Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

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Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Policy Fix Sought to Keep Workers with Disabilities On the Job

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Tuesday, December 20, 2022   

Medicaid "Buy In" is considered a key health insurance tool for workers with disabilities. But according to a new report, the reach of these programs is languishing, potentially keeping these individuals out of the labor force. Minnesota is among the handful of states that have no income limits for a person with disabilities to maintain Medicaid coverage while working as much as they can.

But the Bipartisan Policy Center reported many states do, and they lack the information and resources to make this option widely available.

Lisa Harootunian, associate director, health program, Bipartisan Policy Center said they are out with recommendations to make eligibility easier, so these workers don't lose out on the community health services they need.

"By addressing challenges to the availability of Medicaid buy-in, people with disabilities would no longer have to choose between health coverage and employment," Harootunian said.

The report suggested providing more funding for states to do outreach work to boost awareness. Congress is urged to compel the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to offer more guidance to states on how to optimize their "buy-in" programs.

Harootunian said lawmakers from both parties are behind the idea, but acknowledges other funding priorities might get in the way.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said last year, 19% of people with disabilities were employed in the U-S. Harootunian said states should be motivated to not let them fall out of the working world or stay employed only on a limited basis.

"These programs - they help individuals contribute more to the state through taxes," she said.

She added there is a connection between expanded eligibility and lower Medicaid costs, noting Kansas' program saw per-person monthly expenditures decline by 41% between 2007 and 2011. She said the biggest decreases were in outpatient costs, noting that also translates to a better quality of life for program participants.

Disclosure: Bipartisan Policy Center contributes to our fund for reporting on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Mental Health. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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