The U.S. Senate worked well into its scheduled August recess to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget blueprint that outlines a much larger bill — covering key health priorities — to be written this fall. Meanwhile, the latest surge of covid is making both employers and schools rethink their opening plans. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Yasmeen Abutaleb of The Washington Post join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.
Children under 12 can’t get a vaccine, so parents are concerned about how to keep them safe as classes resume — especially as the delta variant spreads.
With schools reopening, poll finds two-thirds of parents support mandating masks for unvaccinated students, but resistance to vaccinating students remains high. “My child is not a test dummy,” one Black parent told pollsters. Some parents deferred the decision to their teens.
The Florida governor’s order said schools couldn’t mandate that students wear masks and that the state could deny funding to school districts that didn’t comply.
The pandemic forced new parents to find help with breastfeeding online. Now, some offerings are remaining virtual to help expand access to lactation support.
U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) introduced a bill to do away with a health insurance rule that dictates which parent’s plan becomes a new baby’s primary insurer. This could save some parents from unexpected, sometimes massive medical bills. Davids took up the issue after a KHN/NPR Bill of the Month story on one family’s unexpected $207,455 NICU bill.
While covid is generally mild in children, doctors report a growing number of long-haul covid symptoms and MIS-C cases, particularly among Black and Latino children.
When patients with common terminal illnesses such as cancer seek permission for compassionate use of therapies in the testing stage, their requests often are approved. But those with more unusual illnesses say drug companies are rarely willing to provide access.
The state will be the first to offer comprehensive counseling services to parents during pediatric visits as part of Medicaid.
Black and Hispanic students have lost up to 12 months of learning, which could lead to lower incomes and shorter, sicker lives.