Census Bureau Releases Poverty, Income, and Health Insurance Data for 2018

On Tuesday, the Census Bureau released data on poverty, income and health insurance coverage in the US in 2018. From 2017 to 2018, the percentage of Americans living in poverty dropped 0.5 percentage points to 11.8%. For the first time in eleven years, the official poverty rate dipped below pre-Recession levels. The Supplemental Poverty Measure, which offers a more complete picture of a household’s income by taking into account taxes, government benefits, and common expenses, is less positive. According to the SPM, the share of Americans living in poverty decreased from 13.1% in 2017 to 13.0% in 2018, a statistically insignificant change.

As for income, the 2018 median household income of $63,179 barely budged from 2017, despite rising annually for the prior three years. Health insurance coverage dropped for the first time since the passage of the Affordable Care Act a decade ago, from 92.1% in 2017 to 91.5% in 2018. 27.5 million individuals did not have insurance at any point during 2018. The share of people with public coverage decreased, whereas the share with private coverage stayed the same. The percentage of uninsured children increased 0.6 percentage points to 5.5%. 

House Energy and Commerce Committee Hold Hearing on Maternal Mortality

On Tuesday, Sept.10, the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives discussed the pressing issue of maternal mortality. For every 100,000 births in the US in 2015, 26.4 women died – the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. On Aug. 30, House Republicans introduced a bill that would provide grants to states for maternal care and healthcare provider training, among other things. During the hearing on Tuesday, Democrats expressed support for these provisions; however, they also pushed a measure to expand postpartum care under Medicaid to a year. As of now, Medicaid covers the months during pregnancy, plus 60 days post-birth for some mothers. The disagreement over the Medicaid extension could potentially derail bipartisan efforts to lower maternal mortality.

Source: Bloomberg News

Labor and Education Committee Holds Hearing on Trauma-informed Care In Schools

The Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee hosted a hearing called “The Importance of Trauma-Informed Practices in Education to Assist Students Impacted by Gun Violence and Other Adversities.” The hearing featured three school superintendents and the Surgeon General of California, Nadine Burke Harris, one of the leading experts on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs refer to 10 categories of stressful or traumatic childhood events that lead to, among other things, poor mental and behavioral health in adult life. At the end of her remarks, Harris proclaimed ACEs to be a “public health crisis” that required a panoply of responses, from public education and routine screening to cross-sector coordinated care. 

Source: Education and Labor Committee, House of Representatives

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