By Richard Negri
Last week, a retired plumber attending Congressman Ryan Paul’s town hall meeting in Wisconsin began to speak out about Ryan’s proposed budget cuts, which would end Medicare and Medicaid as we know them.
The police swiftly grabbed the man, pushed him into the hallway, threw him down and handcuffed him. Though the man asked the cops to be careful as he is still healing from a broken shoulder, they still pulled his arms behind his back and cuffed him.
As this was all taking place, Rep. Ryan joked, “I hope he took his blood pressure medicine today.” His supporters laughed.
This retired plumber–along with seniors in nursing homes and people with disabilities all across the country–will be the first to feel the hit, should these draconian cuts come to fruition. Healthcare workers around the country, many of whom will likely lose their jobs, will share in this sacrifice. All the while the super rich will be given even greater tax cuts. How is this even remotely fair?
Medicaid, the program that provides nursing home care for most seniors, is one of the programs that provides the kind of healthcare jobs our communities need and thrive upon economically. The deep budget cuts being proposed could result in even lower nursing home staffing and less hands-on care for nursing home residents.
On a daily basis, you can hear politicians talk about creating the jobs our communities need. But all this talk of jobs, jobs, jobs is useless if they’re cutting jobs elsewhere at the very same time.
Our lawmakers need to get Medicaid off the chopping block and realize that doing so returns the dignity and respect our communities deserve and worked so hard for. They need to realize that they need to be helping right now, not hurting!