We Needed Medicaid and We Are Not Alone

In March of 2007, Courtney and I found out that we were going to be parents for the first time. News of this kind always comes with mixed emotions of excitement, fear and anticipation of the moment you hold your newborn for the first time as Mom or Dad. In addition to the normal worries that any pregnant couple faces, we had to deal with the fact that we did not have health insurance and we were making a combined $20.50 an hour. Thankfully, Courtney was able to qualify for Medicaid, which gave her the necessary health insurance coverage she would need during her pregnancy.

Medicaid saved us. It provided a safety net for us to get the care required for the successful birth of our healthy girl later that year. We needed Medicaid and we are not alone. Half of all births across our nation our covered by Medicaid. In fact, 40% of all children are covered by Medicaid too. This program is vital to providing low-income and disabled Americans essential and life saving health care to live healthy and productive lives. Yet, House and Senate Republicans led by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell want to cut Medicaid funding in order to give the top 1% massive tax breaks.
 
Medicaid recipients are our nation’s most vulnerable and least positioned to weather a financial crisis driven by a medical emergency. 1 in 5 Americans count on Medicaid as their health insurance option. By cutting Medicaid funding, House and Senate Republicans are taking away health insurance from many Americans including millions of pregnant women and children. These Americans won’t have the financial resources to get proper care and risk potential life-long health problems, crippling debt, or much higher health care costs throughout their babies’ lifetime. In 2013, NerdWallet Health analyzed data from the U.S. Census, Centers for Disease Control, the federal court system and the Commonwealth Fund and found that the number one cause of bankruptcy in America was due to unpaid health care bills.
 
In a compassionate America, we are focused on keeping our society healthy and productive by enhancing access to affordable high-quality health care and ensuring that all of us are covered by health insurance. We wouldn’t celebrate taking away health insurance from anyone — especially our most vulnerable. Courtney and I needed Medicaid in 2007 and without access to this health insurance program — we may not have had such a successful pregnancy. Cutting Medicaid funding to provide a massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans isn’t just mean — it goes against our shared belief that we give and help those in need when they need it most. We are thankful for the assistance that Medicaid provided and in my vision of America — all Americans have the health insurance coverage they need to live healthy and productive lives.

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