Sandy, Utah, Mom Goes to White House to Discuss Saving Medicaid
July 8, 2011
In an attempt to reduce the deficit, some Members of Congress have proposed drastic cuts to the Medicaid and Medicare programs. This proposal has moms across the country, including Gail Schimmelpfennig of Sandy, Utah, up in arms. Without Medicaid, Schimmelpfennig is unlikely to have survived (sate on) breast cancer. Yesterday, she visited the White House to tell her story and discuss her concerns about proposed Medicaid cuts.
“Had I not been able to get my breast cancer treatment covered by Medicaid, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Schimmelpfennig. “I don’t have private insurance because my husband was self-employed and we couldn’t afford it. I would have given up treatment before I’d use the money we need to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads. This is truly a program that saves lives. Cutting it would be like issuing a death sentence to millions of people like me.”
Schimmelpfennig is one of three members of MomsRising from around the country who met with White House officials about Medicaid yesterday. MomsRising is an online and on-the-ground grassroots organization for moms and everyone who has a mom. With more than a million members nationwide, the group focuses on policies that help to ensure family economic security.
“There’s no question that we need to reduce the deficit, but cutting Medicaid and other programs that families rely on just to get by isn’t the way to do it,” said MomsRising Executive Director Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “We’re disgusted that some Members of Congress want to put programs that provide children and families in need with food, affordable child care and health care on the chopping block, while they give tax breaks to millionaires and huge corporations. Putting corporate interests above the interests of our families is no way to run a country. Unless you want to run it into the ground.”
“We applaud the President's rejection of plans to transform Medicaid into a dramatically underfunded block grant, putting at serious risk children and people with disabilities. And MomsRising stands with him to fight cuts to this incredibly important program for American families,” Rowe-Finkbeiner added.
MomsRising has collected stories from hundreds of families all over the country about their experiences with Medicaid. The group is delivering the stories in a book to Members of Congress and members of the Obama Administration. The stories are also available online. MomsRising members also have sent some 20,000 letters to their U.S. Senators and Representatives urging them not to cut Medicaid. This is the story Schimmelpfennig sent in:
I knew something was wrong in my breast, but I had no insurance. I knew that even if I could scrape together enough money for a mammogram, I couldn't pay for treatment. It would be a pre-existing condition if I got insurance later. So I tried not to worry for 2 years. Finally, my husband heard something on TV about free mammograms for low-income women from the Health Department, so I went in. Yes, it was breast cancer. Yes, it was invasive. And yes, treatment was paid for by Medicaid. Medicaid literally saved my life. My cancer was stage 1, treated by surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormones. It\'s now been 9 years since my diagnosis. I'm grateful to be alive. I would never have chosen my own treatment over house payments. My family is more important than my life. Today I'm grateful to have both.
Right now, one in three children is enrolled in Medicaid. A Kaiser Health Tracking Poll released in May of this year found that about half of all Americans (51 percent) say they or a friend or family member has received Medicaid assistance at some point in his or her life. Roughly the same proportion (53 percent) do not want to see any reductions in Medicaid spending.