Small Victories For Kids and Maybe Even Congress
INFOGRAPHIC OF THE DAY
As this edition of Pat’s Picks hits the Next Gen website, the Republican and Democratic Senate leaders forged an agreement to reopen the government and raise the debt limit. The circuitous path leading to the resolution is reported on here.
The cost of the federal government shutdown is estimated at $24 Billion. A rough calculation of what the impasse costs the U.S. economy is here. Gallup reports 39% of Americans cite dissatisfaction with government as the Nation's most pressing issue. The impact of the impasse on SNAP, WIC, TANF and Head Start appears here. A series of graphs shows how the federal shutdown disproportionately affected agencies serving families and children and those protecting the environment.
Now, over two weeks into its official launch, HealthCare.gov, the ACA website, has been described as a clunky, unmanageable train wreck. Important questions remain on enrollee tenacity; how the technology delays will impact actual enrollment; and, what happens if the ACA exchange grinds to a halt. So far, enrollment on the federal exchange has been so cumbersome that claims of success have risen to the stuff of urban legend. If you’re looking for clues about whether the ACA will survive these technical problems, the Massachusetts plan – a model for Obamacare – may provide a hint. Here’s an explanation for why the glitches may be deep and profound. And, for those beginning to think navigating the hurdles of enrollment aren't worth an investment of time, read Janine Urbaniak Reid’s op-ed about her son, Mason.
With an estimated 15% of all those without insurance nationwide living in the Golden State, Covered California is arguably the most geographically and demographically diverse exchange in the Nation. Reports confirm it’s off to a good start, despite initial glitches on launch day and nagging questions about access to specific doctors and hospitals. Thanks to the State’s efforts at early Medi-Cal expansion, 600,000 people ‘technically enrolled’ on opening day. Firm enrollment figures are not expected until next month, but the Sac Bee reports nearly 1.6 million visitors checked-out the exchange’s online portal and at least 104,000 customers called the service center.
If the primary objective of parents is raising happy, healthy children, two recent studies indicate a child’s overall health is profoundly dependent on external factors like an orderly, structured family life and lots and lots of parental affection. Another new study examines how overarching stress caused by caring for a seriously ill child pervades the psyche of the entire family. The importance of neonatal screening tests is explained here. The recent rollout of the healthcare exchanges is viewed as an opportunity for improving the well-being of kids and alleviating family stress. First Focus lists the 10 reasons the ACA is a major victory for children. The interlocking programs providing heathcare for kids and how the ACA expands enrollment in them is explained here.
Too many kids in the U.S. are not taking proper care of their teeth and eyes. Today, the most common chronic illness among school-aged children is untreated tooth decay. And, across the country, more than a million kids don't have the eyeglasses they need to read. The ACA’s dental and vision services for children, part of pediatric services and one of 10 categories of essential benefits, are explained here and here.
Approximately 7.1 million American kids suffer from asthma. Read how skyrocketing costs influence the treatment of children with asthma, here. Learn how kids with chronic asthma live separated across an economic line of demarcation based on their parents' financial status, here. Discover how a new study links a rise in heat-induced asthma attacks in infants to climate change, here.
Using data from California’s Department of Public Health, an online study in October's Pediatrics reveals a 2010 California outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) was the largest in more than 60 years and resulted in 9,120 cases and 10 deaths. Researchers attributed part of the outbreak to unvaccinated children and drastic cuts in public health spending. Finally, the Bay Area continues to exist as an incubator for policy that improves the day-to-day lives of children and families. Celebrate the accomplishments of San Francisco's Preschool for All program, one of the oldest city-run preschool programs in the U.S. Then, review and discuss how the federal government subsidizes the fast food industry through public assistance programs – important policy research from U.C. Berkeley’s Labor Center.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
“You can’t derail something when it has already left the station. We are going very strong.” Director of Covered California, Peter Lee on the future prospects of California’s state run health care exchange.
“We took some bread crumbs and left an entire meal on the table.” Senator Lindsey Graham’s reaction to the resolution passed by the U.S. Senate to reopen the government and extend its borrowing authority.
“I minimize puffs to minimize cost.” Barbara Wolf, a retired Oakland school administrator explaining that she uses her asthma inhaler sparingly because of the high cost of medication.
“Anything to help my baby breathe.” Shirley Powell, the mother of a child who suffers from asthma.
GRAPH OF THE DAY I
U.C. Berkeley Labor Center. October 15, 2013
GRAPH OF THE DAY II
Annie E. Casey 2013 Kids Count Data, reprinted by First Focus. October 2013.
VIDEO OF THE DAY I
VIDEO OF THE DAY II
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
CHILDREN AND HEALTHCARE
EYES AND TEETH
BAY AREA AS INCUBATOR