Alaska lawmakers unite to establish permanent funding for Children’s Health Insurance Program

FAIRBANKS — Permanent funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a federal program providing health insurance for children in lower income families, ran out in September. Since then, Congress has been struggling to find a fix as the health coverage of nearly 9 million children across the country hangs in the balance. 

Through a temporary spending bill in December, Congress funded CHIP through the end of March. When this funding runs out, the issue will need to be addressed again, either in the form of permanent funding or another temporary spending bill.

Alaska’s congressional delegation recently expressed unanimous support for the program and is pushing for a permanent solution.

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Serena Williams’ spot-on message to new working moms is a grand slam

Not even one the world’s greatest tennis players can come back swinging right after having a baby.

Serena Williams, who delivered her daughter Alexis Olympia just four months ago, revealed in a recent Snapchat post that she has withdrawn from the upcoming Australian Open.

“After performing in my first match after giving birth I realized that although I am super close I’m not where I personally want to be,” she wrote, referring to a difficult Dec. 30 exhibition match that she lost.

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Sugar: How Bad Are Sweets for Your Kids?

Sweet treats. It’s tempting for parents to reward good behavior with them. And for grandparents to use sweets to see little faces light up.

Is sugar really that bad for your kids? What’s wrong with using M&Ms for potty training — or keeping kids occupied with treats while you grocery-shop?

We asked pediatricians Edward Gaydos, DO, and Svetlana Pomeranets, MD, to explain sugar’s role in a child’s diet.

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Verify: What happens to Idaho kids if CHIP funding is cut?

BOISE - A federally-funded program that provides health insurance for uninsured children in families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid has been in limbo for months, with Congress passing only temporary funding.

Unless Congress votes to fully renew funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), about nine million American children will be left without it.

CHIP is federally funded, but administered by each individual state. 

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Families worried that children's health insurance will be cut

It took years for Dakota Flores to get the correct medications to effectively treat her 13-year-old son's ADHD, but they finally helped turn him from an angry child who was failing in school to a strong student in advanced-placement history and science classes, a member of the honor choir and a bass drummer in an award-winning drum corp. 

But now the single mother of four is worried that her son may lose access to those medications, since she purchases his health insurance through the government-subsidized Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. The program also assists with health insurance for her 11-year-old daughter, who has severe vision problems.

The state-administered program, which provides low-cost health insurance for 9 million children nationwide, lost its federal funding on Sept. 30, when it was not renewed. The short-term spending bill passed by Congress before the holiday recess includes $3 billion to help keep the program alive until March, but some states have already informed parents that they may lose their kids' insurance.

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Can an Algorithm Tell When Kids Are in Danger?

The call to Pittsburgh’s hotline for child abuse and neglect came in at 3:50 p.m. on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving 2016. Sitting in one of 12 cubicles, in a former factory now occupied by the Allegheny County Police Department and the back offices of the department of Children, Youth and Families, the call screener, Timothy Byrne, listened as a preschool teacher described what a 3-year-old child had told him. The little girl had said that a man, a friend of her mother’s, had been in her home when he “hurt their head and was bleeding and shaking on the floor and the bathtub.” The teacher said he had seen on the news that the mother’s boyfriend had overdosed and died in the home.

According to the case records, Byrne searched the department’s computer database for the family, finding allegations dating back to 2008: parental substance abuse, inadequate hygiene, domestic violence, inadequate provision of food and physical care, medical neglect and sexual abuse by an uncle involving one of the girl’s two older siblings. But none of those allegations had been substantiated. And while the current claim, of a man dying of an overdose in the child’s home, was shocking, it fell short of the minimal legal requirement for sending out a caseworker to knock on the family’s door and open an investigation.

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Editorial: Children in need

Roughly 60,000 low-income children in the state await a decision by Congress on the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

As lawmakers prepare to return to Washington D.C., it’s important that they take the steps to continue a worthwhile program.

The Associated Press reported that the State of Iowa is preparing to notify families in early February that federal money could run out soon for the health insurance program. Officials are hopeful congressional action early in the new year will make such contingency plans unnecessary.

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My son, and millions others, need CHIP

My son, Josh, is a wonderful kid — a loving big brother, a member of the school band and a lover of superheroes, like many 10 year old kids. He also has cystic fibrosis, and we cannot afford to keep him alive without the Children’s Healthcare Insurance Program (CHIP). In August he spent two weeks in the hospital at the beginning of the school year fighting a lung infection.

Since federal funding for CHIP expired, I have been overwhelmed emotionally, physically and financially. I have not been able to sleep.

While everyone heads into the holiday season, I feel increasingly desperate. Riddled with anxiety, I can’t seem to wrap my brain around how I can come up with the funds to take care of my son. And I know there are so many parents and families across Missouri who can relate to the helplessness I feel. I can’t stand back while the very program that keeps my boy alive, CHIP, may disappear.

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Community Partnerships Mean Better Health for Memphis Kids

About half of the children in Memphis live in poverty. It's one of the poorest metro areas in the country, plagued by food insecurity, violent crime and what the city's housing and community development director described as "a quality affordable housing problem" for low-income residents.

As a result, Memphis is also one of the unhealthiest areas in the U.S., with rates of HIV, asthma and infant mortality high above the rest of the state and nation. And inequality is pervasive in this nine-county metro area spanning parts of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

That's when the hospital comes into the picture. But it's not always when the patients come into the hospital.

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Parents often fail to give babysitters instructions for emergencies

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 20, 2017 -- Faced with hectic holiday schedules, parents often ask family and friends to pitch in and babysit their children. But many parents fail to provide critical information about what to do in an emergency, a new survey finds.

Less than half of parents with children aged 5 and under posted emergency contact information, such as parents' work or cell numbers; the number for the child's doctor; or how to get in touch with another family member or friend, according to the survey.

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