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LOCAL Commentary :: Health Care

Disposable People

The Missouri legislature has little use for those who cannot help themselves.
On Wednesday, April 6, 2005, I attended a mass protest in Jefferson City, MO. Protestors were there to lobby against Medicaid cuts and for better pay for state workers. Gathered on the Capitol steps, to hear speakers who opposed the cuts, were around 1000 people who had made the bus trip to Capitol from various parts of Missouri.

The speakers were enthusiastic in their opposition to Medicaid cuts. Shouts of “Recall Blunt!” reverberated across the Capitol as the speakers spelled out the impact of the legislation that would be voted on the next day. Later, in the hallway outside the Governor’s office, those shouts for his recall would be repeated.

The next day, after scanning the headlines and all sections of the Kansas City Star, I could find no mention of the crowd that had gathered to protect the most vulnerable, Missouri citizens against the health threatening cuts that were contained in Senate Bill 539.

On Friday, the Kansas City Star carried a story about the cuts and described the impact they would have. Scarce mention was given to the protestors who had gathered to fight for their fellow citizens. No mention was made of the enthusiasm that those protestors had for a recall against our new Governor, Matt Blunt. Blunt had made recommendations for most of the cuts that were included in the Senate bill.

When Haley Barbour was elected Governor of Mississippi, he proposed horrendous cuts in that state’s Medicaid program that received national news coverage. I was appalled by the cuts that the Mississippi Governor had proposed, and had no idea that those draconian measures could ever happen in Missouri. Well, they did happen, supported by the majority of Missouri House Republicans who voted to accept the deep cuts made by their Senate colleagues. One Democratic amendment after another was voted down by the legislators. Those amendments would have reduced the severity program cuts.

Today, I met with a small group of people in North Kansas City. They had asked me to discuss Social Security with them. The young man who had arranged the meeting is disabled and receives SSI payments. Chances are that he will lose all of his Medicaid benefits. He must live on less that $600 a month. A disabled young woman was concerned that she would not be able to buy her prescription drugs with her Social Security disability benefits. The Medicare prescription drug program will be of no use to her because she needs her disability checks just to pay the rent, buy food, and pay utility bills.

These are the throw away people. Those members of the Missouri House who supported deep cuts in Medicaid certainly have little concern for those disadvantaged Missourians, the disposable people, who will be denied medical, dental and psychiatric care because of the miserly cuts contained in Senate Bill 539. Terri Schiavo got wide spread media attention and a special bill to prolong her life. People in Missouri who could survive with Medicaid assistance are being denied the help that they desperately need. They have been thrown upon the scrap heap of Missouri compassion.
 
 

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Re: Disposable People

Thanks for sharing the comments. Definitely keeping pressure on Blunt, but also working on the budget resolution. I think we have until May 6.
 

Re: Disposable People

It is surprising that dissent is being given no coverage by the main stream media. If you click on the Protest News site:
www.angelfire.com/nb2/www.dissentam.org
you will be surprised at just how many protests and demonstrations there actually are.

Thanks for standing up.
 

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