It was great to see about 200 people last week at the Fort Worth Kids Count lunch, sponsored by CPPP, United Way and others. A lot of great data, and it inspired me devote this week’s update to facts that were of interest to me, and hopefully, to you.
- Between 2000 and 2009, 2 million children were added to the US population. 1 million of them were in Texas.
- The Medicaid budget cuts will decrease funding to Tarrant County by $840 million over the next two years.
- Texas is the worst in the nation in preschoolers being read to regularly
- 21% of kids in Tarrant County, TX, live in poverty.
- 96% of kids in Texas are US citizens Hungry for more?
There’s a great website — explore for yourself: http://www.stateoftexaschildren.org/
Here’s a way to look stuff up on your smartphone. http://www.tkcmobile.org/
Click here to download the presentations.
Texas got a B in children’s dental. That’s better than average!
The Pew Charitable Trusts last month graded all of the states on children’s dental health, and Texas was one of 20 states that received a “B” by meeting five of eight benchmarks.
One of the eight benchmarks is that the state tracks data on children’s dental health. Did you know that? Neither did I. I do know that Texas spends far more on Medicaid dental benefits than any other state, so it’s good to see that we’re getting our money’s worth. According to MACPAC, which tracks Medicaid spending, Texas Medicaid spent $1.28 billion in fiscal 2010 on dental care. It doesn’t break out how much of that is children’s Medicaid; I assume some is adult Medicaid.
The next closest state in Medicaid dental spending was California at $554 million. New York spent $311 million. Also, MACPAC reports that Texas spent more on dental benefits than physicians ($1.156 billion) in 2010. Pretty interesting, huh? Click here to read more about the Pew scorecard for Texas
Poor is in the eye of the beholder
When I see a poor state expand its children’s health insurance program, I wonder what’s wrong with us. This month, the West Virginia Children’s Health Insurance Program said it is seeking federal approval to cover more families. The state wants to cover working families earning up to 300% of the federal poverty level, up from the current 250%.
Now, I looked on the Census Bureau site and found that Texas is far richer than West Virginia in median household income ($37,528 in West Virginia compared to $50,049 in Texas).
So, let’s face it. It’s not really that we can’t afford to pay for healthcare for our kids, it’s that we don’t choose to do so.
That point came home to me this week, reading a story about why the Legislature persisted in not using the Rainy Day Fund, not cutting tax breaks for natural gas, not raising taxes and not fully funding Medicaid and schools.
”We didn’t do these cuts because we wanted to,” Finance Chairman state Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, told 30 other members of the Texas Senate. “We did these cuts because of the state’s economy and I believe the state’s electorate demanded it.”
They think this is what we want.
That’s a no-fun fact.
Quote of the week
“When people think someone is standing up and fighting for them, it gives them hope.” — State Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, talking about her filibuster that forced a special session by refusing to settle for a plan that underfunded schools by $4 billion.
Thanks to Wendy and everyone else who is fighting for kids,