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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

More Ohio Kids Would Benefit from Continuous Coverage to Age 6

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Friday, February 17, 2023   

Health experts say extending Ohio's 12-month continuous health coverage for kids relying on Medicaid or CHIP until a child turns six would be a big help to Ohio's youngest residents.

The state will begin rechecking eligibility for these programs after a pandemic-era law ends on April 1.

Kelly Vyzral, senior health policy associate for Children's Defense Fund Ohio, explained that once children are eligible for Medicaid, their parents wouldn't have to worry about re-enrolling them until they start elementary school. That means kids would be more likely to get their regular doctor visits, health screenings and developmental checks.

"They might have that eyesight, they might have issues with their mobility, they could have dyslexia, any type of issues like that," she said, "that you can catch early and begin to remediate, begin to work on - that just puts that child so much further ahead."

According to new research from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, an estimated three in four children will likely lose coverage when the pandemic's emergency coverage protections end this spring, even though they will still be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP.

Vryzal said there are numerous resources Ohio families can use to check their eligibility.

"There are lots of community organizations that they can reach out to if they need help," she said. "I would suggest that people reach out to their food banks, that they reach out to their county caseworkers, and make sure that they have that information updated."

Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy, said federal research indicates 72% of the kids who lose their Medicaid coverage will still be eligible, noting Black and Latino families are at greater risk of losing theirs.

"Language issues may be a barrier when you have families who are perhaps mixed-status immigrant families, who have some fear about engaging with the government; families who live in rural areas, who don't have good internet connectivity," she said. "There are lots of reasons families are going to be at greater risk."

Nearly 70% of Black children and 60% of Latino children nationwide are now receiving public coverage, according to data from the National Health Interview Survey.

Disclosure: Georgetown University Center for Children & Families contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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