March 27, 2006 Special WIC Update

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SUBJECT: Information from the National WIC Association (NWA)

Phyllis Fuller, State WIC Office, Jim Wheaton, Truman Medical Center - Lakewood and Brenda Brewer, Truman Medical Center - Lakewood attended the NWA Leadership Conference in Washington, D. C. The following information was shared at this Leadership Conference. This includes web links, which provide additional information and numbers specific to Missouri. When you open the tables, Missouri is listed in the MPRO (Mountain Plains Regional Office). Please note the far right hand column in both Tables 1 and 2, since both of these tables speak directly about the potential numbers of moms and children that may not be served if President Bush's budget is implemented.

Feel free to use this information along with the District specific fact sheets that were sent to you in the Monday email of March 13. We encourage you to contact your Senators and Representative. They need to know the important work that you do with mothers and children and how this makes a difference in local communities. If we can provide additional information, please contact Lyn.Konstant@health.mo.gov.

Message from NWA: Building a stronger, healthier America is what WIC is all about. Our success in reaching this goal depends upon skilled professionals like you! As part of a respected team of public health nutrition service providers, you ensure that the nation's mothers and children receive the support they need to lead healthier lives! It is through your dedicated efforts that WIC has become the nation's premier public health nutrition program.

WIC is at risk! Our healthier, stronger America is in jeopardy! NWA needs your help to ensure that WIC is protected for the vulnerable mothers and children we serve.

During our 16th Annual Washington Leadership Conference (5-7 March), we unveiled our WIC AT RISK (WAR) campaign to fund WIC at $5.388 billion and educate Washington policy makers about the harmful Administration proposals to cap Nutrition Services funding (NSA) at 25% and Medicaid adjunctive eligibility at 250%, and require a 20% State Match in fiscal year 2008. Winning this WAR will require a commitment from everyone associated with WIC! Otherwise, the consequences could be disastrous.

Should the proposed NSA cap be approved by Congress, $152 million would be cut from the program and 850,000 participants could potentially lose Nutrition Services benefits. If the proposed State Match were to go into effect, an additional $265 million would be cut from the program, 1.5 million participants could potentially lose Nutrition Services benefits, and thousands of irreplaceable WIC professionals would be at risk of losing their jobs!

It is irrational for the Administration to propose shortsighted Nutrition Services funding cuts to WIC!

Why? If we look only at the bottom line, WIC Nutrition Services funding has empowered the Program to successfully contribute to the federal budget by saving tax payers over $23 billion in food dollars since 1989 through cost containment and hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs! These proposals do not represent clear-headed thinking!

NWA needs you, your friends and colleagues to educate your US Senators and US Representatives about the harm these proposals will do to the mothers, children and businesses in your communities.

To do this, we are asking state and local agency WIC directors and staff to work collaboratively to answer the questions on the attached document. Then, make appointments on your own time to meet with staff in the district offices of your US Senators and US Representatives to share with them the direct impact these harmful proposals will have on the families they represent. To find a complete list of Congressional Delegations visit www.nwica.org and click on "Legislation" and go to the bottom of the page.

We need you to carry along to those District Office Congressional appointments:

NWA 2006 Legislative Agenda: WIC at Risk! A Healthy, Strong America in Jeopardy! (It spells out the Association's positions on the President's budget proposals and is useful for you to use as talking points).
www.paramountcommunication.com/nwica/NWAWICForAHealthier24Feb06.FINAL.I.pdf.

Table 1. "Impact of 25 Percent Cap on WIC NSA Funds" (this is a state by state analysis demonstrating both the financial losses and the participation losses). www.paramountcommunication.com/nwica/table1.pdf.

Table 2. "Impact of 20 Percent State Match on WIC NSA Funds" (this is a state by state analysis demonstrating both the financial losses and the participation losses). www.paramountcommunication.com/nwica/table2.pdf.

Table 3. "Projected State Nutrition Services (NSA) Grant - Losses for FY 2007, FY 2008 Under President's Budget Proposals."
www.paramountcommunication.com/nwica/table3.pdf.

"Sources and methods used to estimate impact of NSA funding proposals in President's Fiscal Year 2007 Budget."
www.paramountcommunication.com/nwica/sources_and_methods.pdf.

"Cost Containment Savings Generated by WIC NSA funding since 1989." www.paramountcommunication.com/nwica/wic_rebates.pdf.

Bi-Partisan Dear Colleague Letter from Representatives Lynn Woolsey and Jim Walsh. www.paramountcommunication.com/nwica/FINAL_DC_and_letter.pdf.

During your meetings we want you to walk your Senators' and Representative's District Office staff through the Legislative Agenda and the three tables. Please use the term "Nutrition Services" when referring to NSA and "mothers and children or kids" when referring to participants. During your meetings, you must make 3 points:

Congress must not cap Nutrition Services funding.
Congress must restore $188 million to the President's Budget request of $5.2 billion for a total of $5.388 billion.
Congress must reject the President's proposal for a State Match.

We would also like you to leave copies of these documents for their future reference. As you walk staff through your presentation, use the answered questions that you have collaboratively prepared to make your presentation relevant to your specific agency or clinic and their Congressional District and your State.

When visiting the District Offices of your US Representatives, share a copy of the Bi-Partisan Dear Colleague letter and invite them to contact the offices of Reps. Woolsey and Walsh to sign on to the letter. Leave your business card or contact information so that staff may reach you to answer any further questions.

In the case of the Bi-Partisan Dear Colleague letter you may also wish to contact your House Member's office immediately and invite them to sign on to the letter. Feel free to e-mail the letter to staff and be sure to copy our Public Policy Nutritionist Tae Chong at tchong@nwica.org on all of your correspondence.

After your meetings, log on to
http://www.blogger.com/
and share in appropriate and respectful language your meeting experiences and results. NWA staff will periodically review meeting reports to follow up with any necessary steps to reach out to Congressional delegations.

Use these documents to reach out to friends and colleagues who may also be willing to support NWA in our WAR effort. If they are also willing to be in touch with their Representatives and Senators, please invite them to also copy Tae Chong on any e-mail correspondence they forward to District or Capitol Hill Offices.

Thank you for participating in this critical WAR effort and for being on the front lines of the battlefield to improve the nutritional health and well-being of the mothers and children WIC serves.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the NWA National Office on 202.232.5492 or by e-mail on tchong@nwica.org.

Yours,
Jan Kallio, President
Mary Kelligrew Kassler, Legislative Chair
The Rev. Douglas A. Greenaway, Executive Director