COVID Relief Bill Will Aid Children’s Health

March 9, 2021 – President Joe Biden’s pandemic relief bill includes an expanded child tax credit that would give most families $ 3,600 per year for each child under 6 and $ 3,000 per year for each older child, paid monthly. Social services and pediatric health experts say this benefit will reduce child poverty rates and improve children’s mental and physical health, with lifelong effects.

The bill, called the American Rescue Plan Act, passed in the Senate on Saturday. The House is expected to vote on the amended bill on Wednesday, with Biden’s signature expected soon after.

The plan to expand the child tax credit, which is now $ 2,000 for every child under 17, comes on top of the $ 1,400 in stimulus checks many Americans expect. The expanded child tax credit is in place for only one year under the provisions of the bill. But some policy makers are urging it to become permanent. In other countries, including Britain, similar plans have had a dramatic effect on child poverty, as The New York Times reports.

“The provision included in the COVID relief legislation is an important policy to address the impact of poverty on children’s health, especially as families continue to be affected by the pandemic,” says Lee Ann Savio Beers, MD, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In an AAP statement released earlier in response to the plan, the organization noted that the “extra relief” for health and nutrition assistance “could not come soon enough” as many families had to go. hard to make ends meet.

Poverty and poor pediatric health are closely linked, says Michael Grosso, MD, chief medical officer and president of pediatrics at Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital in Long Island, New York. The United States has unacceptable child poverty rates, he says. “As a people, we should be appalled.”

According to the Center for American Progress, an independent political institute, 1 in 7 children in America, or 11 million, live in poverty.

“Child poverty, food insecurity and toxic stress go hand in hand and affect children for life,” Grosso says. “We know that poverty interferes with intellectual and emotional development, especially in the early years of life, and is associated with persistent health problems such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and increased life expectancy. scaled down.”

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Jothi Venkat

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