Takoma Park, Maryland, 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 Emily Townsend of Takoma Park, Maryland, up in arms. Townsend’s 17-year-old daughter, Freya, is severely mentally disabled with associated physical disabilities, and Townsend has had to rely on Medicaid to help cover her medical expenses. Yesterday, Townsend, a physicist at the University of Maryland, visited the White House to tell her story and discuss her concerns about proposed Medicaid cuts.
Townsend also has private insurance for her daughter, but when Freya was younger and required open heart surgery, Medicaid covered costs that were not covered by private insurance. Freya is currently covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program, but will go on Medicaid when she turns 18.
“My daughter will never be able to fully care for herself, so Medicaid is a crucial safety net for her,” said Townsend. “I get worried sick when I think about what might happen to her when I’m no longer around and able to take care of her. I’m not alone. There are thousands and thousands of other Americans across this country who rely on Medicaid in order to get the health care they desperately need. Medicaid is the main source of care for disabled adults. Cutting the deficit by cutting such a vital program is irresponsible and doesn't reflect my values or the values of most Americans.”
Townsend 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 children 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.
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.