Despite the enormous benefits Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide to Washington State’s families and economy, the Legislature is considering charging premiums to many children in these programs. The proposed premiums will wreck havoc on the lives of vulnerable children, cost the state more in the long run, and harm Washington’s economy. This report provides an overview of the important contributions Medicaid and CHIP make to the economy of and quality of life in Washington State, and the devastating impacts of premiums.
Economic conditions in Idaho are squeezing low-income families from every direction. Unemployment continues to rise and many of Idaho’s families live in poverty. The rates of personal bankruptcy and lack of health insurance are also increasing. Skyrocketing energy costs are an unbearable burden when added to these economic realities. Energy consumers who turn to the state for help find that the Low-Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) budget is woefully inadequate, and that consumer protections for low-income consumers are not strong enough.
As large businesses cut health benefits or shift costs to employees, more and more workers must forego coverage. Employment is losing its status as the gateway to health care for working families, who must use publicly funded coverage or go without entirely. When employers leave their workers – especially low-wage employees – without coverage, they are maximizing their profits at the expense of workers and the state. Washington State has the power to level the playing field for working families. Lawmakers should tell large companies that making an appropriate health insurance investment is a condition of doing business in Washington State.