Since this is my first message of the year, I want to take this opportunity to wish each one of you Happy New Year! It is my sincere hope that the holiday season went well for you and your families.
As we embark on 2018, it is instructive to reflect on the year we have had and the one that lies ahead. I recently reviewed my message to you from around this time last year, and it is interesting — albeit somewhat sad — how many of the concerns we had remain the same.
We begin this year much in the way we started 2017, with potential hurdles and a great deal of uncertainty but also with hope and opportunities for our patients and their families. The past year, however, has brought stark clarity about what the new political dispensation in our country means for the children we care for.
Through our collective efforts, the Affordable Care Act has survived, but it is wounded and the protections it provides to children and families’ remains at risk. On a positive note, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was reauthorized for six years in late January. CHIP provides healthcare for over 9 million children. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that CHIP will save the government about $6 billion over the next five years.
I applaud the efforts by many of our members to contact our state’s congressional delegation and the leadership in Congress to push for renewal of this program.
Similar efforts are also required on behalf of another group of young people, the so-called dreamers, whose protection by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), was rescinded by the president last year. Unfortunately, many of our politicians have chosen not see the faces of the millions of children and young people whose lives hang in the balance.
In spite of all these challenges, the work we do every day — whether it is the clinical care we provide, the groundbreaking research we do, or the education of the next generation of pediatricians — continues.
As pediatricians, we are privileged to care for children, who are a beautiful reminder of God’s blessings. I would like to thank all of you for the work that you do in the service of children and their families. I am proud to call you my colleagues.
May God richly bless each one of you and your families and may He richly bless the children we care for and their families.