Letter to the Editor: Protect Medicaid
Nahant resident Jim Walsh reflects on his family history in his support for Medicaid.
From Jim Walsh of Nahant
My mother and father lead a proud, working class life. Dad worked hard and long in a factory job that paid a living wage. Mom worked from her teenage years until, when she and Dad were in their Forties, through the assistance of Catholic Family Charities, I was adopted into their lives, followed soon by a sister. We never had a new car and rummage sales were part of our lives, but through careful saving and the mortgage interest deduction, my parents bought a family home, my sister and I attended public schools and, after a year in a factory and construction work, I was able to go to Southern Connecticut State. Without the ability to live at home and pay only a very modest tuition, I would never have had a shot at an education. No sports or academic scholarships for me!
It is fashionable among the Republican candidates and SuperPACs to attack entitlements, taking particular glee in trashing Medicaid. They are more careful about attacking Medicare because all Americans are eligible for that program. But Medicaid! Isn’t that for poor people and people of color? If Scott Brown can rail against poor people voting, Richard Tisei should be able to attack the excesses of Medicaid without worrying about too much of a backlash from stalwart Republicans and, unthinking Independents.
I think Richard Tisei and Scott Brown have miscalculated. I don’t think they’ve really thought through what would happen when people looked carefully at what the Republicans are proposing. They’ve even dropped the fig leaf of compassionate conservatism.
While we know that Mr. Romney has been all over the map in terms of principles, he chose a soul brother Vice Presidential candidate who has really spilled the beans. Mr. Ryan and his colleagues (Richard Tisei has taken their money and wants to be one of them) have held even poor John Boehner hostage. The President and the Speaker were close to a deal that would have balanced reductions in spending and increases in revenues but the Republicans refused to consider raising taxes on the even wealthiest Americans and it was their way or the highway. Gut Medicare and Medicaid or no deal! I’m no fan of Speaker Boehner but even I felt sorry for him. No wonder he’s always on the edge of tears.
Where does all that Medicaid money go? According to the Congressional Budget Office, 64 per cent of it goes to nursing home care for the elderly and disabled. Mom and Dad. Whether they’re White, Black, Latino or Asian.
In my family history, without the union movement Dad would not have been paid a living wage. Without the home mortgage deduction, my parents would not have owned their own home. Without Medicare they would not have had the healthcare they required until my father’s death at almost 80. But most importantly, because my mother lived to be 93, sold her house, went through her savings and had to live her last five years in a nursing home, without Medicaid in her final years, she might have been faced with a situation out of a Dickens novel.
When I was a little boy, on some Sunday afternoons, my father would take me and drive to the Convent to pick up some of the Sisters for a pleasant ride along the shore or into the country. In the Fifties, nuns didn’t get out as much as they do now. Until he could not walk because of arthritis, Dad passed the basket at 8 o’clock Mass at St. Lawrence parish. Toward the end of his life Dad walked with the assistance of two canes. Yet I can tell you this. He was a gentle man, but if he were able to, he would take those canes to Paul Ryan and Richard Tisei for wanting to gut the Medicaid program that cared for his wife, my mother, in her final years.