The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

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The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Advocates Say Proposed Medicaid Changes Would Disproportionately Hurt Vulnerable Communities

June 10, 2011 - Posted by Ron Bigler

Plans circulating in Congress to modify the Medicaid health care program threaten to put millions of America’s most vulnerable citizens – minorities, seniors, children, and people with disabilities – at risk, warn civil and human rights advocates.

On a June 9 press call, Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, joined Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, Tony Coelho, board chair of the American Association of People with Disabilities and a former Congressman, Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president of State and National Group at AARP, and Linda Guzman, a single parent from Chapel Hill, N.C, to call attention to the negative effects of proposals such as a balanced budget amendment, global spending caps or turning Medicaid into block grant program, which would severely restrict the ability of states to structure Medicaid programs effectively.

“Medicaid is one of the most important health care, anti-poverty and civil rights programs in American history,” Henderson said. “When it comes to safeguarding vulnerable populations, Medicaid—along with Social Security and Medicare—is one of the bedrock elements of a just society, and one that every American has a stake in protecting.” 

Covering about 58 million people, Medicaid provides essential health coverage to low- to moderate-income children, parents and pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities. The program is widely viewed as a successful anti-poverty measure.

But federal budget plans put forward by Representative Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would dramatically restructure the Medicaid program by converting it to a block grant and sharply cutting its funding.

Listen to a recording of the press call and see an issue brief outlining the potential impact of the Ryan plan on Medicaid.

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