Weekly News - November 6, 2017

What Does the Newly Signed CT Budget Mean for Health?

Now that the governor has signed the budget, it's time to take a closer look at impact. We've talked about the impacts to early childhood briefly, but now we'll take a look at the impact on oral health. 

  • The budget would reduce the eligibility cutoff for the Husky A parents program from 150% of the federal poverty level to 133%.  Advocates predict this would end health insurance coverage for 9,500 low-income parents, who would have to buy subsidized insurance on the state's insurance exchange. Health insurance bought through the exchange will not cover dental services, which parents had when covered by Medicaid.
  •  Adult non-emergency dental services will have an annual cap of $1000, although medically necessary services or dentures would be obtainable with prior authorization.
  •  There will be cost sharing for adults covered by Medicaid. How this will be implemented is to be determined.
  •  Over 68,000 people who were receiving help to pay premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare will lose those benefits.  This includes anyone with a monthly income over $1005. This means they may have less to spend on dental care, as Medicare does not cover any dental services.

Federal Tax Plan Overview - What Does it Mean to Families?

The House Republican tax plan has been released and proposed changes will impact many tax filers. While the child tax credit is expanded, it comes with a catch. The credit goes from $1,000 to $1,600, but the $600 increase wouldn't be available to the lowest-income families if they don't owe federal income taxes. Two new, short-lived (phases out after five years) family credits would also be introduced, but would not be refundable. The bill also reduces the number of tax brackets, eliminates personal exemptions and limits deductible mortgage interest. CNN Money offers a breakdown of the key provisions of the bill. First Five Years Fund talks more about the child and dependent care tax credit.

“The economic case for tax relief for child care costs is straightforward. If workers are taxed on their wages, they should receive tax relief for the costs they incur to earn the wages, just as businesses deduct the costs of earning the income on which they pay tax. There can be little doubt that child care costs are tied to work.” — Alan D. Viard, AEI Resident Scholar. Alan penned an opinion piece for The Hill, focusing on the economic case for tax relief for child care costs. To read his full op-ed, click HERE. 

CHIP Update

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to extend CHIP funding without bi-partisan agreement on offsets. The bill’s CHIP provisions reflect what originally passed out of the House Energy and Commerce in September in the Healthy Kids Act. It was amended to the Champion Act, which extends funding for public health programs including community health centers, special diabetes programs, and family-to-family health information centers. The Huffington Post takes a closer look at what should've been a bi-partisan affair, but has since become a partisan fight over offsets, and potentially a Senate Chamber that seems to have no interest in passing a reauthorization at this time. For a closer look from a Connecticut standpoint, the CT Mirror has more.

Governor Malloy, United Way 211 Release Hurricane Resource Guide for Displaced Residents

On Friday, Governor Dannel P. Malloy,  in collaboration with Connecticut United Way 211 and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), announced the release of Hurricane Resources Guides – in both English and Spanish – for those arriving from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Hurricane Resources Guide provides detailed information on programs and services that can help those arriving from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The guide is intended to help individuals and families as well as providers to access various resources and services including:

•       Case Management
•       Education
•       Emotional & Family Support
•       Financial Assistance
•       Food & Nutrition
•       Healthcare
•       Housing

**Download: Resource Guides for Individuals Arriving in Connecticut from Puerto Rico & the U.S. Virgin Islands, HERE.

And from the CT Office of Early Childhood, child care staff and parents seeking access to immunization records for children coming to the United States from Puerto Rico may contact the state immunization program at the Connecticut Department of Public Health at (860) 509-7929.  This will facilitate enrollment of children in licensed child care settings across Connecticut.

CT Early Childhood Cabinet Meeting Scheduled for December 15

Please mark your calendars for Friday, December 15, 2017. The CT Early Childhood Cabinet will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Legislative Office Building (room to be determined). 

Meriden Children First Seeks a Development Consultant

Meriden Children First has put out an RFP for a Fund Development Consultant. The RFP can be found HERE. The deadline to submit an application is Friday, November 17, by 4 p.m. 

New "Zero Weeks" Screenings Planned for Storrs, Hartford

Several more sneak peek screenings of "Zero Weeks," a documentary on paid family leave, have been scheduled for Storrs, Old Lyme and Hartford in the coming weeks. The Storrs preview will take place onTuesday, November 14, at the Women's Center at UConn, the Old Lyme preview will take place onFriday, November 17, at First Congregational Church; and the Hartford preview will take place onThursday, December 7, at Carriage House Theater. For more information or to RSVP, click HERE. 

Let's Talk "Baby Talk"

We speak differently to infants than we do to adults, and now there's an interesting study showing the difference and how it contributes to speech development. To read more about it, click HERE 

Support for the Alliance comes from of our members and our funders: The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, Connecticut Health Foundation, Children's Fund of Connecticut, CT Early Childhood Funder Collaborative, a project of CT Council of Philanthropy; The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut; Community Foundation of Greater New Britain; Community Foundation of Greater New Haven; and The Fund for Greater Hartford.  

If you're interested in supporting our work, please consider a donation HERE.