Golden Press

A Fight for Medicaid


American citizens convene on the Hill in a forum for Medicaid.

July 12, 2011

By Jarondakie Patrick

American citizens and organizations gathered to send a message to congress that Medicaid is a need resource for those who work, have disabilities, sick love ones, and health administrators.

Washington — Over 200 Americans citizens and members of organizations as ADAPT, Caring Across Generations, National Domestic Work Alliance, Planned Parent Hood, and others joined forces in a forum on Medicaid to send a message to congress that ‘Medicaid Saves Lives’.

Six tax-paying citizens shared stories and personal experiences of how Medicaid helps and gives those with disabilities freedom.

Sarah Watkins, 26-year-old Austin, TX native and member of ADAPT, shared her daily routine with the audience. She receives home community-based services funded by Medicaid. Watkins is just one of many citizens with a disability and depends on Medicaid assistance.

Without these services, which allows someone to come into her home daily for six hours to help her dress and prepare for work she said, “I’ll be in a nursing home.” It would require additional funds, she added. But Watkins is not in a nursing home. She lives in her own house, volunteers in her community, works a full-time job, and is a tax-paying citizen.

Sarah Watkins, 26 of Austin Texas, pictured in the wheel chair testifies that Medicaid assistance has allowed her to have freedom. She has been a member of ADAPT since 2005.ADAPT is a national grass-roots community that organizes disability rights activists to engage.

With the help of Caring Across Generations’ campaign these citizens and members hold signs reading “Medicaid Matters for: seniors, parents, kids, and for America.” The signs are raised high in their hands every time something is said that encompasses the message “Medicaid Saves Lives.”

Volunteers stand behind the podium holding the signs that read Medicaid Matters. The same signs can be found in the audience.

Also in attendance were senators Claire McCaskill D-Missouri, Al Franken D-Minnesota, and Sheldon Whitehouse D-Rhode Island.

Mamie Grimes, 88, is a senior citizen living with her daughter and son-in-law in Richmond, VA. She joined the Virginia Organizing organization because she was interested in attending the forum. Grimes recently lived in Harlem, NY.

Sen. McCaskill said the question is not how do we stop taking care of Americans because as Americans we care for our sick, but how can we use less money in certain places?

To those lawmakers thinking cutting Medicaid is going to make it less expensive Sen. McCaskill said no it’ll eventually make expenses higher, increase the loss of lives, and make quality of life higher.
Arlene Holt Baker, AFL-CIO Executive VP, said quality jobs and quality care go hand in hand.
“We hope by telling the stories to the elected officials, that they will understand how critical this is,” Baker said. “This is not a time that we should be taking away from the most vulnerable among us.”

The deficit is a problem, but a short-term problem, Baker added.

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July 13, 2011 - Posted by | Life In DC, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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