To the editor:
Consider the actions of Congress in the Terry Schiavo controversy. On the exact same day that the House voted to involve the federal courts in her legal case, it approved a whopping 10-year, $92 billion cut in Medicaid funding. Sadly, these cuts will seriously impact access to services for others needing Medicaid-funded long-term care.
While petitioning the federal courts to intervene for one highly visible individual, Congress made a fiscal decision that will deny thousands of low-income Americans access to life-sustaining programs. Health care, home care, nutrition and other necessities will become more scarce due to these cuts, and families will struggle harder to access health care, put food on the table and keep their loved ones out of institutions.
Recently, the prestigious Institute of Medicine reminded us that 18,000 people die each year as a direct result of lack of health insurance, making it the sixth leading cause of death in this country among adults. Infants in the United States currently die at a higher rate than in most developed countries of the world, including Cuba.
Yet, many in Congress who have taxpayer-funded health coverage and voted themselves a taxpayer-funded cost-of-living raise, find a plethora of reasons why universal health coverage for all Americans, a life-and-death issue, should not be instituted as it is in all other industrialized nations. Meanwhile increasing numbers of families across the United States struggle to make ends meet.
Culture of life? Family values? I don't think so.