Policy Bits ~ 3 Things to Know & Watch This Week
April 4 –10, 2016 ~ Karly Malpiede Andrus


The Story Behind the Biggest Wedge Issue At the Capitol This Year

  • Originally a vehicle to get hospitals some payment for uninsured patents that needed care, the hospital provider fee is something that many states adopted as a way to expand Medicaid. The reclassification of the Hospital Provider Fee could reduce the likelihood of TABOR refunds and hopefully free up money to spend on transportation and education. However, the GOP is against the reclassification without a public vote. https://goo.gl/8fPLL2
  • Important to remember the bill could have been exempted form TABOR at its passage but lawmakers did not want to end run around TABOR. Also of concern then and now is the lack of health care professionals to provide the care that many are now eligible for; without actual providers then all we have done is put a card in people’s wallet. This will be an important component of next year’s budget and could make or break efforts to advocate for affordable housing or other services.


The Alliance for Biking & Walking Releases Their 2016 Benchmarking Report

  • In conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Community Design Initiative, the Alliance publishes the biennial Benchmarking Report to collect and analyze data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states, the 52 largest U.S. cities, and a select number of midsized cities. The Report combines original research with over 20 government data sources to compile data on bicycling and walking levels and demographics, safety, funding, policies, infrastructure, education, public health indicators, and economic impacts. It’s an essential go-to resource for public officials, advocates, decision makers, and researchers. .http://goo.gl/S5f9rV
  • This report could be very helpful to local partners as we explore these issues.


More Than 500,000 Americans Stand to Lose SNAP Benefits on April 1st

  • A clause in the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act limited Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to 3 months in any 36-month period for unemployed adults between 18 and 49 who are not working but enrolled in job-training or community service at least 20 hours per week. During the Great recession many states instituted waivers to these limits but with the national unemployment rate improving the restrictions will be back in effect in 40 states this year.
  • This tale from the field ties into work many partners are doing on the ground in low income and working poor communities. It also shows that policy makers need to anticipate that even though they would like to spend less on these programs using one indicator like the unemployment rate is subpar to make these large scale decisions. For instance, the unemployment rate only captures those actively seeking employment and those that may be most at risk are long time unemployed and may have even dropped out of the labor force.