Welcoming Children to the World with Health Care Coverage
By Cathy Hope, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families
NPR reporter Nina Totenberg tells the story of how Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan briefly met her sister the day she learned she was pregnant. He got caught up in the excitement and about eight months later, he asked Nina about when the baby was due. When he learned that Nina’s new niece, Clara, was already two weeks old, he quickly sent off a letter enthusiastically welcoming the newborn to the world adding: “It’s a wonderful world if you will just make it so.”
In sending baby gifts to friends and relatives, I have often paraphrased Justice Brennan’s quote as it so aptly captures my feelings about all the hope and promise a newborn brings to the world. We need to welcome children to the world with open arms and help them thrive so they will have every opportunity to reach their full potential and help make the world a better place.
One very important way we can welcome newborns to the world is to make sure they have the health care they need. In fact, we should start the welcome wagon even before the “little bundles of joy” arrive by making sure their mothers receive good prenatal care and they get the healthiest start in life possible.
That’s why I’m so excited about the partnership announced today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and “Text4Baby”. The goal is to reach out to uninsured mothers-to-be and new mothers to connect them and their children with affordable health care coverage and free texts on important health care needs. Many are not even aware of the fact that they and their families may qualify for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). When about two-thirds of uninsured children are eligible but unenrolled in Medicaid or CHIP, it’s a strong signal that we need to do more to help connect kids and families with affordable coverage. This partnership will help achieve that goal. What a warm welcome to the world for all the babies who will get the healthy start they need because of this initiative.
In the spirit of Justice Brennan, let’s make sure every mother has what she needs to help her children thrive and make the world a better place.
Editor’s Note: We would like to thank Mom’s Rising for hosting this blog carnival and helping to spread the word about Medicaid, CHIP and Text4Baby.