Why Low-Income Kids Miss Out On Play

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Remember playtime, when you would use your imagination to create a world of your own, with little structure or guidance? That kind of activity, called “free play,” helps boost childhood development and leads to better behavior in schools. But a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics found low-income children in cities have limited opportunities to play.

It would seem that free play would be quite accessible, given that you don’t need expensive lessons or toys to participate. But there are a number of socioeconomic factors preventing low-income children from playing. Here are three:

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There are Only 90 Doctors East of the River

Flickr: NCinDC

Howard University Hospital

If you reside in Columbia Heights, Dupont Circle or Friendship Heights, chances are, you live near a practicing physician. For D.C. residents who make their home east of the river, it’s a very different situation, according to a recent article in the Washington Post, which focused on a potential shortage of doctors in this city. One part of the article stood out to us; when it comes to a lack of practicing physicians, certain areas in D.C.- have it much worse than others.

In Ward 3, for example, there is an abundance of physicians, with “literally hundreds of doctors to choose from,” said Michael Williams, chief of health-care operations for the nonprofit D.C. Primary Care Association. But he said only 90 doctors list a business address east of the Anacostia River.

The District has a “severe mal-distribution of physicians” rather than a shortage, given that roughly 23 percent of the population lives east of the river but only a tiny fraction of physicians have a business location there, he said.

The Post reported that there are 4,000 full- or part-time physicians in D.C. but it’s important to keep in mind those doctors are sometimes seeing patients who work in the city, but live in Maryland or Virginia. So doctors who maintain a practice in the city are treating patients from across the region, which for locals makes finding a doctor even more challenging.

Why The Uninsured Aren’t Aware Of Health Care Reform Benefits

e-Magine Art / Flickr

Politicians who pushed for federal health care reform focused much attention on how the law would help the uninsured. But a new poll shows many uninsured Americans don’t see the legislation as beneficial, nor do they know about provisions designed to help them.

The Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows that 41 percent of uninsured Americans said that the new law won’t make a difference to them, while 14 percent said the law will hurt them. Nearly half of uninsured respondents don’t know about the law’s low and middle class tax credits. And the reason? People who can’t pay for insurance are quite occupied with trying to make ends meet. Politico reports:

Drew Altman, [president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation], said the figures do not reflect a communications failure. He says busy people — particularly those struggling to afford insurance now — will only understand the law when it becomes tangible for them.

“When there is real insurance coverage available for people who don’t have it, they will be more aware of it, and they will be able to render a judgment about whether coverage is affordable for them,” Altman said.

In D.C., about 11 percent of the population is without insurance, which is actually lower than the national average of 17 percent, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data.