Georgetown’s Health Policy Institute has been busy analyzing health insurance trends across the country using data taken largely from the American Community Survey (ACS), a product of the U. S. Census Bureau discussed in a previous post. Their findings laud the drop in the number of uninsured children nationally, while pointing out the disparities among states, as thirty states failed to show any improvement in this area. By and large, it was the increase in the number of insured children in states like Texas, Florida and California that drove up the national average, not improvements across the entire country. Georgetown researchers attribute the large gains in those states to new policies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the fact there were so many uninsured children in those three states to begin with.
In 2011, the number of uninsured children fell to around 5.5 million, down from nearly 6.4 million in 2009. Since there has been no significant decrease in the number of children living in poverty, the drop shows how changes in policy and programs are making a positive impact. This report gives us a starting point to begin comparing successful practices and determine what changes still need to be made across the country. But in essence, to tackle this problem states need to increase access to existing programs and take the opportunity to expand coverage using funds from the upcoming Medicaid expansion. (more…)
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Karissa Coltman, SaveUSA Research Coordinator and Tax Program Operations Specialist, is our May guest blogger.
In a tough economy where so many hard working families are barely making ends meet, it might seem strange to ask “What are you saving for?”. Yet this is exactly the question asked of and answered by 702 families this year in Tulsa who enrolled in SaveUSA. They have been given the opportunity to have 50 cents of each dollar they saved matched in a special savings incentive research study. This savings incentive opportunity was offered at tax time to income eligible families in four cities across the country, including Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The program which is also offered in New York City, Newark, NJ, and San Antonio, TX, just completed its second tax time enrollment period where tax payers with dependants making $50,000 or less and tax payers with no dependents making $25,000 or less were given an opportunity to set aside a portion of their refund (a minimum of $200) into a special savings account with an opportunity to receive a 50 cent deposit matching each dollar they saved at tax time, up to $500, on February 1,2013.
Community Action Project of Tulsa County is one of the research sites tracking two randomly assigned sets of participants, a program group that had the opportunity to open the matched savings account, and a regular filers group that did not. Researchers hope to determine over a 3 to 5 year period whether there is any significant difference between the program group with an incentive to save part of their refund and the regular filers group. The study is in its second of three programmatic years, and will follow participants for a total of five years to determine long term impact of an incentive to save. (more…)
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If you’re like me and just can’t keep straight the basics of early childhood research, this table is just for you. Full report here, from Brookings (PDF).
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