The Republicans’ latest Senate bill to repeal Obamacare would cut $800 billion dollars from Medicaid, devastating the program that covers 69 million Americans. A great deal of the debate on repealing and replacing Obamacare has focused on people losing coverage on the Obamacare Exchanges. However, the Republican repeal both weakens the protections established under Obamacare and it threatens to rip the basic Medicaid safety net out from under millions of elderly and disabled Americans.
Over two-thirds of all nursing home residents are covered by Medicaid. These are elderly Americans that have depleted their savings and are dependent on Medicaid to pay for their nursing home care. Iowa has a high number of elderly and disabled residents in nursing homes, and the number is growing as Iowa’s population ages.
In Iowa over 600,000 disabled and elderly Iowans are dependent on Medicaid for their survival. It’s been widely reported that many of Iowa’s hospitals and nursing homes are at risk of closure if Senate Republicans vote for these massive cuts to Medicaid. Steve Ackerson, President of the Iowa Health Care Association predicted Medicaid cuts would be catastrophic for Iowa nursing homes.
“Just imagine what would happen after a 20 to 25 percent cut,” Ackerson said. “Nursing homes could be particularly vulnerable to deep Medicaid cuts the bill would bring. More than half of all residents in Iowa nursing homes are covered by Medicaid, which pays an average of about $172 per day. On average, the nursing homes lose $26 per day on each of those residents,” said Ackerson.
Senators Ernst and Grassley were elected to protect Iowans and work in their interests. These 600,000 vulnerable Iowans are dependent on Senators Ernst and Grassley to protect them from ending up on the street. Many of these Iowans living in nursing homes are someone’s parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles.
Senator Ernst and Grassley are going to vote on a bill written in secret without public input or hearings. They have refused to take a position on this dangerous bill that threatens Iowa seniors with massive cuts. Their refusal to respond or explain their position is unacceptable.
Senator Grassley needs to be reminded of the ridiculous claim he made about Obamacare at a Winterset town hall on August 12, 2009. He responded to a question about Sarah Palin’s claim that Obamacare would create death panels.
“You have every right to fear. We should not have a government program that determines you’re going to pull the plug on Grandma,” said Senator Grassley.
As we all know Obamacare didn’t create death panels or pull the plug on any Iowa Grandmas. Senator Grassley needs to be reminded that a vote for the current Senate bill’s drastic slashing of Medicaid funding will result in pulling the plug on many Iowa Grandmas.
Yesterday a half page ad was published in the Des Moines Register. It was addressed to Senators Ernst and Grassley asking them to keep Iowans covered. It was paid for by the Child and Policy Center of Iowa and was signed by over 100 Iowa advocates, doctors, hospitals, caregivers, service providers, and community leaders.
Their statement read: We stand united in opposition to any attempts to weaken affordable health care for Iowans.
Dozens of liberal groups across America are joining ranks to oppose the Republicans’ devastating cuts to Medicaid. They are planning “Day-of-Action” rallies in many major American cities for July 29th. That date was chosen because it’s the 52nd anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid. They have chosen as their theme, “Our-lives-on-the-line” which signifies the life and death consequences of the Republicans proposed Medicaid cuts and Obamacare repeal.
The national sponsoring groups have drawn organizers from this year’s Women’s March, the Science March and the Tax March. The participating groups include Indivisible, Organizing for Action, Our Revolution, Move-On.org, Planned Parenthood, Center for Democratic Action and others.
Here in Iowa the leaders of the Women’s March are taking the lead on statewide organizing. They have a local signup page on the national site and have events planned at six Iowa cities to date. If you want to get involved, you can go to the signup page for the Iowa city nearest you and volunteer to participate. The following Iowa cities have events planned: Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Sioux City and Waterloo.
Many other Iowa groups are joining as sponsors in each of these cities. Each Iowa city is planning a different approach in opposing the Republican Senate bill. However, the focus will be to appeal to Senators Ernst and Grassley to vote against this dangerous bill. The Senate may vote prior to the July 29th rally which means the bill would go to a House and Senate conference committee. If the Senate does vote and passes the bill prior to the rallies, the focus will turn to lobbying both Iowa House and Senate members to improve or reject the conference bill.
Tell Senators Ernst and Grassley to vote against kicking any Iowa Grandmas out of their nursing homes. #Ourlivesareontheline
by Rick Smith