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A Picture of Dwindling Nutrition and Health for Colorado’s Poor

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Last week, state Republicans cut funds for a program that ensures poor kids start their day with breakfast. Now, the Denver Post writes that “massive delays continue to plague” the state as it attempts to deliver Medicaid, food stamps, and other assistance to the needy. Hundreds of thousands of residents have had trouble accessing funds to which they are entitled, provoking advocates to claim contempt of court. Seventy-one percent of Child Health Plan Plus re-enrollments have been delayed illegally, they allege, along with 44 percent of initial adult Medicaid applications.

Moreover, some promised improvements are still in the distant future. For instance, a federal law change will streamline the application process for kids already on free and reduced-price school lunches to automatically qualify for some state medical aid—but not until 2012. Unfortunately, schools have reached a new frontier when it comes to health. As Education News Colorado reports, gone are the days when school nurses merely passed out aspirin and bandaged skinned knees. Today, about one in four kids has a chronic ailment that might require care on any given day. School nurses are dealing with feeding tubes, catheters that need to be cleaned, injections that have to be administered, and so forth. These days, an expert says, kids leave hospitals and go right back to school. Trouble is, there aren’t enough nurses to care for them.

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