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 eight months later, remembered the news and asked Nina about her sister’s due date. 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 through good prenatal care for their mothers to ensure they have 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 (CMS) 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 topics. When about two-thirds of uninsured children are eligible but unenrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, it’s a strong signal that we need to do more to help connect kids with affordable coverage and this partnership will help achieve that goal. Mom’s Rising is doing it’s part by hosting a blog carnival today to help spread the word about affordable coverage options for pregnant women and children. 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.