America has long been the land of opportunity. This is so obvious as we hear daily reports of war torn countries, where mothers and fathers and children are running from violence, trying to stay alive.
If you live in America, you MIGHT enjoy the benefits of a standard of health care that is but a dream for many citizens of the world. America spends over $3 trillion on health care each year. While this level of modern medicine does wonders, it is also pricing itself out of the reach of many Americans. Especially when health care services that prevent illness are not available to those who would benefit the most.
One of the most innovative aspects of the Affordable Care Act is the emphasis on prevention. When we prevent illness, we save everyone money. Breastfeeding is all about prevention.
Two years ago, MilkWorks set out to address the fact that we could no longer afford to provide consultations to low income mothers who have no private insurance. We had pieced funding together from multiple sources for fifteen years until we ran out of options. When the new Nebraska Heritage Health Medicaid managed care plan was announced, and it included breastfeeding support, we saw a window of opportunity for those families who need it the most. We set to work talking to Medicaid and connecting with the new insurance plans to make sure this would happen.
Virtually every single health care expert, as well as those who analyze the cost of health care, including the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), admit that providing breastfeeding support for mothers and babies saves everyone money and improves the quality of health of our communities. When mothers receive expert help, they breastfeed longer and their babies are healthier. Everyone wins.
Except that it is not happening – yet. We have no Medicaid contracts in place. The good news is that discussions are continuing with Medicaid and the managed care plans. They know breastfeeding is good for Nebraska babies. They know it will save them money.
You can imagine what we want in our stockings on Christmas morning...a contract with the new Heritage Health managed care plans that will provide breastfeeding support to moms and babies, saving us all money and creating a healthier community. We keep telling Santa that prevention is for everyone, not just those who can afford it.
PS: You can support our hard work, help us bridge our funding gap, and put warm, nourishing milk in a baby’s tummy by making a donation of any amount to cover consults for low income mothers and their babies.