By Dan Joling (AP), June 3, 2010, Anchorage Daily News: “Gov. Sean Parnell announced Thursday he will veto expansion of a health insurance program for low-income families because he recently found out the program pays for abortions. ‘I oppose expanding the government’s role in funding abortions,’ Parnell said at a news conference outlining vetoes to the operating and capital budgets. An estimated 18,000 children in Alaska, about 9 percent of the residents age 18 and under, are uninsured. The Alaska version of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, Denali KidCare, covers 7,900 Alaska children. Expansion would have added 1,277 more children and 225 pregnant women, according to state Sen. Betty Davis, the Anchorage Democrat who sponsored the bill…”
  • Legislators reluctant to override governor’s KidCare funds veto, By Sean Cockerham, June 9, 2010, Anchorage Daily News: “Alaska Senate President Gary Stevens is polling the Senate to see if its members support going into special session and overriding Gov. Sean Parnell’s veto of money to expand Denali KidCare. But Stevens said he doesn’t think there’s enough support for a veto override and personally opposes having a special session. Stevens is taking the poll at the request of Anchorage Democratic Sen. Hollis French. French is a part of the bipartisan majority in the Senate and he’s also running against the Republican Parnell for governor in this year’s election. French and three other Democratic senators, Bettye Davis, Johnny Ellis and Bill Wielechowski, on Tuesday called on Parnell to change his mind about Denali KidCare and bring the Legislature into special session to override the veto. Parnell spokeswoman Sharon Leighow responded that is not going to happen…”

Enrollment of Children in Medicaid – Alaska

Increased Medicaid usage spikes cost, By Lisa Demer, March 7, 2010, Anchorage Daily News: “The single biggest item in the Alaska state budget is experiencing a costly growth spurt. It’s Medicaid — the state-federal insurance program for poor and low-income people. The cost is sure to top $1.2 billion this budget year and is expected to scale $1.3 billion the next. About 11,000 more children enrolled in the last 18 months. Doctors’ rates went up. And more people eligible for the program began to use it, perhaps out of anxiety over all the talk in Congress about national health care reform. A weakened state economy is at least partly to blame, a legislative consultant told lawmakers recently. The state unemployment rate is rising, and along with it, the numbers of Alaskans turning to food stamps and Medicaid, consultant Janet Clarke, a former top official in the state Department of Health and Social Services, told the House Finance Committee recently…”

State Children’s Health Insurance Program – Alaska

Health reform could endanger CHIP funds, By Rosemary Shinohara, January 9, 2010, Anchorage Daily News: “In reshaping America’s health care, Congress may eliminate a major health insurance program for some U.S. children in families with incomes above the federal poverty level, but Alaska’s kids in the program likely won’t be affected. The prospect that Congress may ditch the Children’s Health Insurance Program has raised alarms nationally, with concerns about whether some children will lose insurance, and whether their families will be able to afford private insurance with new government subsidies that would be created…”

State Minimum Wage Increase – Alaska

Alaska’s minimum wage increases 50 cents to $7.75, By Elizabeth Bluemink, January 11, 2010, Anchorage Daily News: “Thousands of Alaska’s lowest-paid workers are receiving a boost in their paychecks in the first couple weeks of this year. Due to a change in state law, the state’s minimum wage rose on Jan. 1 to $7.75 per hour. Minimum-wage earners working full time can expect a $1,040 hike in their annual salary — an additional $20 per week. That’s on top of the $4 per week increase they received in July to keep Alaska’s minimum wage even with the federal level. By the most conservative estimates, the wage hike is directly affecting more than 8,000 workers in Alaska, more than half of them adults, according to state officials. Most of them are employed at hotels and restaurants, but they also work in seafood processing, the arts, health care, construction and other jobs…”

States and Health Plans for the Poor

  • State’s poor being shifted to different medical plan, By Chen May Yee, November 10, 2009, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune: “The Pawlenty administration, which faced criticism for proposing to eliminate a state health-care program for the indigent, has decided to transfer most of those recipients to a subsidized insurance plan for the working poor. The General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) program for adults making less than $7,800 a year is scheduled to go away March 1, potentially leaving some 36,000 recipients — many with chronic illnesses and often homeless and mentally ill — without regular access to medical care. Now some 28,000 will be automatically enrolled in MinnesotaCare, a subsidized health insurance plan. The remainder are those whose GAMC eligibility is running out or who already are applying for MinnesotaCare…”
  • More Alaska Medicaid kids may get braces, Associated Press, November 10, 2009, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: “The state of Alaska must pay for braces on the teeth of foster children and young people on Medicaid who need them, a Superior Court judge ruled Monday. Judge William Morse issued an order in a lawsuit brought by an advocacy group for foster children called Facing Foster Care in Alaska. He granted a preliminary injunction against a state rule that limits braces to severe conditions such as cleft palate. The state argued that Facing Foster Care does not have the right to bring a lawsuit. Morse disagreed and ruled the state cannot use its own regulations to limit services that are required by federal code. The braces still have to be medically necessary – not just for the sake of appearance…”
  • KidCare numbers drop; Medicaid kids rise, By Bill McCarthy, November 9, 2009, Wyoming Tribune Eagle: “The number of children on Wyoming Kid Care CHIP is declining, but the number of children on Medicaid is going up. Bob Peck, chief financial officer for the Wyoming Department of Health, said one explanation could be that parents are losing their jobs. Formerly working parents who had their children on the Kid Care program for child health insurance may be having to enroll their families directly into Medicaid, he said…”