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Arise Daily News Digest 12-21-2014
AL.COM - Charter schools in Alabama? Republican lawmakers plan 2015 push.
AL.COM - Chief Justice Roy Moore calls Huntsville City Council's prayer policy 'foolish'.
DECATUR DAILY - Reporter Mary Sell’s Capitol Notebook: Shedd: Rural areas a priority.
(FLORENCE) TIMES DAILY - Bentley: Every budget option is on the table.
(FLORENCE) TIMES DAILY - Many prospective UNA students choosing community colleges instead.
GADSDEN TIMES - Governor's Medicaid comments bring hope, scorn.
ANNISTON STAR - Tax is owed for online out-of-state purchases, but no one is forcing payment.
ANNISTON STAR - Despite shrinking labor force, economists optimistic: Lower unemployment due to shrinking worker pool, economists say.
ANNISTON STAR - Contributor Maura Casey: Measuring democracy in America.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Gambling in Alabama: A high-stakes game of political intrigue.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - Contributor Josh Moon: My Christmas wish: A Poarch Creek comeback.
MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER - The Montgomery Advertiser: Accreditation issues must be ASU's top priority.
OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS - Construction of medical school in Auburn set for completion in April.
WASHINGTON POST - For Obama, a good December, but hard choices lie ahead.
WASHINGTON POST - Fixing the broken talent flow: New barriers have sprung up to push workers into lower-value positions.
WASHINGTON POST - Columnist Dana Milbank: Good riddance to the worst Congress ever.
NEW YORK TIMES - Military Hospital Care Is Questioned; Next, Reprisals
NEW YORK TIMES - How the High Cost of Medical Care Is Affecting Americans
NEW YORK TIMES - Raising Ambitions: The Challenge in Teaching at Community Colleges.
NEW YORK TIMES – Columnist Frank Bruni: Hacking Our Humanity
NEW YORK TIMES - How School Segregation Divides Ferguson — and the United States
NEW YORK TIMES – Columnist Nicholas Kristof: The Gift of Education
SALON - EPA goes soft on toxic coal ash: New regulations for the dangerous coal byproduct fail to treat it as hazardous waste.
THE ATLANTIC - Inequality Between America's Rich and Poor Is at a 30-Year High
MOTHER JONES - Is Protecting Gun Rights Really a Growing Priority for Americans?
NPR - When Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Their Poorest Patients
Medicaid RCOs will lead to a healthier Alabama
ACPP policy director Jim Carnes issued the following statement Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, in response to Gov. Robert Bentley's announcement of the Alabama Medicaid Agency's new regional care organization (RCO) plan:
"Today marks the beginning of a new era for health care in Alabama. By emphasizing preventive and primary care and giving communities a stronger role in health care decision-making, Medicaid’s RCO model is creating a new roadmap to a healthier Alabama and a more stable state budget.
"The governor's announcement highlights how vital Alabama Medicaid is to the health care system on which we all depend. We thank Gov. Robert Bentley, State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson and Acting Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar for their leadership in the state's Medicaid transformation. And we congratulate the six RCOs for successfully completing the first phase of this historic effort."
Alabama's strong participation in anti-hunger program is great news for 180K+ children
ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister issued the following statement Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's release of data showing that more than 180,000 Alabama children – nearly one in four of the state's public school students – attend schools that are using the community eligibility option under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to serve free school meals to all of their students in 2014-15:
"No child should go hungry. No matter where they grow up or how little their families make, all children deserve the chance to succeed in the classroom and in life. Community eligibility is a huge step toward making that goal a reality.
"Nearly 350 Alabama schools are seizing this opportunity to help students learn and thrive. Our state's schools are participating at nearly twice the national rate, and we encourage even more schools to take part next year."
The State of Working Alabama 2014: Health coverage in Alabama: Where we've succeeded and where there's work left to do
Alabama has enjoyed great success in recent decades in ensuring that children and seniors have the health protection they need, according to a new Arise Citizens’ Policy Project report issued Tuesday as part of The State of Working Alabama 2014. But the state lags behind the nation when it comes to insuring young adults, nearly 30 percent of whom lack health coverage.
"Child care, construction and food service are essential jobs that are often low-paying, and the people who do that important work deserve the protection of health insurance," ACPP policy director Jim Carnes said. "The Marketplace makes affordable coverage available for tens of thousands of Alabamians. Closing the coverage gap would insure hundreds of thousands more. It's time for our state to take this important step toward a healthier, more secure Alabama for all."
Alabama is 'star of the South' for insuring children, report finds
The number of Alabama children without health coverage dropped by nearly half between 2008 and 2013, and Medicaid and ALL Kids deserve a huge piece of the credit, according to research by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF). Alabama's number of uninsured children has fallen by nearly 11,000 since 2011 alone, a new CCF report finds. The state's estimated child uninsured rate of 4.3 percent is the nation's 10th best and the best among all Southern states.
"Alabama is the star of the South when it comes to making sure kids have the health care they need to succeed," said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University CCF. "It's a real tribute to the hard work of children's advocates like Alabama Arise and state health officials that Alabama has become such a leader on helping uninsured children."
Alabama's public transportation system needs a tune-up, report concludes
Alabama's transportation system forces residents to rely too much on automobiles and undermines the state's economic growth, according to "Connecting Our Citizens for Prosperity," an October 2014 report released by Alabama State University's Center for Leadership and Public Policy. Jon Broadway, Ph.D., and ACPP policy analyst Stephen Stetson are the report's authors.
Alabama is one of only five states providing no state money for public transportation. That lack of investment effectively isolates many residents who are unable to drive or lack access to private vehicles, the study finds. It also means Alabama is forgoing the new jobs that building and maintaining public transit options would bring, ACPP executive director Kimble Forrister said.
"Our state's current transportation system simply can't be sustained," Forrister said. "Alabama's failure to invest in public transportation means too many of our neighbors can't get where they need to go when they need to get there. That doesn't just hurt them; it hurts our entire state's economy."