For the first time in a decade, the number of uninsured children in the United States increased in 2018. Apple Health seemed like the quintessential success story because it expanded Medicaid coverage for children — in Kitsap County alone, the number enrolled grew from 9,000 to over 21,000 in the last 10 years. However, Medicaid reimbursement also decreased by more than 35 percent, after a federal provision that kept Medicaid payments on par with Medicare expired in 2015. Some states set aside funding to maintain rates equal to those of Medicare, but Washington was not one of them.
Whether we recognize it or not, we’re in a housing affordability crisis. Over a third of households in the U.S., carry a shelter burden that is beyond the standard of affordability – that is, costs usurp more than 30% of monthly income. Locally, rents have increased by 50% over the last 5 years and more startling, the number of evictions has grown by 90% in the last 3 years.
As a pediatrician, watching enforcement of “zero tolerance” on children at our southern border has broken my heart. Every child needs safety and a sense of belonging. It defines who they are and shapes their perception of the world. For a young child, the loss of a parent is so devastating there can be no repair, only salvage of the wreckage.
This week, I am sharing a podcast with David Introcaso. He invited me on the show after reading a piece of mine written in support of the National Walkout on March 14, 2018.
Why has so little changed in almost 20 years since Columbine? I don’t know. Why has so little changed since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook where 20 children and 6 adults were gunned down in cold blood? I cannot understand. Why has the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida galvanized the nation? Because now, it is our innocent children leading the fight for meaningful change.
Hilary Clinton once said, “there’s no such thing as other people’s children.” Every child is mine. Every child is yours. Every child adds value to the world. By preventing just one child from bringing a gun to school, we could transform the life of not only that child, but also every student in attendance that day, plus every teacher, administrator, parent, grandparent, and community member working to support vulnerable young people.
“I am so sorry,” I said. I was sorry for many more things than I could say. This is one moment I wish could be erased from my memory and done again, though differently. Ideally, I would greet the mother and child with a warm smile, take an extensive history, perform a thorough physical exam, discuss a list of possible diagnoses with mom, and send blood tests accordingly. I would reassure this mother we would properly evaluate her concerns.
I Wish My Doctor Knew… I am scared of being deported. A few weeks ago, a child said they were worried about who was going to be elected, because they were afraid of being sent back to El Salvador. I asked if he was born in the US and he replied he was but his parents were not and he was afraid they would be sent away. He is just seven years old. I honestly did not know what to say.
To genuinely stand with these forgotten children between their rocks and hard places is something Maleka taught me to do. Our time together was far too short, but thank you darling child for allowing me into your heart.
A recent, ground breaking article in the Journal of Pediatrics studied aggressive management for children with Ebola less than 5 years of age. Mortality (death) rate in previous outbreaks was estimated at 75-80%. With this new protocol, during an outbreak in Sierra Leone, they were able to reduce mortality to 31%. That is a HUGE achievement.