Valley Residents Oppose Rep. Goodlatte’s Votes to Slash Safety Net
Virginia Organizing Visits Rep. Goodlatte’s Harrisonburg Office;Calls on Him To Protect—Not Cut—Medicaid
Meanwhile, new report shows Medicaid cuts would cost Virginia up to 25,680 jobs
Harrisonburg– As heated debt ceiling talks continue, the statewide grassroots organization Virginia Organizing is expressing their disappointment over Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s support of cuts to America’s safety net. The group met with staff from Rep. Goodlatte’s Harrisonburg office on Tuesday to express their concerns over the Congressman’s vote to make dramatic cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.
Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid would hurt millions of Virginians and constituents of Rep. Goodlatte shared stories of how they would be affected.
“Putting Medicaid on the chopping block would mean devastating consequences for my family,” Sam Nickels of Harrisonburgsaid at Tuesday’s meeting. “My brother is on disability income for mental illness and the program made a huge difference in his access to ongoing medical care and medications. Before he had Medicaid there was tremendous stress on him and on our family and we could not find affordable health care. Medicaid covers his basic needs and he is doing very well now. We are very appreciative of what the Medicaid program and I oppose Rep. Goodlatte’s support for more cuts.”
Residents expressed their concerns about cuts proposed in the Ryan budget which Representative Goodlatte voted for earlier this year and the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” legislation which he voted for yesterday. Despite the fact that the Cut, Cap and Balance Act will not pass the Senate, a vote in favor of the act is seen by many as an endorsement of draconian cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and a politically-motivated diversion from serious debt talks.
“Representative Goodlatte voted for the Republican Ryan budget that would end Medicare as we know it and would mean deep cuts to Medicaid even though it funds one third of nursing home care in our state, preventive health care for kids and critical services for people with disabilities. Thousands of Rep. Goodlatte’s constituents rely on Medicare and Medicaid and they should not suffer while inexcusable tax loopholes remain unclosed and Social Security taxes are not even levied on the upper levels of income at all,” said RuthJost of Harrisonburgwho attended Tuesday’s meeting with Rep. Goodlatte’s staff.
Meanwhile, a new report shows that proposed cuts to Medicaid, which already have passed the House, would put up to 25,680 Virginia jobs at risk, as well as $3 billion in business activity.
That’s the finding of “Jobs at Risk,” a report recently issued by Families USA. The report analyzes what would happen if Medicaid were cut 5 percent, 15 percent and 33 percent. Under the House budget, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, Medicaid would be cut 33 percent by 2021.
“The extreme cuts proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan and passed by the House of Representatives are a double whammy that will deny health care to tens of thousands of families and throw tens of thousands of additional Virginians out of work,” said Sandra Cook, Chairperson of Virginia Organizing. “Because health care is a major sector of the economy, it should be no surprise that significant cuts in the federal dollars coming to Virginia to support Medicaid will depress business and lead to increased unemployment.”
If Medicaid spending were cut 5 percent this year, it would cost Virginia $216 million in federal Medicaid dollars, and put at risk $462 million in business activity and 3,890 jobs.
If Medicaid spending were cut 15 percent this year, it would cost Virginia $650 million in federal Medicaid dollars, and put at risk more than $1.3 billion in business activity and 11,670 jobs.
If Medicaid spending were cut 33 percent this year, it would cost Virginia $1.4 billion in federal Medicaid dollars and put at risk more than $3 billion in business activity and 25,680 jobs.
The Families USA report focuses on the devastating economic impact of Medicaid cuts. It also acknowledges that the human toll of cuts would be much wider, affecting the health and well-being of low-income and middle-class families, children, seniors and people with disabilities.
But the job loss figure is particularly significant because although nationwide unemployment figures in June showed very modest job growth in the private sector, there was actual job loss in the public sector, causing the official national unemployment rate to climb to 9.2 percent. If Medicaid were cut, job loss would come from both the public and private sectors, because every Medicaid dollar that flows into a state stimulates private-sector business activity and creates jobs.
The full Families USA report, including state-by-state figures, can be downloaded at http://familiesusa2.org/
Virginia Organizing is a statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.