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W.K. Kellogg Foundation;
Explore seven grantee stories, letters from our leaders and a look at our Year in Review – each reaffirming WKKF priorities of thriving children, working families and equitable communities, while highlighting the many levels of dynamic interconnections, essential to lasting change.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation;
In the coming years, Mississippi stands to realize a $54 billion gain in economic output by closing the racial equity gap. This report seeks to expand the narrative associated with racial equity by adding a compelling economic argument to the social justice goal. Beyond an increase in overall economic output, advancing racial equity can translate into meaningful increases in consumer spending and tax revenues, and decreases in social services spending and health-related costs. The potential economic and social gains are significant.
Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families;
Mississippi has joined a handful of states seeking federal permission to require parents and caregivers who qualify for Medicaid to prove they are working at least 20 hours a week or participating in an approved work activity before receiving health coverage. Called the "Mississippi Workforce Training Initiative," the application for a Section 1115 demonstration waiver pledges to bring more Medicaid beneficiaries into the workforce and move them onto other forms of health insurance. The proposal, however, ignores the fact that only the poorest and most vulnerable parents now receive Medicaid in Mississippi—and that few of them will be able to afford insurance even if they find jobs. In fact, the state's own estimates suggest that about 5,000 of these Mississippi parents will lose their Medicaid coverage in the first year if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approves the state's request.1 The vast majority of these parents are likely to become uninsured.Approval by the federal government is not certain. While CMS has given approval to three states—Arkansas, Kentucky and Indiana—to impose work rules, those states have all expanded Medicaid to adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Mississippi, however, has not accepted the Medicaid expansion funding provided under the Affordable Care Act. The only Mississippi families affected by the proposed change would be those living at 27 percent of the poverty level or lower. That works out to $5,610 a year for a family of three or $468 a month—among the most restrictive eligibility limits in the nation.The new requirement would also apply to workers using Transitional Medical Assistance who have jobs, but don't yet make enough to afford private insurance. These beneficiaries, by definition, are already working and are temporarily eligible as their income rises due to earnings. As such, this aspect of the proposal contradicts its stated goals.
Institute for Women's Policy Research;
Research conducted in collaboration with the Institute for Women's Policy Research, finds that for sustained economic security and stability, work should pay a living wage, provide workers with sufficient hours of work (full-time, full-year employment), and provide access to health insurance, a pension, and the flexibility for working women and men to balance work and family. Too many jobs fail the test. The earnings of women workers, especially Black and Hispanic women, are even lower than the median for all Mississippi workers.
Carsey School of Public Policy at The University of New Hampshire;
Funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—the federal program that extends health insurance coverage to low income children not eligible for traditional Medicaid—officially expired on September 30, 2017. Given that states implement CHIP in different ways, states will run out of funds at different times, with twelve states exhausting their federal allotment by the end of 2017 (see Figure 1).
Several of these states are populous, and together are home to nearly 9 million—or 30 percent—of the nation's publicly insured children, and to one in five publicly insured rural children. Lawmakers are discussing how to fund reauthorization, and in the meantime, children may become uninsured or switch to more expensive and less comprehensive alternate plans in the interim. As states begin planning for these transitions, legislators should consider both administrative costs and potential effects on family health and finances.
Unintended pregnancy can have significant, negative consequences for individual women, their families and society as a whole. An extensive body of research links births resulting from unintended or closely spaced pregnancies to adverse maternal and child health outcomes and myriad social and economic challenges. In 2011, the most recent year for which national-level data are available, 45% of all pregnancies in the United States were unintended, including three out of four pregnancies to women younger than 20, and there were 45 unintended pregnancies per every 1,000 women aged 15–44, a rate significantly higher than that in many other developed countries. If current trends continue, more than half of all women in the United States will experience an unintended pregnancy by the time they reach age 45. And economically disadvantaged women are disproportionately affected by unintended pregnancy and its consequences: In 2011, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with a family income lower than the federal poverty level, at 112 per 1,000, was more than five times the rate among women with an income greater than 200% of poverty (20 per 1,000).
Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky;
Creating a Culture of Health in Appalachia: Disparities and Bright Spots is an innovative research initiative sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and administered by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. This multi-part health research project will, in successive reports: measure population health and document disparities in health outcomes in the Appalachian Region compared to the United States as a whole, as well as disparities within the Appalachian Region; identify "Bright Spots," or communities that exhibit better-than-expected health outcomes given their resources; and explore a sample of the Bright Spot communities through in-depth, field-based case studies. Taken together, these reports will provide a basis for understanding and addressing health issues in the Appalachian Region. This research initiative aims to identify factors that support a Culture of Health in Appalachian communities and explore replicable activities, programs, or policies that encourage better-than-expected health outcomes that could translate into actions that other communities can replicate.
This first report, Health Disparities in Appalachia, measures population health in Appalachia and documents disparities between the Region and the nation as a whole, as well as disparities within the Appalachian Region.
Mississippi River Collaborative;
This report demonstrates the continuing failure of EPA's voluntary approach and the continuing and growing threats of unregulated nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. EPA has the power and the duty to act to require reasonable, common-sense regulations to address the growing scourge of nutrient pollution, and it should do so. Once again, MRC calls upon EPA to remedy this state of affairs, specifically recommending that EPA:
Develop numeric phosphorus criteria for each of the eight states that have yet to adopt them, and numeric nitrogen criteria for all 10 states.
Require states to assess their waters for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and to prioritize TMDL development and implementation planning accordingly.
Increase oversight of the state NPDES programs to ensure that both narrative and numeric nutrient criteria are implemented through limits in permits, including the use of Water Quality Based Effluent Limits (WQBELs) where appropriate.
Disapprove TMDLs that lacking reasonable assurance that nonpoint source reductions are likely to occur and lack monitoring and timelines to ensure that planned reductions actually take place. Further, EPA needs to provide oversight to ensure consistency among EPA Regions in TMDL review and approval (especially in Regions 4 and 6.)
Ensure that states' Nutrient Reduction Strategies contain implementation plans detailing point and nonpoint source reductions needed, responsible parties, funding mechanisms, milestones, measurement metrics, and reasonable timelines.
Require states under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act to identify programs and practices for controlling nonpoint sources of pollution to the maximum extent possible.
Friends of the Mississippi River;
Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) and the National Park Service's Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) are pleased to present the second edition of the State of the River Report.
In 2012, we partnered to develop the inaugural State of the River Report. That report spurred a series of river management milestones, including closure of the Upper St. Anthony lock, statewide phase-outs of triclosan and coal tar sealants, and improved targeting of state clean water funds.
For the second edition, FMR and MNRRA once again ask the question: "So, how is the Mississippi River?" The State of the River Report highlights 14 key indicators of river health and presents each in a way that non-scientists can understand. The report examines the status and trends of each indicator and highlights strategies for improvement.
Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans;
According to a new report by the Jesuit Social Research Institute of Loyola University in New Orleans, African-American workers make nearly 30 percent less than whites in Mississippi. Around 100,000 working families in the state are without health care.
The disturbing findings in the report made public on Thursday outline wage disparities among class, gender, and race.
"Growing income inequality has left low and middle class workers in Mississippi without wage increases since the Great Recession," said Father Fred Kammer, director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute. "While the highest earning workers have enjoyed significant growth in wages."
Along with statistics showing the poor in Mississippi indeed getting poorer in recent years, the report also found significant disparities in wages along racial lines.
"In 2015, African-American workers earned a median hourly wage that was $4.65 per hour, or 28 percent less than white workers," said lead researcher, Jeanie Donovan.
Donovan says many of the negative consequences outlined can be linked to inadequate education funding.
"If Mississippi does not take action to improve the educational outcomes and economic status of its working class, it will struggle to attract new and innovative businesses to the state and will continue to fall at the bottom of various socio-economic rankings," Donovan said.
Jeremy Eisler is with the Mississippi Center for Justice.
"Everything starts with education. And yet, in this state where we have established a mandatory adequate education program, we have not fully funded it for the last seven years. We're 1.2 billion dollars behind," Eisler said.
Elyshia Davis is a struggling single mother of three who can relate to much of what the report details. She says education is critical, along with another key ingredient.
"Health care. Because I work a job and I get a flat rate of $9, and I have no health care. So that means if I get sick, here's this big hospital bill behind all the other bills I have trying to provide for my family," said Davis.
Along with the negative consequences outlined in the report, it also contains a blueprint of suggestions for improvement.
Those include fully funding public education in Mississippi, expanding the Medicaid program and increasing the minimum wage.
Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED);
The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at Americans' financial security today and their opportunities to create a more prosperous future. It assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 130 outcome and policy measures, which describe how well residents are faring and what states are doing to help them build and protect assets. The Scorecard enables states to benchmark their outcomes and policies against other states in five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care, and Education.