“At the annual State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol, Chuck Kennedy captured this poignant moment between the First Lady and U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg. Cory first met the President in 2009 at a D-Day ceremony in Normandy. Four months later, Cory was badly injured in Afghanistan and in a coma for three months. In early 2010, shortly after Cory came out of his coma, the President happened to be visiting patients at Walter Reed Hospital. As he walked into one of the patient’s rooms, hanging on the wall was a photo I had taken of the President and Cory in Normandy. The President then realized that he had met this badly injured Army Ranger at Normandy. Two years later, we were visiting Arizona, where Cory had gone home to further recuperate. The President asked if Cory would be able to greet him backstage. Amazingly, Cory was able to salute the President and walk across the room aided by a walker to shake hands with the President.” (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
February 4, 2014
“Members of Congress vie for the President’s attention following a meeting with the House Democratic Caucus in the East Room of the White House.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
“The President talks with some of his national security advisors before a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation in Ukraine. I’m sure there will be people quick to comment about his wearing casual clothes and having his feet on his coffee table. Let’s keep perspective in mind: it was a Saturday, and a President is the President whether he’s wearing a suit on a weekday or casual clothes on a weekend. And a President, any President, isn’t disrespecting the office if he puts his feet on a table or a desk; he’s just being relaxed.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Michelle Andrews: Dangerous Premature Births Decline In States That Expanded Medicaid
The percentage of babies born prematurely fell to 11.4 percent in 2013, its lowest level in 17 years, according to an annual March of Dimes report released this week. While many factors contributed to the decline, officials say the health law’s expansion of Medicaid to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level has played a role. Going forward, other health law provisions will likely contribute to further reductions in preterm births, defined as live births at less than 37 full weeks, women’s health advocates suggest. The health law’s expansion of public and private health insurance coverage to millions of women will likely have the largest impact on reducing preterm births, says Adam Sonfield, a senior public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research and education organization.
Pregnant women who meet their state’s income eligibility standards (typically at or near 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or $23,340), can receive Medicaid services until 60 days after they give birth, but more consistent coverage helps ensure that women are healthy before they become pregnant and that they receive early prenatal care. Other health law provisions will make inroads as well, according to Sonfield, who authored a Guttmacher brief on pregnancy-related services shortly after the law passed in 2010. Maternity and newborn care is now required coverage in plans sold on the individual and small group markets. A range of preventive services must be provided free of charge to pregnant women, including folic acid supplements, smoking cessation counseling, screening for gestational diabetes and prenatal care.
Even at a ripe 45, I have some of the sense of invulnerability that I had at 25. There is no good reason for me to be so confident; I have the physicals and admonitions from my doctor to prove so. But, I guess it’s better than being like some people, who treat every errant mole as a sign of the Grim Reaper’s impending visit.
However, everything ends. The one surety in life is that your time on Earth is short an precious. Would we appreciate life if we somehow discovered the fountain of youth? I don’t know. But the short lives we have now make every moment unique, of a singular nature, whether in joy or sorrow.
As life is short, something which always informs my decisions is the question: Am I making the world a better place. I’m not talking about great, macro-historical acts. I’m talking about the little things, the everyday kindnesses, the quotidian miracles which will not make it to the history books, but which may change a person’s life in innumerable ways for the better.
It’s a question by which I try to live. But it’s also a question which too few of our fellow citizens ask.