A National Academy of Sciences panel first convened in 2015 to produce a nonpartisan report on how to cut child poverty in half over the next 10 years has reported back with its findings. The report estimates that child poverty costs the United States up to $1.1 trillion every year due to poor health outcomes, lower earnings, and higher crime rates associated with childhood poverty, and recommends four strategies for policymakers to pursue. One proposal would increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and make the Child Care Tax Credit fully refundable (these two measures are part of all four proposals), as well as raising the minimum wage and expanding job-training programs. A second proposal would provide a $2,000 per year child allowance to all children under age 17 – a proposal that is projected to decrease child poverty by one-third in 10 years. A third proposal would increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits by 35% and increase access to Section 8 housing vouchers, which is projected to cut child poverty in half. The final proposal involves a bigger increase to the EITC than the other three proposals, raises the minimum wage to $10.25/hour, expands anti-poverty programs to documented immigrants who are currently not eligible, and includes a child allowance of $2,700/year, with an additional $1,200/year child support payment for single parents. The most expensive of these proposals tops out at $111.6 billion/year, far less than the estimated $1.1 trillion/year costs associated with child poverty.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule that would bar organizations that provide abortions or refer patients for abortions from participating in Title X, a $286 million federal family planning program. This move is expected to drain funding from comprehensive reproductive healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood in favor of faith-based groups that do not provide abortions or abortion referrals, and often provide misinformation to pregnant women instead. The governors of 15 states and many health organizations have spoken out against this “gag rule” and promised legal challenges. Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, opposed the rule change and said that Planned Parenthood could not accept funding that would ‘compromise its ethical obligations to patients’: “Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin. It would never happen. Reproductive health care should be no different."
A new World Bank report studied 35 indicators of legal equality of the sexes – including indicators like property ownership and inheritance, job protections, pensions, marriage, divorce, movement and travel, equal pay, and family leave – across 187 countries. The researchers found that men and women experience legal quality in just six countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Sweden. Sub-Saharan African countries made the most progress toward legal equality over the past decade, passing 71 laws to expand women’s rights.
Over the past four years, migrant children in US government custody reported approximately 5,000 complaints of sexual abuse, with 178 complaints relating to misconduct by government staff, according to newly released government documents.
This week, the Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
In a Medium blog post, Jonathan Heller of Human Impact Partners connects power imbalances to leading public health challenges like mass incarceration, the need for safer workplaces and policies that better support families, and lead poisoning, and outlines public health’s role in shifting power. “Simply defined, power is our ability, as individuals and as communities, to produce an intended effect. Those who have power in society benefit from the status quo and often use that power to perpetuate social and health inequities (sometimes without explicitly understanding we’re perpetuating these imbalances). We can and must help build power in communities that have long suffered from disenfranchisement — and consequently health inequities — in order to advance equity.”