The Washington Post
The new normal
In her insightful July 24 Sunday Opinion column, “What do we owe kids for all they sacrificed during covid?,” Alyssa Rosenberg outlined the very real and wrenching suffering that children endured during the pandemic and concluded that to make it right, we as a nation must be ambitious on their behalf.
“Ambitious” would mean finally protecting enrollment for children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. “Ambitious” was President Biden’s expanded child tax credit program, the one now lying at the bottom of the Senate. “Ambitious” is the record investment we made in our nation’s children in 2021 — the largest year-to-year increase in the share of federal spending on kids since First Focus on Children began tracking in 2006.
White House coronavirus response coordinator Ashish K. Jha appeared anything but ambitious when he said, “The thing I would not be okay with is saying, okay, let’s go back to normal.”
But “back to normal” is exactly where we’re going. Unfortunately, “normal” is the 6.7 million children — mostly Black and Hispanic — expected to lose their health insurance at the end of the public health emergency. “Normal” is congressional gridlock that will cut the share of federal spending on children to pre-pandemic levels. “Normal” is again denying the nation’s poorest children access to the child tax credit. Maybe it’s time to make “ambitious” the new normal. We owe our children at least that much.
Bruce Lesley, Bethesda The writer is president of First Focus on Children, a children’s advocacy organization.
Alyssa Rosenberg’s thoughtful column on how the coronavirus and its variants have affected youths ignored the consequences to the elderly.
My husband and I are in our mid-70s, as are many of our friends. Sadly, this group has lost more than two years of opportunity for a fuller life. Children can plan on decades ahead of them; that’s not true for the people older than 70. There hasn’t been any stimulus to repay the loss of deposits on trips that many planned for their later years. People missed visits to their children or grandchildren who live far away. Necessary visits to the doctor were canceled to avoid exposure to the virus.
Many of “the over 70s” did eventually get sick, sometimes with dire consequences. I needed to address this for them.
Sarah Horn, Clifton