Ending Medicaid is not the answer
Letter to the Editor published in the Edwardsville Intelligencer August 1, 2012, page 4.
(Recently), I attended the AFP event in Edwardsville entitled "Healthcare Freedom". I am a Medicare for All advocate and a physician. I went to
see how and what the Americans for Prosperity (the not truly a grassroots organization but more the tentacle of the Koch Brothers) was selling. The gist of the presentation was that Illinois should reject the federal money for expanding Medicaid and not set up healthcare exchanges putting our state in the same nihilistic class as Florida and Texas. Medicaid shouldn't be expanded because it is broken. We should reject the ACA even though the presenter acknowledged that there is no other plan in the works to fix healthcare nor help cover the working poor who can't afford healthcare now. The story about the twelve year old who died of dental disease because the family could not find a Medicaid provider was tragic. When asked what should have happened, there was no answer. The child's death was inevitable (the speaker
avoided answering the question). I agree that Medicaid's payment rate is low and the checks are slow: however, ending Medicaid or shrinking it is not the answer. Until we get single payer healthcare, the ACA is the law
of the land. If the AFP likes states' rights then hopefully Vermont will get a waiver for state single payer and California will move forward. Most of the people in the room looked like they were Medicare age. None of them complained about their single payer care.
Pamela Gronemeyer, MD, is Co-President for Southern Illinois of PNHP, and a member of the Board of ISPC.