Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bonus incentives to states for No Kid Hungry gains?

Yesterday’s NY Times included this story: (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/27/health/policy/27medicaid.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=medicaid%20bonus&st=cse) which I think both affirms the strategic wisdom of Share Our Strength's approach to ending childhood hunger, and suggests a tactic we may want to adopt as an effective incentive.

“The Obama administration plans to announce Monday that it will make $206 million in bonus Medicaid payments to 15 states — with more than a fourth of the total going to Alabama — for signing up children who are eligible for public health insurance but had previously failed to enroll.”

The article explains that these payments are “aimed at one of the most persistent frustrations in government health care: the inability to enroll an estimated 4.7 million children who would be eligible for subsidized coverage if their families could be found and alerted. Two of every three uninsured children are thought to meet the income criteria for government insurance programs. … Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, has called the matter “a moral obligation” and has challenged health care providers, state and local governments and community groups to seek out eligible children.”

The parallels with the access issues we see around food and nutrition programs are pretty obvious. We will be eager to explore the feasibility of such an approach in addition to our current leguislative initiative proposing challenge grants to states to enroll more kids in exisiting anti-hunger programs.

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