Thursday, December 3, 2015

Surprise! Medicaid benefits children

By Alex Ayala

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y —Bernie Sanders has advocated for a single payer healthcare in during his run for the democratic nomination for president.
Many Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio already disagree with the idea of Obamacare, thinking that it will not provide antiquate coverage for Americans and add to much money to the
This same mindset is what some think of Medicaid.
"Medicaid gets a really bad rap," Harold Pollack a healthcare policy expert said in a Los Angles Time article. "
Medicaid is full of misconceptions that some have including it's for people who don't work, just for poor people who do not work and that it is not as good as private insurance.
"We have almost 13,000 people in Clinton County on Medicaid" said John Reddon Commissioner of Social Services in Plattsburgh. “The majority of those 13,000 is probably without looking I might guess 90 percent are working or elderly.”
A survey from 2003 to 2013 of more than 80,000 children by the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins showed that Medicaid gives just as good if not better health care coverage for children. 
In the survey, children under Medicaid were "significantly more likely to received preventive medical and dental coverage then private insurance."
Of the children surveyed, more than 57 percent have private insurance, 13.6 percent  had Medicaid, 18.4 percent were covered by the government's Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP and 10.8 percent were uninsured.
And with 28 percent of children in Plattsburgh living in poverty according to the 2014 Fiscal Profile of the City of Plattsburgh by the Office of the New York State Comptroller, knowing this shows the success of the program no just in America but in the Plattsburgh. 
So why do Republicans like Cruz and Rubio and those who dislike it want to see it shut down?
The main problem with programs such as Medicaid is money. Reddon said in Clinton County alone, Medicaid cost $17 million a year.
‘If you want to lower Medicaid, the employer has to give higher wages,” Reddon said. “They need to provide medical coverage. They need to not put the stigma.”
And because of the misconception with Medicaid, people think the coverage is nowhere close to the coverage the private sector.
“The coverage is good if not better.” said Reddon. It’s probably better than most private.”
One example Reddon gave is the Heroin and Opium epidemic in Plattsburgh.
He said many private insurance companies for inpatient ones have a fail first philosophy. You have to fail an outpatient then they will consider you for inpatient. Or if you are an inpatient, the patient might be allowed only two weeks.
With Medicaid, you are given whatever you needed for help until things get better.
So what can people do to get rid of the misconceptions for Medicaid?
“It’s community response,” Reddon said.
Education Reddon said is one of the ways to tackle the misconceptions.

 “Its health insurance for low income people but their working low income people,”Reddon said. “We have an ethical obligation to provide the best health coverage that we can and it shouldn’t be based on by poverty or wealth.”


Local Club is more than just for breakfast

By: Alex Ayala

PLATTSBURGH, N.YBradley M Provost is a simple, honest, working man.
He works in retail, has a wife and two adopted kids and just moved to Plattsburgh four years ago from Vermont.
"My life revolves around four walls," he said.
Now he's the President of the Kiwanis Breakfast Club in Plattsburgh.
"It's the best thing to ever happen to me," he said.
The Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers who hope to create change to children and communities around the around. The Breakfast club was formed on Oct.1 1990 as part of more than the 7,700 clubs worldwide.
Don't confuse it with the Kiwanis Plattsburgh Club; The Breakfast Club is for those who can't make it to lunch.
The Kiwanis Club has their meetings at 12:15 pm, Thursdays at the Perkins Restaurant on Route 3 and the first Thursday of every month at 5:30 pm.
The Breakfast Club meets at 7:30 am every Tuesday.
The Kiwanis Club was also charted on April 11, 1929.
But though the club is young and small, that hasn't stop the club from donating and volunteering to many organizations in Plattsburgh.
The Breakfast Club, with only 15 members, help out with other community programs like Joint Council for Economic Opportunity in Plattsburgh, Ted K center, Boy Scouts, Head Start and many others.
One event is the JCEO Backpack program where the club help fill children's backpacks with food in the Plattsburgh City School District to help fight child hunger.
According to Feeding, a domestic hunger-relief organization that has more than 200 food banks, more than 15.3 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2014.
Twenty percent or more of the child population in 38 states and D.C. lived in food-insecure households in 2013.
Another event the club does weekly is Head Start reading, where a club member goes to the United Methodist Church on 127 Beekman St and read children books to the kids at the church.  
"We donate to so many different things it great to be involved with a group that is able to donate to so many different programs. It's very amazing," Provost said. "You hear these things and you think they only happen in large cities but it's happening in Plattsburgh."
The biggest fundraiser The Breakfast Club host is Dozerfest, where children get inside Dozers, move around the buckets and pick up dirt and rocks. They basically drive them with an instructor. Last time the even happened, the club raised more than $30,000.
Provost heard about the club because his wife is really involved in the community. His wife was involved with a project with the Kiwanis and when Provost came along to help, well let just say he joined when his wife did.
"I guess when she joined, I joined," Provost laughed.
And ever since then, it has been a life changing experience for Provost.
"It's just for the kids. It's always for the kid," he said "It about bettering out community and kids as a whole."
But beyond the club meetings and the events, nothing makes Provost smile more than seeing the kids have fun and getting excited.
"My favorite part is the smile on kids’ faces. That's my favorite part and knowing that we just made a kids day.”


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How far is too far when it comes to “SNAP” and other government funded assistance programs?

By Madison Winters

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.,— The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP is a civil service program available through Clinton County. The program
Colleen Jennings works for the department of civil service. Jennings said there is a list of criteria that people have to meet before they can even apply for assistance.
Eligibility is dependent upon house hold income, being elderly of disabled, receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), receiving public assistance (TANF) or being homeless. Owning a home or car doesn't prohibit assistance.
If you meet the requirements the next step is filling out an application, this step is extremely important because if you are given assistance it is computed from the day you filed your application Jennings said.
Justine Conti and her husband Marty have received SNAP assistance for just over a year. The couple said that the decision to apply for assistance was a difficult decision.
Justine Conti said she didn't want people to think that she was just “taking advantage of the system.”
She thinks that some parents are afraid to ask for the assistance that they really need because they are worried about how that could affect the way other people view them.
“After I had my second child we really struggled to put food on the table every night,” Conti said. “It was embarrassing to apply, but I'll deal with a little embarrassment if that means my kids can go to sleep without being hungry.”
Mark Conti said that the hesitation to apply put the family in a tough position, they wouldn't have enough money to last up to 30 days until they could receive assistance.
“We asked them if there was anything we could do to receive assistance sooner,” he said. “When they explained the expedited snap to us and told us that we qualified it was like a gift from heaven.”
Usually it takes up to 30 days to receive assistance but if you qualify for expedited SNAP you can receive SNAP within 5 business days. You do not need to be out of food to apply for expedited SNAP.
According to Jennings Conditions for eligibility include, a household with less than $100 cash and other available resources, Will get less than $150 in gross income during the month that of application, if the household income and available resources are less than the cost rent or mortgage, plus heat, utilities and telephone or if the applicant is a migrant or seasonal farm worker.
SNAP is trying to make receiving assistance more convenient for their clients through the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. The card is very similar to a regular debit card that you could have through your local bank. The new system works is by provides the client with a card that is easy to use and much more discreet, giving the user anonymity that wasn't possible with the old system. Mary
Waters has just started using the EBT card, she thinks that the card takes a lot of the “shame” out of going to the grocery store for the who are on an assistance program.
“There's always the people that look at you like your just some scum looking for a free hand out,” she said.
Water's thinks that there a large portion of people who receive assistance and use it for things like beer, cigarettes and other non-essential items. Waters said that people who make those purchases with their assistance benefits give the entire process a “bad name”.
“Now I can just swipe my card and the only person that knows what I'm doing is the cashier,” she said. “I only use my card for food that my family needs but still it's nice not to be grouped with people like that.”
There are a few requirements that come along with receiving assistance, if you qualify for SNAP, you may require to see the New York Works councilors at Clinton County Employment and Training Administration (CCETA). The CCETA conducts interview of prospective clients and places them in a Job Readiness program that requires the client to be present for a total of 21 hours a week. The clients are also given 4 to 6 week window for training.
Alexandra O'brien works with Job Readiness program. She said that during the orientation clients are informed of the realities of present day job markets, expectations and guidelines that are necessary to gain and retain employment.
“We talk about child care and transportation and then it gets down to the real stuff,” she said. “Like labor market, assistance with interview skills, assistance with resumes, assistance with job application and dress code and conduct.”
O'brien said that it makes her proud to see some of her clients years later and see how far they've come and how much the assistance and the benefits that go along with it have changed the lives of beneficiaries.

“At the end of the day we could all use some help sometimes,” she said. “The important part is realizing it's OK to ask for it.”

NCAA rule change meeting

By Kyle Richardson

PLATTSBURGH—Over the summer of 2015, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel meet and approved a collection of proposals and areas of focus in men's and women's basketball for the upcoming season. Officials will be looking to improve the pace of play, a more balanced offence, and a reduced physical aspect to the game.
            The main areas that will be changing are shot-clock changes, perimeter defense play, physicality in post play, moving screens and freedom of movement for off-ball players. 
            Officials are being told to emphasize no hands when defenders are playing perimeter defense.  Defenders are expected to move their feet more instead of using hands to keep who they are defending in front of them. This change is concerning for some coaches.
“I feel this is great for ball handlers however, not every official calls fouls the same way so one game officials may let guys play and another game refs will all every hand check. That slows down the pace of the game,” said Plattsburgh Men's Basketball assistant coach Derrick Denteh.
Post play is another key change the NCAA made for this season. Defenders can be more physical in the post and can now use an arm-bar when getting backed down in the post. This change was enforced in efforts to evening the playing field for defenders. 
“The arm bar was a great change in my opinion, it allows post defenders to use our strength more efficiently in the paint and doesn't give offensive players the advantage,” said Majestic Griggs, center for Plattsburgh State.
Another change in efforts to improve pace of play is the shot-clock change. The new shot-clock is 30 seconds instead of 35.  The last time the shot-clock was reduced was 1993 when it changed from 45 seconds to 35 seconds.
Denteh approved the change in shot-clock. “Being a team that likes to get out and run the floor, the change doesn't really affect, the biggest impact it has is on defence because we like to press and when we press, it gives the offense less time to set up offence.”
In the past, players were not allowed to dunk during warmups. If a player dunked and the refs saw, it was a technical foul and the opposing team would get two free throws prior to the start of the game. This season however, players are now allowed to dunk freely without penalty. 
“This change allows players to loosen up more during warmups and put on a little show for fans, however I see how some refs may not like it because you risk injury or breaking the rim before the game even starts,” said Shamoy McIntosh, student assistant coach pr Plattsburgh State.
In women's basketball, the biggest change was the switch to quarters instead of halves. Two 20 minute halves was the norm for college basketball; however now in women’s basketball, there are four 10 minute quarters. This change was endorsed by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Board of Directors. Teams will now be in a two shoot bonus after the fifth foul in each quarter.
“It makes the game so much longer and more stop and go rather than consistent up and down play.  The biggest plus is the removal of media timeouts,” said Jalyn Brown, women’s basketball player at CW Post University. Media timeouts used to be called every four minutes and with the change to quarters, the media timeout was removed.
Ailayia Demand, point guard at Lemoyne College sees the change in a more positive way. “I think it give teams a chance to regroup after each quarter and evaluate the game rather than waiting until half time.”

  The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel made these changes in efforts to improve the game. This year is a big experimental year and the panel will be evaluating how these changes affect the game.