First 100 Days: Actions on School Health Services
May 10, 2017 | Written By: Healthy Schools Campaign
To reflect on the new administration’s first 100 days, we released the 100 Day Report: The Trump Administration’s Actions on Student Health and Wellness report. At its core, the report tries to answer the question: How has the Trump administration acted on the opportunity to help create a better future for our children and our nation by improving health in schools?
Increasing access to school health services is a key strategy to support children’s health and achievement, particularly for vulnerable and underserved children. The administration took several actions that could eventually affect school health services, including proposing the American Health Care Act (AHCA), proposing cuts to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and proposing the elimination of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Under AHCA, which was passed by the House of Representatives just a few days after we released this report, low-income children across the country would be at risk of losing their healthcare coverage. More than 45 million children have health insurance through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and 45 percent of all children under age 6 and 35 percent of all children and adolescents age 6-18 are covered by these programs. At the same time, their access to care at school—a crucial provider of services to children with no other source of care and for children with disabilities—would be jeopardized.
The AHCA also proposes cutting the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides almost $1 billion to support programs that prevent disease in communities across the country. These cuts would result in fewer resources for vital public health initiatives, such as vaccine programs, programs to identify and prevent lead poisoning and efforts to reduce the incidence of chronic disease. This means children (and our society as a whole) would be increasingly susceptible to preventable diseases, both chronic and acute.
The administration’s budget blueprint also proposes eliminating the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps service members provide a wide range of educational support programs, including school health programs, to students across the country. National Health Corps is a part of the AmeriCorps Service Network and serves a select number of U.S. cities. These cuts would take away access to an important service that provides health screenings to children, connects children with health and social services and helps connect children with health insurance.
We are concerned that the actions of this administration in its first 100 days indicate a lack of regard for the value of school health. These actions have in some cases put important supports for health and learning in jeopardy, including supports for our nation’s most vulnerable children.
In this context, your advocacy and leadership are more important than ever. These first 100 days show that it’s up to us—parents, teachers, advocates, elected officials and all who care about children’s health and learning—to carry on the work of ensuring every school can provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our nation’s children.
Read the full report to learn more about the specific actions the administration has taken and what the impacts might be. We have also developed a template letter that you can send to the White House to show the President that you care about student health and wellness and his administration should, too!