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Doctor’s Diagnosis: GOP Health Plan Hurts Poor Kids, Families

This article is part 1 of 2 in the column A Pediatrician's Perspective

It’s a rainy weekday morning in North Philadelphia, and once again, as I have been doing for the last 15 years, I sign on to our electronic health-records database and prepare for the 26 young patients, ages 1 month to 20 years, on my schedule. It’s a few days after the White House’s 2018  budget proposal, “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” was released last month.

Most of my patients are on Medicaid, although I also check to see whether any have insurance benefits such as discounted gym memberships, a big help for low-income families struggling with obesity.

Reviewing clinical notes, I’m reminded that several of the families have what’s known as food insecurity, Read more

Federal Cuts Threaten to Defund Programs That Help Pennsylvania Families

Proposed federal budget cuts threaten to defund programs that help children and families meet basic needs or recover after a difficult life event. On Friday, April 21, Sen. Bob Casey joined advocates and community members at Calvary United Methodist Church in Philadelphia to discuss how these cuts could impact millions of Pennsylvanians.

Casey said, “What some extreme members of Congress want to do is cut basic programs in ways we have never seen before, so wealthy Americans get more of a tax break.” He pointed out that the Trump administration’s proposed repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was “a big tax cut bill” that would Read more

Healthy Children Are NOT Hungry Children: Everyone Can Help

Everything seems fine as I review the chart.  My 10:15 a.m. patient is a toddler who has no medical problems and is growing well. When I enter the room, I explain to mom how a child’s health is determined by several factors outside of the doctor’s control, and I ask her to complete a form that all parents fill out during well-child visits. This form screens for a number of social determinants of health, including food insecurity (FI). Even though the child has an intact family and appears well on examination, the completed form is highly positive for FI. Read more

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