Month: November 2019

Health Insurance is Important for a Healthy First 1,000 Days

Health insurance is critical to a healthy first 1,000 days. The foundation for lifelong health is set during this window of time, and health insurance helps ensure all moms and babies receive the care they need to thrive. To learn more, check out 1,000 Days’ new briefs on the importance of health insurance during pregnancy, during the postpartum period and for infants and toddlers.

From November 1 to December 15, families can sign up for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace (HealthCare.gov). Plans purchased through the marketplace are comprehensive and cover the essentials that moms and babies need for a healthy first 1,000 days. Best of all, financial help is available to reduce the cost of coverage and care through federal premium tax credits and cost-sharing assistance.

Despite the importance of health insurance during the first 1,000 days, too many families lack the coverage they need. In September, the Census Bureau released new data showing that the number of children without health insurance coverage in the United States rose significantly in 2018. According to the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF), this is the second year in a row that uninsurance rates have risen after having fallen for much of the past decade, pointing to a troubling trend.

The new data show that 4.3 million children under the age of 19 were uninsured in 2018—an increase of 425,000 children from 2017. That means 5.5% of all children did not have health insurance coverage last year. And for infants, toddlers and young children ages 0-5, the uninsured rate rose from 4.5% in 2017 to 5.3% in 2018.

Analysis by Georgetown University CCF indicates that some groups of children are faring worse than others. For example, Hispanic children saw the largest jump in uninsurance compared to other races, with an increase of 1 percentage point from 7.7% to 8.7%. Children in the South are the worst off regionally, with the highest rates of uninsured children at 7.7%.

There are many reasons for the increase in the number of uninsured children, including a decline in public coverage for kids through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Medicaid and CHIP coverage fell by more than 2 percentage points among young children, from 40.2% to 38.0%. Changing eligibility rules for children and parents, confusion around the use of public benefits by legal immigrant families, and diminished outreach efforts contributed to this decline.

At 1,000 Days, we know how important health insurance is for the health of our nation’s moms, babies and families. That’s why we’re so concerned about this uptick in the number of uninsured children—and why we fight to support high-quality and affordable health insurance for everyone.

What We’re Watching in Congress – November 2019

With the end of the year swiftly approaching, Members of Congress have indicated they have quite a few priorities they hope to attend to before 2019 draws to a close. Here are a few things we are keeping our eyes on at 1,000 Days:

An upcoming funding deadline

Funding for the federal government is currently set to run out on November 21st, following a short-term extension passed in September. House and Senate Appropriators are still working to finalize an agreement about long-term funding, leading to speculation that another stop-gap bill will be necessary. 1,000 Days will continue to monitor the Appropriations process and urge Members to prioritize funding for programs that support the health of moms and babies everywhere.

Supporting investments in global nutrition

On October 30, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a global nutrition resolution sponsored by Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). House Resolution 189, which has 131 co-sponsors, recognizes the importance of sustained U.S. leadership to accelerate progress against maternal and child malnutrition and helps to highlight the vital role of nutrition in the 1,000-day window. 1,000 Days is grateful to the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, Ranking Member Michael McCaul, Representatives Marshall, McGovern and the many co-sponsors of the resolution for shining a light on the foundational role of nutrition in a child’s cognitive and physical development.

Progress on legislation to protect pregnant workers

On October 22, the House Committee on Education & Labor Subcommittee held a hearing on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 2694). This bipartisan bill requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees and ensures that workers cannot be discriminated or retaliated against for seeking those accommodations. While similar laws are already in place in 27 states, H.R. 2694 would create a national standard ensuring that a woman’s safety and well-being at work are not dependent on her zip code. 1,000 Days submitted a letter to the Committee supporting this important legislation.