Health Highlights: Oct. 5, 2017
Congressional Lawmakers Battle Over Insurance Program for Children Michigan Woman Gets Jail Time for Refusing to Vaccinate Son
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Congressional Lawmakers Battle Over Insurance Program for Children
A proposal to continue funding for a health insurance program for children in need easily passed the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, but was met with stiff opposition in the House later in the day.
The showdown involved the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which serves uninsured children up to age 19 in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, the government program for low-income Americans.
Funding for the 20-year-old program expired on Sunday, The New York Times reported. State officials said they would soon be forced to tell families that children could lose coverage if Congress did not move to provide additional money soon. It's impossible to say when Congress might pass a bill and send it to President Trump, the newspaper said.
The Senate's Finance Committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would provide more than $100 billion over five years for the program, which insures nearly nine million children, The Times reported.
Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, called the bill "a prime example of what government can accomplish when both parties work together." Hatch, who wrote the bill with the senior Democrat on the committee, Ron Wyden of Oregon, helped create the program in 1997 with the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts.
But members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee argued over a similar bill to provide money for the health program. Democrats strongly back the CHIP program, The Times reported, but said Republicans would take money from Medicare and the Affordable Care Act to help pay for the program. The House committee eventually approved the bill, 28 to 23, with all Democrats voting "no."
Michigan Woman Gets Jail Time for Refusing to Vaccinate Son
It's prison time for a Michigan woman who defied a court order and refused to have her son vaccinated.
Rebecca Bredow was cited for contempt of court in the contentious custody case Wednesday, and ordered to spend seven days in jail for the offense, the Washington Post reported.
The court order to vaccinate her 9-year-old was issued a year ago, and her attorney had signed that order, the Post reported. She had until Wednesday to get what would have been up to eight vaccines for her son. But Bredow decided to take a stand instead.
"I'm a passionate mother who cares deeply about my children, their health and their well-being. If my child was forced to be vaccinated, I couldn't bring myself to do it," Bredow testified during the contempt of court hearing, the Associated Press reported.
On Saturday, she told the Post that she is not against vaccination altogether. "This is about choice. This is about having my choices as a mother to be able to make medical choices for my child," she said.
The ruling is the latest round in a long-running custody fight with her ex-husband, James Horne. He wants their son vaccinated and shares joint custody of the child, the AP reported.
According to the wire service, the judge in the case did not take kindly to Bredow's decision to fight the order.
"I understand you love your children. But what I don't think you understand is that your son has two parents, and dad gets a say," Judge Karen McDonald told Bredow in court.
Horne has been granted temporary custody of his son so the child can be vaccinated.
The ruling comes as anti-vaccination parents across the country continue to refuse to have their children immunized, citing concerns that the shots could harm their kids and potentially cause autism.
Those claims have been widely refuted by medical evidence, and public health officials say the trend has triggered spikes in the rates of childhood diseases such as measles.