Letter to the Editor

Medicaid cuts will cause grief

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

To the editor:

Jane Gaffigan's letter regarding Medicaid cuts reflects many misconceptions common to people who do not work with people who have disabilities.

Many disabled and elderly people have worked long and productive lives only to see all they have worked for disappear into the black hole of catastrophic medical expenses. Others are born with or develop disease requiring tens of thousands of dollars each year for medications. No insurance program will touch them.

Contrary to myth, these people do not sit around dreaming up ways to beat the system or raise taxes. They are far more concerned with how to stay alive and, God willing, remain out of a nursing home. As for budgeting, try managing a budget of $500 to $800 a month and fit a $15,000 to $20,000 drug bill into it.

As a social worker, I offer no praise for the governor or other lawmakers for cuts to Medicaid. They were offered the opportunity to visit the homes of disabled people in Southeast Missouri during the debate on these cuts. They declined. Apparently, the prospect of meeting real people with real pain, as I do daily, was a bit much to ask.

This legislation was poorly thought out and hastily contrived and was rammed through over the protests of those in a position to understand the grief it will cause. As for the promised tax savings, given the poor planning involved, I wouldn't count my change yet.

DONNA THOMPSON, Scott City