LaKeesha Hines and her son, Braelyn, represented St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, FL, at our 2010 Family Advocacy Day. Braelyn, who was born healthy but contracted bacterial meningitis as an infant, had been under St. Joseph’s Children’s care nearly his entire life at the time he attended Family Advocacy Day. Medicaid has covered a significant portion of the intensive care he requires. LaKeesha graciously shares what Medicaid has meant to Braelyn’s recovery and well-being.
Impact on children’s health careShare
On Feb. 22, the Children’s Hospital Association kicked-off its four-part Medicaid Matters for Kids briefing series with Medicaid and Kids 101. The briefing gave congressional staff a “101,” or basic understanding, of Medicaid’s structure, including: who the program serves, what types of services it provides, and how it is financed.
Simone spent more than a year in the hospital after her birth and has had many more visits since due to various illnesses and for surgeries due to craniosynostosis, a skull deformity; tracheomalasia, a floppy airway; and cystic fibrosis (CF), a chronic lung disease. Because of her fragile lung status, she has a tracheostomy (a surgically created opening in the neck leading directly to the trachea) and requires oxygen and mechanical ventilation at night. Last January, Simone suffered a severe stroke during surgery and was paralyzed on her right side. With the help of therapists at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, Simone has regained most of what she lost. We were honored to have her join us for Family Advocacy Day in 2012, and recently reached out to her mother, Shannon, for an update as part of our Medicaid Matters for Kids Month.
It’s likely that if you’re reading this blog, you already understand the importance of Medicaid to our nation’s children. We like to toss around numbers and statistics when we talk about the program – such as the fact that more than one in three children in the United States is covered by Medicaid – but eventually numbers start to lose meaning. In June of 2011, over 27 million non-disabled children were enrolled in Medicaid. When you add in disabled children, the number of children enrolled in Medicaid is 32 million.
Every news outlet has some variation on “top five takeaways from the State of the Union,” mostly dealing with the President’s main points of economic recovery, education, immigration, and tightening of gun laws. He made some great points: saying he will work “with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America,” the idea of a “college scorecard” to determine the cost-to-value ratio for colleges, and of course “what I’ve said tonight matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource – our children.”
Members of Congress come from all sorts of backgrounds. Many have “day jobs” you might expect (there are 128 lawyers in the House of Representatives, and nearly half of all Senators – 45 – cite lawyer as a profession) but others have jobs that may come as a surprise. There are youth camp supervisors, carpenters, a mill supervisor, and 15 farmers.
The 113th Congress is off to a busy start, taking swift action on a couple of kid-friendly bills.
The 113th Congress got off to a promising start as Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Pitts (R-PA) introduced legislation to reauthorize the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education program (CHGME). This early start is great news for children’s hospitals and the future pediatric specialists who train there.
On January 3, a new Congress (the 113th) was sworn in, and any unfinished work by the previous Congress was left on the table. Unfortunately, one of the many things left undone was reauthorization of the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program. This means that CHGME continues to be an “unauthorized” program, but at the same time continues to be funded. Wait, you’re thinking – how can Congress provide money to an unauthorized program?
Unless you’re a hardcore policy wonk, you probably don’t care too much about the backroom dealings that led to Congress’ later-than-last-minute deal to avert the “fiscal cliff,” at least not as much as you care that a deal finally got done. (Either way, you can read a fascinating day-by-day breakdown of the negotiations - or lack thereof - here.)