ED Proposes Revisions to SIG Requirements

 

On September 8, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) published in the Federal Register proposed revisions to the requirements for the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. The SIG program was initiated in 2010 to provide grants to state education agencies (SEA) to support rigorous interventions to turn around the states’ persistently lowest-achieving schools. SEAs that receive SIG grants competitively sub-grant the funds to local education agencies (LEA), giving priority to the lowest-achieving LEAs with the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to substantially increasing the achievement of their students. [More]

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Categories:Education

 

Full DC U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Agrees to Rehear ACA Subsidy Ruling

 

On September 4, 2014, the full District of Columbia (DC) Circuit Court of Appeals granted the federal government’s petition to rehear en banc (full panel) the 2 to 1 panel decision which held that federal tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would only be available to low-income purchasers on “state-run exchanges.” In its September 4 order, the full panel vacated the 2 to 1 panel decision (HALBERG v. BURWELL, No. 14-5018, D. C. Cir., July 22, 2014) pending a decision by the full panel. [More]

 

Kaiser Releases Analysis of 2015 Health Insurance Premium Changes

 

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (Kaiser) has released a September 2014 report entitled, “Analysis of 2015 Premium Changes in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces.” Kaiser’s report suggests that competitive forces may be helping to keep premiums down on average, but changes in premiums vary depending on geographic area, insurers, market segments, and competitive dynamics among insurers within each area and segment. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

GAO and HHS-OIG Release Reports on Healthcare.Gov

 

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have released new reports on the implementation of Healthcare.Gov. The GAO’s report, entitled “Contract Planning and Oversight Practices Were Ineffective Given Challenges and Risks,” focused on one contract and two task orders which together accounted for over 40 percent of the $840 million obligated for developing Healthcare.Gov and supporting IT systems through March 2014. The GAO concluded that cost increases and delayed system functionality were due mainly to changing technical requirements and ineffective contractor oversight under cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

Pennsylvania Wins CMS Waivers for Medicaid Expansion

 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) notified the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare on August 28, 2014 that it has approved the Commonwealth’s “Healthy Pennsylvania” demonstration waiver. The Department is authorized under this waiver to expand Medicaid for over 500,000 non-aged adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Coverage under Pennsylvania’s “private coverage option” (PCO) will be offered through competing private health plans. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

DHHS Secretary Appoints First HealthCare.gov CEO

 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Sylvia Secretary Burwell has selected Kevin J. Counihan, who oversaw the successful launch of Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, to be the first CEO of HealthCare.gov. The New York Times has stated that Secretary Burwell made the selection “as part of an effort to improve management of the federal marketplace and to avoid the technological failures that paralyzed its website, HealthCare.gov, last fall.” [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

Minority Students Are the New Majority

 

A September 3, 2014 Huffington Post article reports that, this school year, for the first time in history, the majority of students enrolling in U.S. public schools are ethnic minorities. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 50.3 percent of students are Hispanic, African American, Asian, and other non-white ethnicities, while 49.7 percent of students are white; within the next 10 years, the enrollment of white students is projected to drop to 45 percent compared to 60 percent 10 years ago. [More]

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Categories:Education

 

TANF New Reporting Requirements for Child Welfare

 

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has issued new guidance for states on reporting child welfare expenditures claimed to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) effective quarter ending December 31, 2014. The report due to ACF by February 14, 2015 will provide greater detail on how TANF funds are actually spent for foster care, adoption assistance, and guardianship payments, as well as other spending on child welfare services. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

Congress’ Break Left Bipartisan Legislation Hanging

 

The summer break for Congress ended without passage of H.R. 4980, the “Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.” The legislation has bipartisan support for a comprehensive bill that includes the adoption incentive program, the Family Connections grants, as well as new requirements for child welfare agencies involved with victims of sex trafficking. [More]

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Categories:Health and Human Services

 

Secretary Duncan Allows States to Delay Using Student Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations

 

On August 21, 2014, in response to teachers’ concerns, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that states may request a delay in when student test results will be used in the teacher evaluation process. As part of the Obama Administration’s education reform agenda, states have been urged to create and use teacher evaluation systems that factored into account students’ standardized test results. Teachers have maintained that it is too soon to apply the new evaluation systems because teachers need more time to come up to speed on the new standards upon which the tests are based. [More]

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