The federal budget fight in Washington is reaching a fever pitch -- and decisions are being made in the coming days that could impact millions of Americans. Congress must quickly come up with a deal to avoid defaulting the US debt, so Vice President Joe Biden just set a goal of $1 trillion in budget cuts.
Congress must find a smart and fair solution, but now some powerful lawmakers in Washington are pushing hard to permanently slash Medicaid funds while protecting tax breaks for big oil and other vested interests.
We simply can't stand by and let these life-saving benefits get axed. Medicaid is the last resort safety net for literally millions of Americans and their families:
-- Medicaid provides vital care for 34 million children -- that's 1 in 3 of all American children -- and over 8 million Americans with severe physical and mental disabilities.
-- Medicaid covers 40% of births in the U.S., helping to reduce infant mortality and prevent avoidable birth defects—saving lives and money.
-- Medicaid covers 70% of all nursing home residents, and provides extra coverage for 9 million more of our poorest seniors on Medicare.
-- Medicaid has absorbed millions of Americans who have lost jobs or seen their incomes plummet in the recession, stemming greater increases in the number of uninsured and supporting the safety net providers who care for them.
As a country, we can't abandon the least among us. There are other parts of the federal budget – like billions on subsidies to oil companies, for one example -- that should be on the chopping block before we leave children and elderly to suffer from lack of health care.
Write your legislator today – as they work on addressing the federal budget crisis– and tell them to find other, less harmful ways than devastating this vital safety net for millions of Americans.
-- Medicaid covers 1 in 3 children.
-- Medicaid covers more than 1 in 3 births.
-- Medicaid covers 8 million people with disabilities.
-- Medicaid covers 1 in 4 poor non-elderly adults.
-- Medicaid covers nearly 9 million low-income Medicare beneficiaries.
-- Medicaid covers comprehensive services for children.
-- Medicaid has assisted millions affected by the recession, stemming greater increases in the number of uninsured.
As a country, we can't sacrifice the most vulnerable Americans in the name of balancing the budget. I stand with Consumers Union, because we cannot allow 34 million children be cut off from life-saving Medicaid benefits. Millions of working poor and millions of seniors in nursing homes rely on Medicaid.
There are other parts of the federal budget -- tax breaks for the rich, for example -- that should be on the chopping block before we leave children and elderly out in the cold.
I strongly encourage you to spare Medicaid from funding cuts, and find other, less draconian measures for balancing the federal budget.