One of the greatest triumphs in health over the past century has been the dramatic decrease in childhood mortality. And yet, children still die, and that suggests that we should be looking carefully at what kills our children, and asking what we can do about it.
Last week, we ran a Dean’s Note addressing the Trump administration’s decision to separate families at the US border, and how these separations threatened health, particularly the health of children. They were the latest in a series of actions taken by this administration that have undermined health in the US and around the world. From its reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, to its move to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, to its tolerance, even encouragement, of hate groups, to recent events concerning the Supreme Court, the presidency of Donald Trump has so far done much to dismay those who care about compassion, inclusion, and health. Furthering this calumny, this week the Supreme Court upheld Trump’s travel ban on the grounds that it is within executive powers to create such a ban, even as this ban is clearly founded on xenophobia and Islamophobia, an appeal to the basest instinct of a political base that would keep us back from building a better and healthier world for all of us and for our children.
Sixteen million American children live in poverty, putting them at risk for delayed development, disease, and poor educational outcomes. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a pro-work, federal tool that has reduced or eliminated poverty for 13.2 million children. Cash transfer programs like EITC improve maternal and infant health.