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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Back-to-School Checklist: Remember Health-Care Coverage

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Tuesday, August 16, 2022   

As a new school year kicks into gear, advocacy groups want to ensure Ohio kids have access to medical coverage to keep them healthy and ready to learn.

It is estimated more than half the roughly four million uninsured children in the U.S. are eligible for Medicaid, and the "Get Covered Ohio" campaign is working to bridge the gaps preventing families from enrolling.

Zach Reat, director of health initiatives for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which is doing targeted outreach in Franklin County to help families navigate the enrollment process. He explained they will focus on Hispanic populations, which have higher uninsured rates.

"There's just a lot of confusing requirements," Reat pointed out. "They ask a lot of questions about different types of assets in the application process. And pulling together all those answers and the verification documents that are required can be a really confusing process."

Researchers say children's access to health insurance improves outcomes for children, including educational attainment and economic security.

Reat noted with Medicaid coverage, children can get important routine care services including doctor visits, checkups and immunizations. More information about enrollment is online at getcoveredohio.org.

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks received funding for expanded outreach through the federal "Connecting Kids to Coverage" project.

Pandemic-era policies helped expand Medicaid enrollment, and Reat argued they will continue their work throughout the year to help keep kids covered.

"As the public health emergency around COVID-19 comes to an end, there's going to be a really important need to make sure people are filling out the reinstatement paperwork for Medicaid," Reat emphasized. "We're going to be here to help them with that process."

An estimated 1.3 million Ohio kids have Medicaid coverage. In Ohio, a child is eligible if their household income is below 206% of the federal poverty level; about $4,700 a month for a family of four.

Disclosure: The Ohio Association of Foodbanks contributes to our fund for reporting on Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Livable Wages/Working Families, Poverty Issues, and Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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