VIRGINIA ORGANIZING LEADERS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE HOLD DEMONSTRATION AT REP. HURT’S OFFICE
For Immediate Release: August 3, 2012
Charlottesville, VA: Virginia Organizing held a demonstration at Congressman Robert Hurt’s Charlottesville office today to criticize his failure to support Medicaid and Medicare programs through his recent votes in support of the U.S. House of Representative’s budget and tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent. The House budget dismantles Medicaid and ends Medicare as we know it; continuing tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans means that programs like Medicaid and Medicare, among others, will face severe cuts.
Representatives of the Virginia Organizing group hand-delivered a letter to Rep. Hurt with a clear message: stop voting for bills that wreck life-saving programs like Medicaid and Medicare.
“We are hurt that Rep. Hurt votes to cut Medicaid and Medicare,” said Nia Bentall, a University of Virginia student. “These programs are lifesavers. People who struggle with mental illness, foster care children, and our seniors are all directly affected by these programs – they are like the life jackets that we are wearing. Without them, there are dire consequences.”
Cyndi Richardson, peer support specialist for On Our Own, works every day with people who struggle with mental health issues. She said very clearly, "If it wasn't for Medicaid, they would not get the services they need."
Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law in 1965 to ensure working people, seniors and people with disabilities could receive the health care they need. Other populations, such as foster children, also benefit from Medicaid. Virginia Organizing supports strengthening Medicare and Medicaid and asking the wealthiest 2 percent to pay their fair share instead of further burdening the middle-class.
Medicaid and Medicare have a proven record of success in protecting families from devastating medical bills and securing medical treatment needed for survival. In addition, Medicare controls costs better than private insurance companies. From 1999 to 2009, Medicare's costs per person rose only 4.7 percent, while private insurance costs per person rose 6.9 percent — nearly 50 percent more.
According to a report released by Strengthen Social Security, a coalition of groups dedicated to a stronger Social Security system, Medicare insured 1,094,503 Virginians, or 1 out of 7, in 2009. More than 8 out of 10 (83.4 percent) of those individuals were seniors and 16.8 percent were people with disabilities.
The report also shows Medicaid insured 945,527 Virginians, or 1 out of 8, in 2009. Of those insured by Medicaid, 28.3 percent were children, 11.2 percent were seniors, and 17.7 percent were people with disabilities.
The full report can be found at http://strengthensocialsecurity.org/sites/default/files/Virginia2012final.pdf.
The following is the text of the letter delivered to Rep. Hurt:
Dear Congressman Hurt,
We’re hurt that you continually vote to cut Medicare and Medicaid for Virginia families.
These programs aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet to us. They’re the difference between quality care at a nursing home, and having to rely on already economically strained family members. They’re the difference between being able to afford long-term care, or being forced to go without.
They’re the difference in making sure that anyone struggling with mental illness will get the services they need. They’re the difference in keeping our foster children healthy.
Medicare and Medicaid are lifesavers.
- 1,155,428 people benefit from Medicare, including 184,402 people with disabilities.
- 945,527 people benefit from Medicaid, including 167,017 people with disabilities, 105,853 seniors, and 521,152 children.
Your voting record would deny Virginians the care they depend on.
Going without coverage is bad for Virginia, bad for our economic stability, bad for our health, and it makes us sick.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Virginia Organizing is a statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.