As Shutdown Continues, Children's Health Insurance Hangs in the Balance

Unable to strike a budget deal, the federal government shut down on Saturday, causing the most uncertainty to date for providers and patients in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which Congress let expire more than 100 days ago.

Congress has continually released unspent funds in the last few months to help states keep CHIP running, but this is the first time there could be a significant lapse in what has historically been a bipartisan program.

Senators are expected to hold a procedural vote on a short-term spending bill on Monday at noon, but its details have not been released. It's unclear what -- if any -- funding the bill includes for children's health insurance.

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Growing inequality in health-care coverage through work creates urgency for CHIP reauthorization

As the 100-day mark since Congress let the Children’s Health Insurance Program’s (CHIP) funding lapse has passed, and as families nationwide begin to receive letters that they may soon lose their children’s insurance, we have been reflecting on how and why CHIP has become so important in the health-care debate.

It used to be that health insurance offered through an employer was a great workplace equalizer; the CEO and a line worker in the same company were likely to be covered by the same insurance plan. There was something quite unifying and democratic about the idea that when it came to illness, at least for people who worked together, everyone had access to the same benefits. And whether you had a spouse or children, work would cover them, too. This is no longer our reality.

Today, it is less and less likely that a boss and his or her employees are covered by the same health coverage plan – and some executives have an entirely different set of plan options from their employees. But even when executives and their employees are choosing from among the same health-care plans, the growing disparity in the affordability of coverage options makes the process of choosing a plan very different for the average worker.

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Arizona lawmakers take step toward preserving KidsCare if Congress doesn't

PHOENIX — State lawmakers took the first steps Thursday to preserving a health-care program for children of the working poor if Congress scales back federal funding.

House Bill 2127 would repeal a provision of a 2016 state law that restored the KidsCare program but only if the feds pick up the entire cost.

Instead, it would require the head of the state’s Medicaid program to inform the Legislature of any shortfall and give lawmakers the option of keeping the program in place with state dollars.

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It's Actually a Nightmare.' Mother Warns Others After 10-Year-Old Suddenly Dies From Flu

The mother of a healthy 10-year-old Connecticut boy who died suddenly of complications from the flu is warning other parents to watch their children closely during one of the most active flu seasons in years.

Nico Mallozi had never had a serious medical issue in his life. On Sunday, the vibrant, popular fourth-grader died of what at first seemed like a routine case of the virus — leaving his Connecticut community reeling.

“Ten years of health,” Nico’s mother, Mimma Mallozzi, tells TIME. “The kid never had a problem. He was like an ox.”

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Child vaccine rates higher in South Carolina than national average even as more parents refuse

More than three-quarters of South Carolina children insured by BlueCross BlueShield received their recommended vaccines for measles, mumps, hepatitis B and other infectious diseases between 2010 and 2016, even as a growing number of parents refuse to vaccinate their children, a new national report shows.

In this state, 77.8 percent of these children were appropriately vaccinated, compared to 73.5 percent nationally.

More than half of children who did not receive all their vaccines had missed a "well-child visit" with a pediatrician. 

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Most states don’t require that kids be checked for health issues

(Reuters Health) - - Most U.S. states don’t require that children be screened for health conditions that can affect learning, according to new research supported by the Children’s Health Fund (CHF).

“There are many children, especially in low income communities, that are not succeeding academically because they have health conditions that are known to interfere with learning, but nobody is screening for them or treating them,” Dr. Irwin Redlener, Co-Founder of Children’s Health Fund and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, told Reuters Health in a telephone interview. “That is something that has to be fixed.”

The study was published online January 17 in the scientific journal PLoS One.

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Helping kids shake the post-holiday blues

When kids return to school after the holidays, school counselors often see their caseloads rise.

"We get reports from school counselors that they have a lot more kids lined up to see them because the kids are melancholy, apathetic or anxious," said Clifton Saper, Ph.D., an Amita Health clinical psychologist who specializes in individual, adolescent and family psychotherapy.

In many cases, kids are suffering from the post-holiday blues, a letdown that can occur after holiday festivities come to an end. "Most kids and most parents have unrealistic expectations of the holidays, so there's often this letdown feeling after the holidays of `Oh, it wasn't what I thought it was supposed to be,' " Saper said.

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State eyes Congress as Children’s Health Insurance Program spends final dollars

The state is looking at alternatives for children who would lose their current health insurance coverage without congressional action.

More than 27,000 Nevada kids receive Children’s Health Insurance Program benefits through Nevada Check Up. Nevada’s program is funded through February, when officials plan to ask the state’s Interim Finance Committee to allocate money to keep the program running.

CHIP funding had expired on Sept. 30. In December, lawmakers approved funding that was expected to last through March, but a Georgetown University report says that money could actually run out much sooner for certain states.

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Dangerous social media trend sending kids to Valley hospitals

A dangerous social media trend among teenagers could have deadly consequences and it is sickening kids right here in the Central Valley.

"I can assure that anyone who's ever tried it quickly discovered it's not a laughing matter," said Carlos Flores, the trauma coordinator for Valley Children's Hospital.

Just this weekend, Valley Children's had a young patient burned by laundry detergent pods, which may be the perfect example of the danger of first impressions.

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The Parasite on the Playground

Millions of American children have been exposed to a parasite that could interfere with their breathing, liver function, eyesight and even intelligence. Yet few scientists have studied the infection in the United States, and most doctors are unaware of it.

The parasites, roundworms of the genus Toxocara, live in the intestines of cats and dogs, especially strays. Microscopic eggs from Toxocara are shed in the animals’ feces, contaminating yards, playgrounds and sandboxes.

These infectious particles cling to the hands of children playing outside. Once swallowed, the eggs soon hatch, releasing larvae that wriggle through the body and, evidence suggests, may even reach the brain, compromising learning and cognition.

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