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Monday, June 20, 2011

Who will stand up for Medicaid? 41 Senators will!

Eileen Falk

Staff Writer

In recent discussions about the controversial Republican budget proposal, the focus seems to be the public’s strong opposition to the proposed cuts to the Medicare program. Although Medicare is incredibly vital to the American people, it’s unfortunate that Medicaid, the program designed to provide coverageto the most vulnerable Americans, has been left out of the discussion. But that’s changing: 41 Democratic Senators are presenting a united front against proposed attacks on Medicaid.

In multiple letters to the president, the Senators made clear that any cuts to Medicare would not make it through the Senate. In a joint letter, 37 Senate Democrats  (four Senators wrote their own personal letters) pledged that they would not support limits on federal spending on Medicaid in block grants or other caps. They wrote:

Since 1965, the federal government has helped states pay for public health care and long-term services most low-income Americans need. A cap on federal spending or block grant would undermine this commitment. We are unwilling to let the federal government walk away from Medicaid’s 68 million beneficiaries, the providers that serve them, and the urban and rural communities in which they live.”

They also offered their support for efforts to “improve quality and reduce costs within the program.”

Thank goodness political leaders are finally standing up for Medicaid! The sad truth is political officials focus much more on Medicare, which serves the active voting population of senior citizens.  And while Medicaid is also important to millions of seniors, it also serves other populations who are less likely to vote, such as low-income families and people with disabilities, and those who are not allowed to vote, such as low-income kids. Our 41 champion Senators will help ensure these folks are heard.

With so many Americans relying on Medicaid and many more supporting it, it is good to see that the Senators we elected to represent us support the care we want and need for all Americans.