Medicaid Helps the Middle Class
And it needs to be protected. Republican Congress could slash coverage.
Someone asked me why I thought the deep cuts to Medicaid in the Republican AHCA/BCRA bills have not gotten much attention by the media or legislators until recently. I answered that I thought most people are unaware of the programs that receive Medicaid funding to meet the vast range of needs people have from birth until death or that 2/3 of Medicaid participants are children, frail and poor elderly people, and people with disabilities.
Later, upon self-reflection I realized that I had only given a partial answer. I am part of the reason that Medicaid is not being discussed, because I have been too embarrassed at times to admit that, when we were at our last resort, our family turned to Medicaid. I am going to say it loud and clear now, “My middle class family uses Medicaid.” Medicaid helped my dad receive care in the last few months of his life after we exhausted my parents’ resources caring for him in our home following a debilitating stroke 7 years prior. Medicaid paid the portion of expensive autism treatment that our son needed and we could not afford, even with employer-sponsored health insurance. Medicaid pays for the services my 84 year-old mother needs to remain in our home and out of a nursing home.
There is no shame in accessing care for loved ones or in a society that helps its members. Any of us, in an instant, can find ourselves in difficult circumstances faced with impossible decisions.
However there is shame in…
Callousness: Republicans turning the rose garden into a beer garden in celebration of a bill that would strip $23 million people of their health insurance.
Silence: Governors, local, state, and federal leaders of both parties who have not spoken out against the AHCA/BCRA to say that Medicaid per capita caps and block grants will be devastating for families and negatively impact 1/6 of our economy.
Secrecy: A handful of senators negotiating the BCRA bill behind closed doors, without stakeholder input, without hearings, or opportunities for amendments, when it will have life or death consequences for millions of people and quality of life consequences for us all.
Lying: A president who promises not to cut Medicaid and then proposes in his budget a $610 billion dollar Medicaid cut on top of the $772 – $834 billion Medicaid cut in the Republican AHCA/BCRA bills, thus cutting Medicaid almost in half over the next few years & completely restructuring it.
Manipulation: Masquerading the AHCA/BCRA as “health care” bills when neither address the real cost-drivers in health care or the actual health care needs of the American people.
Complacency: Citizens watching from a distance as our safety net unravels before our eyes.
The AHCA/BCRA will provide huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans on the backs of children, elderly people, and people with disabilities. If it passes all of us should be truly ashamed.
Nancy Gapinski is a parent of a child with a disability and part of an informal group “4th District Advocates” of people with disabilities and their families who are working to save Medicaid.