Our Turn: We’re voting for our future

Published: 10/20/2020 7:48:30 AM

Our children are our future, but they can’t vote. We are supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because they have a political platform that makes children and families a priority.

Among our chief concerns regarding issues affecting children include:

■Management of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis

■Providing access to affordable healthcare, including preventive healthcare

■Supporting children and families seeking temporary asylum under the DACA program

Under the Trump administration, the health status of the children living in America has worsened. Because of a failed approach to the coronavirus pandemic, parents have been fearful and confused about what to do to protect their families. Consequently, many parents have avoided taking children for necessary health care with health maintenance visits for children decreasing by 26% . This results in far fewer children being screened and referred for treatable developmental delays and mental health or behavioral issues. Routine childhood immunization rates have decreased 22% raising the risk of a resurgence of preventable diseases such as measles. Closure of medical practices serving children is adding further to the shortage of primary care providers.

Trump has mismanaged the COVID-19 pandemic since day one, denying or refuting medical advice from our country’s top experts.

Joe Biden will effectively manage the pandemic just as he did with the Ebola epidemic during the Obama presidency. He would make this a top priority and gain control of this pandemic so Americans can return to work and school and his plan would make all COVID testing, treatment and vaccine available for free.

Over 1 million children in the U.S. have lost their insurance coverage since President Trump assumed office. He continues to support a repeal of the Affordable Care Act with no plan in place for its replacement. And he is doing this in the midst of a pandemic.

Joe Biden will build on and expand the ACA. Thousands of Granite Staters depend on the ACA for health care and it protects over 100 million in the U.S. with pre-existing conditions. Joe Biden would reopen enrollment for the ACA immediately to help so many who have lost their insurance from unemployment resulting from the pandemic.

Trump’s immigration policies and practices that separate children from their parents in border towns is cruel and unconscionable. The resulting disruption and trauma is devastating families, saddling children with Adverse Childhood Experiences that will last for their lifetimes. Additionally, deporting children and young adults who were promised protection under DACA is morally unacceptable.

Joe Biden plans to immediately reverse the Trump policy of separation of parents and children at our border, to reinstate the DACA program and provide a roadmap to citizenship through immigration reform.

The choice is clear for children. Controlling the COVID-19 pandemic so our economy can move forward, providing affordable access to health care for all and restoring a compassionate immigration policy are goals that, as pediatricians, we strongly endorse. The Nov. 3 election is critical to the children in our country and we will be casting our votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

(Susan Lynch, MD, FAAP, is the former First Lady of New Hampshire; Suzanne Boulter, MD, FAAP, and Wendy Gladstone, MD, FAAP are both past presidents of the NH Pediatric Society.)

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