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PNS Daily Newscast _ March 31, 2020 


Treasury and IRS say economic impact checks for COVID-19 to begin in next three weeks. And states deal with collision of coronavirus and homelessness.

2020Talks - March 31, 2020 


During the new coronavirus pandemic, many are advocating more mail-in ballots. Some say restricting voting by mail is one method of suppressing the vote.

Health Insurance for Virginia Kids vs. Politics - Kids Win Round One

August 6, 2007

One hundred fifty thousand kids in Virginia are in the "waiting room" when it comes to health insurance, and Congress has agreed to get some of their names on the doctor's list. The details of which kids get in and which don't are being ironed out between the U.S. House and Senate, while Congressmen are feeling pressure from cigarette companies. Expanding FAMIS coverage depends on a higher federal tobacco tax. Jill Hanken with the Virginia Coalition for Children's Health says several studies show higher tobacco taxes are what the public wants, and there are fringe benefits.

"Information shows that tobacco tax increases result in fewer people smoking, and the state can save money related to tobacco illnesses."

Hanken notes tobacco taxes are a sensitive issue for Virginia's Congressional delegation because of the state's tobacco production history.

President Bush has threatened to veto any expansion of children's health insurance coverage, saying it will encourage parents to opt out of employer-sponsored plans. Hanken believes that's unlikely because the expansion targets families currently without any options.

"Many already qualify for the program but aren't enrolled. And states are finding so many uninsured kids, without additional funding, support for the program would not be enough."

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - VA