Good policy should not be so hard!!

I know, health care anyone, but welcome to America.  You know what policy clear evidence says provides a huge return on investment thereby benefitting all Americans and providing huge direct investment to those who receive it?  Home nurse visits for low-income parents.  Claire Cain Miller in Upshot:

The visits were part of the Nurse-Family Partnership, a program for low-income, first-time mothers that sends nurses on home visits from pregnancy until children are 2, covering things like diet, breast-feeding, safety, parenting skills, age-appropriate toys and mental health. The mothers are typically young and unmarried, with a high school education and a median income of $9,000…

The policy is based on the idea that disadvantage starts in utero and early childhood. Improving parenting skills and maternal and child health, researchers say, has been shown to improve children’s well-being later in life, which could help break the cycle of inequality.

Great!  Let’s do this and do more of it.  Ahhh, not so fast…

Home visiting is an evidence-based policy with bipartisan support that will lose a large portion of its financing unless Congress renews it by the end of September. There has been no action on a House bill to renew the program, and no bill at all in the Senate…

Home visiting programs have received federal funding under administrations of both parties. The Trump budget proposed maintaining funding at $400 million a year. Congress has not yet reauthorized it. Advocates of home visiting programs say they cover only 3 percent of families who need them, and propose increasing the funding.

This shouldn’t be so hard.  Even sensible Republicans recognize this is a good thing.  But, instead of investing even more money (uh-oh, big government!), the program is struggling for re-authorization.  Sad!

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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