Letter: Medicaid is vital

Published 10:39 pm Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My mother celebrated her 56th birthday in July. She has always worked hard to make sure I have everything I need. I remember when she worked at a factory in Kannapolis that made towels and washcloths. It was a time when wages only allowed for a family to make it from month to month, paying essential bills such as lights, water, rent and food.

In my formative years, I required routine checkups, not to mention occasional trips to the doctor when I got sick. My mother applied for Medicaid, and I received all the medical attention required for me to live a healthy life.

My mother is not a lazy person; she works two jobs. It is the same with others in America. People work hard, but our economy does not afford everyone access to health care, due to low wages.

Our government provides programs such as Medicaid for folks to get the care they need. The Kaiser Foundation called it “a locus of innovation in the healthcare system.” In July, Medicaid celebrated its 50th birthday since being signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Medicaid is now the nation’s public health insurance program for low-income children, adults, seniors and people with disabilities. It covers 1 in 5 Americans.

More than half of Americans report they, a child of theirs, or another family member or friend has used Medicaid, and the program is important for them and their family. Some depend on Medicaid for life support, cancer treatment, nursing home care and more. Repeal and replace could have lead to 22 million people losing their health care, and for some it would have meant losing their life. Our social safety net is still intact; however, it is not safe from Congress when it is time for budget appropriations.

— LeAndre Blakeney