As a disabled American who depends on both Medicare and Medicaid for my health care, I was relieved to hear the news that Senate leaders decided there was not enough support to pass the Graham Cassidy bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act and made serious changes to Medicaid with far-reaching consequences for millions of people, including me.
As a teenager, I was in a car accident that caused a brain injury which changed my life forever. Although I survived the injury, I face a range of challenges from the accident, including difficulty with basic cognitive functions, motor skills, speech, complete loss of long term memory, and social and basic reasoning skills. These challenges make it impossible for me to stay employed and earn a living. Therapies and treatments that improve my quality of life were so intense and expensive, when my parents cared for me they needed Medicaid to pay my medical bills. Only with over 20 years of these necessary therapies am I able to function well enough to have basic living skills and care for my children. Without these constant brain training therapies, I may end up with permanent Alzheimer’s the doctors tell me.
I applied to and was granted Social Security Disability benefits, which provides a small income so that I can meet basic needs. Medicare and Medicaid coverage provide the health care I need to manage my disability and stay healthy. These services have been a critical lifeline for me and millions of other people with disabilities severe enough to impact their income and health. In Indiana alone, there are over 800,000 people with disabilities. Nearly a quarter depend on Medicaid.
Medicaid survived the Graham Cassidy repeal bill, but that’s not the only threat to health care for people like me and with over 1.2 million Hoosiers who depend on Medicaid, including over 680,000 children and 93,000 seniors in addition to people with disabilities this threat can cost a lot of lives to be lost.
Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security Disability are all under attack. The House Republicans voted on a budget resolution last week that would cut $2 trillion in federal funding to states for health care, including Medicaid and Medicare. A parallel resolution that would turn trillions in tax breaks over the rich and corporations as part of President Trump’s tax “reform” plan is taking shape in the Senate.
With a stroke of a pen, Trump is now ripping health care away from families with his executive order encouraging healthier individuals to leave the ACA, leaving the most vulnerable in an unstable market. Republicans may also restructure Medicaid into the Senate budget resolution as well allowing them to keep working through the same fast-track “reconciliation” process they’ve been using all year to take away our health care with just 51 votes.
President Trump announced his tax framework in Indiana. It will cut taxes for big corporations by $4.3 trillion over the next 10 years. Big companies already pay very little in taxes because of the corporate tax loopholes that allow them to hide their profits offshore to avoid paying the 35% corporate tax rate.
Republican leaders want to cut the corporate tax rate for companies like Google, Apple, Pfizer and others from 35% down to 20% but big tax cuts cost money. Cuts to vital programs like Medicaid, Medicare, SSI and public education mean we are the ones who will pay.
The rich have been getting richer and the poor getting poor for a long time in Indiana and across the country. This plan is more of the same: cutting Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, public education, housing, transportation, and other services in order to fund tax breaks for the rich and corporations. That’s not the kind of “reform” our state needs.
It’s wrong to cut services like health care and Social Security for seniors, people with disabilities, working families and kids to give more wealth to the richest 1% and corporations making record profits whether it’s through repealing the ACA and cutting Medicaid or whether it’s through cuts in the federal budget.
Congress should reject this proposal and represent the interests of their constituents, including people with disabilities like myself, not the corporate lobbyists and rich donors.
Games are supposed to be enjoyable
When I attend a football, basketball or other sports event, I attend for the purpose of enjoying the game not to be confronted with some type of protest or demonstration.
I respect the NFL players right to express their opinion through action. However, just because you have the right to do something doesn’t make it right to do it. There is a time and place for protests and demonstrations. I do not feel it is right to disrespect our flag and country as a protest. Our history is filled with examples of people giving their lives and fortune for the freedoms we now enjoy and it is incumbent upon us to show the respect they deserve by respecting the symbols they sacrificed for.
NFL players have access to the press anytime they want it. At that time they certainly are free to express their opinion on anything they feels strongly about. These athletes have a platform that is not available to the average citizen. They have the star power and the money to express their viewpoints. If players are really committed to this cause, why don’t they refuse to play the game? By allowing this behavior, the owners and league officials support these actions.
In my view, this controversy really isn’t about patriotism, social justice, racial inequality, or free speech. It’s not even about the flag or the national anthem. It’s really only about one thing – “what we will tolerate, & what we won’t.” The players have agents and unions, the owners have money and power, and the fans are always caught in the middle. Maybe it’s time for the fans to withdraw their support.
Rolland G. Voris
Pence wrong about flag protests
No doubt Vice President Mike Pence thought he was being principled when he left that Colts game after visiting players knelt to protest inequities in America’s treatment of African Americans. But has Pence really listened to what the NFL players are saying about the reasons for their protests? Does he understand that Americans have a right to protest inequities and wrongdoing, a right enshrined in both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution? Are he and President Trump willfully ignoring what NFL players are saying, or are they equating their own respect for the flag with patriotism?
These players intend no disrespect to the flag, to our soldiers, or to the country; they are peacefully protesting about life and death issues that have been too long ignored: institutionalized racism and the often unjustified killing of black men. Is a “love it or leave it, my country right or wrong” respect for the flag really more patriotic than honoring what the flag actually represents — the right of all citizens to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? I don’t know what these players think of Pence and Trump, but I know I’m ashamed to have a president who labels them “S.O.B.s” for simply expressing their views.
Federal gun laws needed to reduce violence
In response to the letter “Why do liberals ignore Chicago homicides?” the answer is simple. When conservatives mention Chicago, it’s not an honest question. It’s a canard steeped in racist rhetoric and attempts to paint black Americans, who primarily vote Democratic, as inherently violent.
Why do conservatives ignore the fact that straw-purchased weapons from Indiana are regularly recovered from Chicago crime scenes?
Conservatives who ask the Chicago question are unintentionally highlighting that America’s patchwork gun control laws are ineffective and that strong and consistent federal legislation is the only solution.