Almost half of all American births are now paid for by Medicaid

With government playing an ever-larger role in healthcare, there’s almost an even chance that the government paid for your baby.

It’s reminiscent of an ad President Obama’s campaign released in 2012 featuring “The Life of Julia” which promoted a narrative of government taking care of people from cradle to grave.

As the national debate on Obamacare reform takes place, new research by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that, on average, Medicaid, , paid for just over 47 percent of all births in the United States in 2015, with many of those babies born to unmarried mothers. That same year, half or more of all the babies born in 24 states had their births paid for by Medicaid.

Medicaid provides healthcare coverage to low-income families and individuals. Exactly what it covers during pregnancy, for labor and delivery and after a baby’s birth varies by state. Emergency Medicaid, which covers labor and delivery only, is also available to legal immigrants in the country for less than five years, and undocumented immigrants experiencing a medical crisis.

The share of births covered by Medicaid reached 50 percent in Oregon, up from 34.4 percent in 2001. New Mexico earned the honor of being the state with the largest share of births covered by Medicaid, 72 percent. New Hampshire came in at the lowest level, 27 percent.

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Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Of the 3,977,745 babies born in the United States in 2015, 1,600,208 of them—or 40.2 percent–were born to unmarried mothers, according to the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

That made 2015 the eighth straight year that 40 percent or more of the babies born in the United States were born to unmarried mothers, according to CDC data.

Single mothers are more likely to be poor than married couples. The poverty rate for single-mother families in 2015 was 36.5%, nearly five times more than the rate (7.5%) for the families of married-couple families.

According to the  the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), a non-profit group that monitors federal spending, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid already swallow 58% of tax revenue, and are predicted to consume 80% by mid-century. Obviously, this trajectory can not continue.

 

 

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Whither Washington Square Mall?

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SEARS

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1st Quarter 2017 – total sales declined a whopping 20.3 percent, to $4.30 billion; Earnings per share: an adjusted loss of $2.15; Same-store sales: 11.9 percent decline; June 22, 2017 announcement: Sears Holdings is closing 20 more stores in the US, in addition to the 245 closings already announced this year.

J.C. PENNEY

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1st quarter 2017 – Net loss widened to $180 million; announced plans to close 138 stores in 2017; same-store sales fell 3.5 percent.

MACY’S

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1st quarter 2017 – 39 percent drop in quarterly profit; net income fell to $71 million in the first quarter ended April 29, from $116 million a year earlier; Same-store sales declined 4.6 percent; planning to shut 100 stores in 2017.

 

J. CREW

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For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016, total revenues across all brands were down 2 percent to $695 million, with same-store sales down 5 percent. For the entire year, revenue declined 3 percent to $2.43 billion. Comparable company sales decreased 7 percent following a decrease of 8 percent last year. For the three months ended April 29, 2017, total revenues decreased 6% and comparable company sales decreased 9% .following a decrease of 7% in the first quarter last year. The company plans to shutter 20 stores this year.

 

 

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH (owns Abercrombie & Fitch, Abercrombie Kids and Hollister)

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Company has seen comparable sales decline in 14 of the last 15 quarters; Net sales for the first quarter of $661.1 million were down 4% over last year, with same-store sales for the first quarter down 3%.; announced in May 2017 it had begun talks to sell itself as company’s shares were trading near a 17-year low.

Less State Money = Higher Tuition At Oregon State Universities. Not So Fast.

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A group of University of Oregon students protested tuition hikes on May 25, 2017.

Here we go again.

Oregon’s state universities will be raising their tuition again next school year.

Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission recently approved a resident undergraduate in-state tuition increase of 8.37 percent at Portland State University (PSU)  for 2017-18, as well as increases at other Oregon state universities.

With the state’s fairly steady disinvestment in higher education over the years, it is commonly assumed that this has been the primary driver of tuition increases.

I even wrote an article a while ago blaming the Legislature for rising tuition at state universities. “Because of the Legislature’s calculated callousness or pure indifference in funding Oregon universities, young people across the state are facing soaring college loan debts and diminished opportunities for higher education,” I wrote.

But research indicates that declines in state support may not be the primary villain.

A Brookings Institute review of research on the disinvestment hypotheses revealed that a clear causal relationship between reductions in per-student state appropriations and increases in tuition has not been established. Moreover, there’s a “surprisingly thin” amount of research on the relationship.

Sure, higher education tuition has been rising as state support has been declining, but claims that changes in state appropriations are the biggest factor causing tuition increases are simplistic assertions based on nothing more than a comparison of two trends, a Brookings Institute paper said.

For example, in a recent article for FiveThirtyEight, Doug Webber, a professor at Temple University, put changes in tuition at public universities side-by-side with changes in state appropriations in a table, divided one column into the other, and then labeled the result, “share of tuition hike explained by cuts” [Emphasis added].

Brookings challenged this analysis. “..it does not explain how much of the funding cut caused the increase in tuition…Rather, it assumes that a causal relationship already exists, that it is dollar-for-dollar, and that no other factor could explain the changes in tuition,” Brookings said.

A study by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics found that changes in appropriations account for only between 19 percent and 28 percent of changes in published in-state tuition prices.

Another study published in a National Bureau of Economic Research volume examined a dozen factors that might be associated with changes in tuition, including changes in appropriations from state governments. This study, by Michael Rizzo and Ronald G. Ehrenberg, looked at these changes for 98 universities over a 10-year period.

The paper includes an important finding on the magnitude of the effect of a reduction in state appropriations on tuition. The effect, it concluded, is miniscule. The authors found that, “for the average institution in our sample, it would take an increase of $1,000 in state appropriations per student to generate an in-state tuition reduction of only $60.” That means six cents of every dollar in appropriations find their way into lower tuition.

A George Washington University study also has found that changes in appropriations have a very small effect on tuition at public universities. This study found that just ten cents of every dollar increase in appropriations would find their way into lower tuition, an effect similar in magnitude to what Rizzo and Ehrenberg found.

“If the relationship between state appropriations and tuition at public universities is as weak as the two studies show, the ubiquitous claim that cuts to state funding are the “primary driver” of changes in tuition are simply not supported by the research,” the Brookings Institute reported.

Equally, the research suggests that increased appropriations for public universities are unlikely to have an effect as large as advocates assume. “That makes increasing appropriations for public colleges and universities an ineffective—even wasteful—policy for keeping tuition low,” Brookings said. “It also implies that grant aid might deliver more bang for the buck than larger state appropriations.”

So why such an apparently weak link between appropriatio0ns and tuition? Brookings speculates that universities may be simply looking to exploit their pricing power in the market, leading them to raise tuition whether appropriations rise or fall.