The Pulse

The Pulse is written by Kristin Gourlay, an award winning health care reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio.

Full archive of The Pulse can be found here.

Congratulations, class of 2015! You've got your diploma, and you're headed out into the world to start your life as an adult. Well done. If you've already lined up a job, with health insurance, doubly well done! But if not, don't worry. And don't assume you have to go without coverage. You have options.

Rhode Island Department of Health

More than half of Native American children in Rhode Island live in poverty. The infant mortality rate for blacks is twice that of whites in Rhode Island.

RIPR file photo

The Rhode Island House Committee on Finance (Subcommittee on Human Services) heard testimony today about the revised FY '15 and recommended FY '16 budget for the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. That's Rhode Island's child welfare agency, responsible for thousands of children who have been abused or neglected. They provide services to families to help stabilize them and work through a crisis so kids can stay in the home, place kids in foster care, group homes, or residential treatment if needed, and supervise the Training School, Rhode Island's juvenile detention facility.

In 2013, the top prescribed drug for Rhode Islanders with Medicare drug plans was Omeprazole, a treatment for heart burn, ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Health care providers wrote about 190,000 prescriptions for it.

(Reminder: Medicare is the health benefit plan for people over the age of 65 or disabled adults.)

That's followed by atorvastatin calcium (brand name Lipitor), used for lowering cholesterol - prescribed to 27,000 individuals.

A group of 29 Rhode Islanders, from health care providers to policy experts and lawmakers, has been convening for several months to come up with a plan to find $90 million dollars in savings from Medicaid. (Wonk note: That $90 million is just state dollars. The budget proposal calls for cutting more than $180 million, some of which is federal matching dollars.). That was at the behest of Gov. Gina Raimondo, who asked for help closing a nearly $200 million dollar state budget deficit.

Here’s a deeper look at some of the 34 initiatives they’ve proposed to do that.

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