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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Take action to protect Medicaid TODAY!

As our leaders in Washington continue to debate how to best address the national deficit, let's take a moment to consider what is at stake when the Republican leadership pushes for deep cuts in Medicaid.

Medicaid is an indispensible lifeline for millions of Americans, especially for seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income children. It is especially important for communities of color, particularly Latino and African American kids, because half of them get their health care through Medicaid - and given today's harsh economic realities, would have no way to get care without it.

Yesterday, Families USA and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) co-released an NCLR report that underscored Medicaid's critical role in ensuring access to health care for Latinos.

Today, Families USA and NCLR come together to amplify our efforts to ensure that health care for the most vulnerable is not ripped away by budget cuts: We're calling for a National Day of Action to Protect Medicaid. We need everyone who believes that access to health care for vulnerable children, families, and seniors should be protected to call 888-876-6242 and tell their Senators to save Medicaid.

Then, we need you to go to our joint Help Protect Medicaid page to learn about more ways you can make a difference, including using Families USA's first-of-its-kind Twitter petition tool.

Our Washington leaders need to hear a diverse set of voices from across the nation explain the real life consequences of undermining this vital lifeline, especially for communities of color who already bear a disproportionate burden of some chronic diseases, like diabetes and childhood asthma. Not only are we more likely to suffer these conditions, but the consequences of having them are worse in terms of complications and even death.

As the mother of an asthmatic child, I find the statistics on childhood asthma especially scary. Latino children are 60% more likely to suffer from this condition than non-Hispanic whites, and among asthmatics, they are 70% more likely to end up in the ER and 40% more likely to die of the disease. For Puerto Ricans, the death rate is four times that of non-Hispanic whites.

The statistics for African American children with asthma are even more shocking. African American children with asthma are almost four times as likely as non-Hispanic white children to end up in the ER and they are more than seven times as likely to die.

These are tragic and unnecessary deaths. At this point, doctors know how to effectively manage asthma, but in order for children to reap the benefits of medical advances, they need access to a doctor and the ability to buy medicine.

Our family is lucky. We have employers that provide good insurance and allow us to purchase affordable coverage for our family. My son can see the doctor when he needs to and has preventive medicine to take every day. But there are millions of children out there who don't share this fortune, and we need to speak up for them.

We need to make sure Congress understands the life and death consequences of cutting Medicaid. This is not just a mathematical exercise of balancing numbers on a budget spreadsheet; it is about the future of the littlest Americans being cut short because they couldn't get the health care they needed to breathe.

You can do something to stop Medicaid from being cut. Please call 888-876-6242 and tell your Senators to protect the Medicaid lifeline and that they shouldn't balance the budget on the backs of vulnerable children, seniors in nursing homes, and people with disabilities who need long-term care. Then amplify your voice by taking action and adding your name to our twitter petition.