Throughout my life, my mother has had her battles: she raised six kids, survived the death of my father, and worked very difficult jobs as an immigrant in the United States. She was a stay-at-home mother for six children – three boys and three girls. I am the fifth child.
When my father died 27 years ago, she was left without any savings or money to pay the bills. She took on jobs for the family to survive. She cleaned houses, sold things, and saved a little bit of money for the future.
She has never asked anything of us children or the government. But recently I learned that the government-run program, Medicaid, was paying for her medicines. My mother is 76 years old and for the last 10 years she has had diabetes. Her teeth even rot and my sister and I had to take her to Tijuana, Mexico, for dental care.
Even though she had a lot of pain in her mouth and at times she suffers from pain that comes with illness and age, she does not want to say anything to us out of shame that we have to help her. “I am a single mother and I don’t have anything to give to my children,” she has said.
I know this is not true because she raised us working the hardest jobs in this country. Now it is our time to help her. But it would be much more difficult and expensive without Medicaid.
I know that we are in a recession in this country and politicians want to cut spending. But we shouldn’t take away anything from our seniors. They have worked and contributed to this country for these benefits and deserve to live with dignity. Any proposal to do away with Medicaid would be an injustice.
Maria Ramirez is a MomsRising.org member who lives in Corona, California.