My Healthy Child “Too Unhealthy” for Health Care?

Robin Marty

We pay deserved attention to the childhood obesity epidemic and the eventual health problems caused by it. My active child loves fruits, vegetables, and water. This thin but otherwise healthy child may now be considered "medically uninsurable."

Last Friday, when watching the video of the toddler who was denied health care for being "too skinny," I realized that in a set of similar circumstances, my child would end up with the same diagnosis.  Her pre-existing condition? 

A tireless energy and a love of fruit.

Even before she was born Violet was a ceaseless ball of energy.  Born full term at 8lbs 6 oz, that was the highest she ever made it on the percentages curve for weight, at 85% for a baby girl.  Once she was released from the confines of my belly, she began moving constantly, rolling over by four weeks, scooting by 3 months, crawling at 5 months, and cruising at 7.   She was walking by her first birthday, and two weeks later she figured out how to run.

One thing she was less enthused about was new food.  Like many children, she had a delicate gag reflex that made transitioning to solids a little slower.   As her activity level rose, and the rate of acceptance of new varieties of food slowed, her height continued to ride the curve, but her weight began to falter.  By the time we really hit finger foods, she was 14 months old and barely 18 lbs.

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The doctors got worried and suggested testing.  It could be gastrointestinal, it could be a hernia, from about 9 months on I got a new theory at every weigh in.   But Violet always ate when she was hungry, only gagging when I’d try to give her extra food once she was full.   And as she was introduced to more food, she developed her own favorites.  She would eat bowls of fruit, munching down strawberries, pineapple, melon and cut grapes. She had a love of spinach I had never heard of in a toddler, in some cases eating it raw.   Some kids ask for cookies for snacks, when Violet saw a banana, she would cry until she could have it.  And although many children would ask their parents for juice, Violet was always a big fan of water, like Mama and Daddy drink, often drinking straight out of our cups.

By the time we brought her in for her 18 month checkup, she was nearly 3 feet tall, and 21lbs.  The doctor once more suggested we do testing.  Instead, we asked Violet to show him how she can hop (with both feet, of course).  Then she told him the alphabet, counted to 10, and named most of her body parts.  (Violet’s ABCs).

The doctor admitted that a child that was failing to thrive would not be able to do those things, and declared her totally fit.

As parents, we spend a lot of time worrying about our children and whether they will grow up to be healthy.  More and more attention is on the childhood obesity epidemic and the eventual health problems caused by it.   My healthy, active, and highly precious child loves fruits, vegetables, and water.  These are things we are supposed to encourage in our children, and instead, we are learning that thin, but otherwise healthy children are considered to be medically uninsurable.  My child is developing rapidly, strongly, and with good healthy lifestyle skills.  Thank god I already have insurance for her, because apparently now that is considered a pre-existing condition.

Does this make sense?

News Abortion

Blackburn Abortion Investigation Set for Congressional Windfall

Christine Grimaldi

All told, the investigation is well on its way to totaling $790,000, using nearly 80 percent of the House’s available supplemental funding.

Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives panel investigating questionable reproductive health-care allegations have sought an additional $490,000 in funding—even as Chair Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) publicly indicated that their activities may halt by the end of the year.

Congressional documents reveal that panel Republicans requested the money from the Committee on House Administration, which sets aside $500,000 per session of Congress to supplement operating budgets.

​A congressional aide told ​ Rewire that the request has been approved.​

The panel last year received $300,000, which followed the House’s informal two-thirds/one-third funding split between the majority and minority parties, from the Administration Committee’s coffers. All told, the investigation is well on its way to totaling $790,000, using nearly 80 percent of the House’s available supplemental funding.

House rules stipulate that standing subcommittees draw funding from the budget of the full committee with jurisdiction and pursue additional means as needs arise. The funding streams are murkier in the case of the select panel, a temporary entity under the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It’s unclear how much money, if any, Energy and Commerce Committee chair Fred Upton (R-MI) has directed from his budget to the select panel.

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Upton’s spokespeople did not respond to questions from Rewire about full committee financial support for the ad hoc panel by publication time.

Administration Committee Democrats protested the original funding request and raised similar objections again this time, to no avail. The current action marks the second time the committee “decided without a public hearing or a proper vote to pay for the political attack on Planned Parenthood,” they said in a statement accompanying a trove of appeals to their Republican counterparts on the committee to stop the transfer.

Blackburn’s select panel spokesperson in an email to Rewire deferred all funding questions to the Administration Committee, including what Republicans intend to do with their share and whether their request marks an expansion of the investigation despite the limited number of days that Congress will be in session for the remainder of the year.

In a statement shared via panel spokesperson, Blackburn cited allegations she often makes about abortion clinics and tissue procurement companies trafficking in “baby body parts.” She also repeated a similar claim against the University of New Mexico, the subject of her recent criminal referral to the state’s attorney general.

“These disturbing findings are exactly why this investigation is warranted and we will continue to follow the facts in order to complete our report to Congress by the end of the year,” she said.

Blackburn’s reference to the end of the year signals that there’s an end in sight. The resolution creating the panel only specifies that activities will come to an end 30 days after filing a final report. An Upton spokesperson previously referenced the panel’s “one-year term” when Rewire reported on past fetal tissue attacks in Congress.

In any event, Blackburn must act before the resolution expires with the close of the 114th Congress in 2016. The House would have to vote next year, in the 115th Congress, to extend the current investigation.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), the select panel’s ranking member, condemned the latest funding request and the overall investigation.

“This has not been—nor will it ever be—a fact-based investigation,” Schakowsky said in a statement. “Instead the Panel is being run as a taxpayer-funded arm of anti-abortion groups, in pursuit of a partisan, anti-science, and anti-health care agenda. Enough is enough.”

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Trump Victim Blames, Clinton Talks Subminimum Wage

Ally Boguhn

A CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday found that 74 percent of registered women voters said they viewed Donald Trump “unfavorably.”

Donald Trump this week continued to defend his campaign manager after he was charged with simple battery against a reporter, and Hillary Clinton took on the subminimum wage.

“She Made Up This Story”: Trump Ignores Video Evidence to Defend Campaign Manager Against Battery Charges

Trump refused to back down from his defense of campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after Lewandowski was charged with simple battery for allegedly forcefully grabbing and bruising a former Breitbart reporter at a campaign event.

Police in Jupiter, Florida charged Lewandoski Tuesday after reporter Michelle Fields on March 8 complained that he grabbed her by the arm, threw her off balance, and left bruises. Fields was attempting to ask Trump a question when she felt someone “yank her left arm,” according to the arrest report

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Fields later showed an officer “her left forearm, which revealed bruising from what appeared to be several finger marks indicating a grabbing type injury.”

In the weeks since the incident, Trump and Lewandowski have attempted to discredit Fields, calling her “delusional” and flatly denying an altercation ever occurred, though the Washington Post’s Ben Terris corroborated her account.

Video evidence of the incident appears to corroborate Fields’ account. Nonetheless, during an interview Wednesday on NBC’s Today Show, Trump claimed that Fields “made up this story.” He suggested she had provoked the incident. “She grabbed me by the arm, I didn’t even know who it was. But she went through Secret Service because they were surrounding me and we were walking out. And by the way she was asking me questions she wasn’t supposed to because the press conference had ended.”

Trump suggested he should press charges against Fields for what happened.

The GOP frontrunner cast doubts on Fields’ story, according to NPR, saying, “Wouldn’t you think she would have yelled out a scream if she had bruises on her arm?”

“What Donald Trump is doing fits the very definition of victim blaming, and it is not only unacceptable, it is actively dangerous,” Nita Chaudhary, cofounder of advocacy group UltraViolet, told the New York Times. “They are belittling Michelle Fields’s [sic] claim despite overwhelming evidence.”

“Comments like this essentially perpetuate violence against women,” Chaudhary added.

Trump’s campaign has been plagued by controversy over his treatment of women—and it could cost him votes. A CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday found that 74 percent of registered women voters polled said they viewed Trump “unfavorably.”

Trump has been harshly criticized for lobbing sexist remarks at Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly throughout the campaign season, accusing her of being a “lightweight” with “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” after she questioned his disparaging comments about women during an August debate.

This rhetoric led the Our Principles PAC, a super PAC formed by former Mitt Romney staffer Katie Packer, to create an ad highlighting direct quotes the candidate has made, including using terms directed at women like “bimbo” and “fat pig.”

Clinton Speaks Out Against Subminimum Wage

Clinton condemned “legal loopholes” that allow employers to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage during a Monday campaign stop in Madison, Wisconsin.

“When it comes to jobs, we’ve got to figure out how we get the minimum wage up and include people with disabilities in the minimum wage,” Clinton said in response to a question from an audience member about the candidate’s plan to address rights and job opportunities for disabled workers.

“There should not be a tiered wage, and right now there is a tiered wage when it comes to facilities that do provide opportunities but not at a self-sufficient wage that enables people to gain a degree of independence as far as they can go,” Clinton continued. “When people talk about raising the minimum wage, they don’t always talk about the legal loopholes that we have in it and I want to get rid of those and I want to get rid of that for people with disabilities too.”

Some employers are able to pay those with “a physical or mental disability” less than the minimum wage, or the subminimum wage under the Federal Labor Standard Act (FLSA). According to the Department of Labor, “Employment at less than the minimum wage is designed to prevent the loss of employment opportunities for these individuals.”

Disability rights advocates say that the policy has led to the exploitation of many of these workers.

Ari Ne’eman, co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, told the Huffington Post that Clinton’s comments were “game changing” for the issue. “To see a major presidential candidate take a stance on this is a very significant step,” Ne’eman said.

What Else We’re Reading

Trump told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during a town hall event that women who receive abortion care should face “some form of punishment” if the procedure is outlawed, then backtracked amid criticism. But as Irin Carmon wrote for MSNBC, “Women are already being prosecuted for having abortions” in the United States.

Trump’s comments on punishing women who have abortions shines an “accidental spotlight on one of the most inconvenient truths of the Republican platform,” explained Jessica Valenti for the Guardian.

“I wear that as a badge of pride. I’m not going to apologize to anyone,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said in response to criticism of his calls to “patrol and secure” U.S. Muslim communities.

Politico’s Rachana Pradhan and Paul Demko ask where Cruz’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act is. 

The Iowa Supreme Court will decide whether the state will restore voting rights to more than 20,000 ex-felons in the state.