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Monday, March 4, 2024

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Democracy Trailblazers ignite enthusiasm among teen voters; CA monster blizzard batters Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra amid avalanche warnings; MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard; IN teachers 'stunned' by lawmakers' bid to bypass collective bargaining.

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Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

NC groups work to improve health equity amid Medicaid changes

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024   

Health equity is becoming a top priority in North Carolina as Medicaid undergoes changes. People across the state are experiencing updates, that means some people will transition to managed care while others may lose their coverage. Many people will also become eligible for Medicaid for the first time. These updates are things health advocates say can worsen existing disparities.

Madison Allen, senior program officer with the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, said they are collaborating with local organizations to amplify feedback and address the problems.

"Some of the issues we've heard about from grantees include challenges associated with enrolling or disenrolling from plans, challenges with inadequate provider network, problems accessing transportation, confusing appeal processes," Allen explained.

She added grantees have found cases where people with disabilities have not been accommodated. Allen emphasized that the groups and researchers they support are actively working as intermediaries between the community and the programs to ensure that people receive the benefits they deserve.

About 47% of non U.S. citizens lack health insurance.

Hamutal Bernstein, senior fellow with the Urban Institute, explained that these challenges can be even more difficult for immigrant families. A recent report called "Supporting North Carolina's Immigrant Families" reveals a growing number of Spanish, Swahili and Hmong residents in the state.

Bernstein explains many of these families face language barriers, immigration concerns and discrimination, and added that in some cases, they encounter lengthy enrollment processes and struggle to receive help with documentation, preventing eligible family members from accessing essential safety-net programs.

"So, there are families where there are U.S. citizens, there are U.S. born citizens, there are naturalized citizens, there are sometimes undocumented members and there may be eligible family members for a program and other family members are absolutely not eligible, and so families have to sort all that out," Bernstein continued.

The report says some agencies are unsure about the language needs within their respective counties. To address this, a data tool has been developed to provide insights on immigration demographics. The report also recommends solutions such as hiring staff who represent immigrant communities, improving language accessibility beyond Spanish, and utilizing targeted modes of communication for different age groups.


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