Letter: Health care is as risk

To the editor:

Banner readers undoubtedly have read about the hordes of people — many in wheelchairs, using walkers, on ventilators, and so on — trekking to Washington, D.C. or to the state office of their senators to decry the proposed cuts in Medicaid that Congress had in store for us. Let me explain why they felt the need to do this. The Republican controlled congress and our president trumpeted their health care act as beneficial to Americans. This is so far from the truth that I can hardly believe they had the gall to say that. "Un-American" or "anti-American" are far more accurate. I am a member of the disabled community that would suffer greatly under the congressional healthcare proposals. It may be hard to understand what it is like to be at risk of nursing home placement if you have not experienced it. I guarantee that you will understand it very, very well if you are ever faced with that possibility in your own life. Those of us who use an in-home care program here in Vermont called Choices for Care rely on that program to live as independently as we can in our homes, rather than in nursing homes. Without that support to help with activities of daily living — assistance in getting up and going to bed, bathing, meal preparation, and the like — we face nursing homes, diminished quality of life and, frankly, shortened lives. I am heartened that this attempt to cut Medicaid funding by as much as 35 percent was not successful. The immediate battle was won by the dedicated actions of grassroots organizations like Bennington Rights & Democracy, whose members participated in the health care protests and civil disobedience in Washington D.C. over the past five weeks, and Americans with Disabilities for Attendant programs Today (ADAPT), whose members were on the front line of the protests and the front pages of newspapers across the country. But I am certain that the war on Medicaid will continue. Congress can still cut Medicaid through the federal budget process, and can reintroduce their ant-American bill at any time. The lives of the powerless are always at risk in the hands of the powerful.

— Charlie Murphy



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