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Medicaid under attack

Published June 18. 2011 09:01AM

Dear Editor:

2011 is no doubt a tumultuous year. Natural disasters seem to have become a normal occurrence throughout the world. Yet, when they occur people rally and come to the aid of those countries and the people so direly affected.

So why is it that some American people find it so difficult to apply the same generosity and apathy to their fellow citizens?

As the presidential race begins to unfold, a new party seems to be forming. No, not the Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Conservatives or even the Tea Partiers. It is the party of Ignoble. Ignobles are people who lack the quality of moral character that give human beings distinction of mind and soul. They are mean spirited, petty, spiteful people.

An article published in the Times News described one such incident at a public meeting to discuss how the budget cuts of the Corbett administration were going to directly affect their school. A young lady stood up and expressed her concern about the athletic program and the adverse effect the cuts would have. Her question related to the athletic scholarships, that apparently so many of the students hope to achieve to offset the high cost of a secondary education. Immediately, heard in the background, a voice shouted" Pay for it yourself", an ignominious statement to say the least. Lately, we seem to have an abundance of these characters in our society.

Since the election of 2010 this has become even more apparent. The introduction and in most cases, the passage of legislation that infringes more and more on our inalienable rights, namely women's rights, bargaining rights, voting rights, reducing unemployment benefits and most recently the Ryan Budget with the introduction of eliminating the Medicare program by providing underfunded vouchers that would have less value over your lifetime making it more and more difficult to get adequate medical coverage if able to get any at all.

A similar deviation is directed at another medical program that serves as a safety net as well. The Republican Ryan Budget Voucher Plan, proposes cuts to this program as well It serves low income seniors, the poor, the working poor, the lower middle class and the disabled. This insurance program is called Medicaid.

The health insurance reforms contained in the Affordable Health Care Act passed last year, provides an important provision requiring states to keep Medicaid and the CHIP program which addresses uninsured children. It prevents states from cutting Medicaid coverage for adults (seniors) and protects children's coverage in Medicaid and CHIP through 2019.

But, alas, the Republicans have introduced another astounding bill that has nothing to do with creating jobs,(in fact just the opposite, more layoffs.) This proposal would undo the stability of these protections, denying hundreds of thousands of women and children access to health care and eliminating the CHIP program entirely depending on the state.

The Republican argument being that it "saves" money. Saves money? Didn't they just insist on continuing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest under the threat of holding the people and the country hostage in exchange for continuing their uninsurance benefits? Didn't they just vote down to eliminate the taxpayer subsidies to the giant oil companies? A few billion here, a trillion or so there, all adding to the deficit, but we'll save if we take away the safety programs that benefit the … you got it … the needy. Hospitals, community health care centers and other providers would have increasing rates of uncompensated care, which would no doubt result in the closing of these care centers, because as stated previously insurance companies are in the business of making money. No profit … no hospital.

If the Republican plan becomes law, the Congressional Budget Office, which is non-partisan, estimates that 1.7 million children would lose health insurance. These programs have helped reduce the uninsured children in this country by more than half.

Approximately 400,000 people, two thirds of them children would lose vital health care services.

However, almost half the states in this country, which are Republican dominated, are already proposing to eliminate their CHIP programs while the rest drastically roll back coverage.

Will the ignobles win out? Will we stand by and watch our neighbors and our families suffer? Will the malicious bitterness, overwhelm our society and lead us to tyrannize the most vulnerable in our country?

Yes, the deficit needs to be addressed but not on the backs of the most needy in this country. Why is it that the wealthiest among us get tax breaks and billionaire corporations pay little or no tax? (And by the way, where IS all the job creating legislation that was promised in the 2010 elections? Obviously the tax cuts haven't worked, at least not for the unemployed but have certainly lined the pockets of the top 2%)

"A major objective of political liberalism is the protection of the economic weak"

(Wayne Morse).

How is it that we can reach out across the world and offer to help those in need and not extend the same goodness and generosity to our own people?


Janet Anderson

New Ringgold

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