Television screens will broadcast images of fluttering confetti carrying the pride of patriotism blended with the smiles of promise. Thousands of Americans will cheer esteemed speakers giving life to the American Dream with their words. And soul-stirring speeches will contrast how far our nation has come with how much further we need to go in order to leave a better future for the generations to come.
In the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention (DNC), however, SEIU Healthcare and doctors from 17 states have joined the Doctors for America Patients Over Politics Tour for a historic 12-day journey from the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa to the DNC in Charlotte.
Our message is clear: the Romney/Ryan healthcare plan is the wrong prescription for America.
As healthcare providers on the frontlines of the nation's healthcare system, we witness the daily impacts of unmanaged and unaffordable care. We see how protecting Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act for the millions of Americans can sometimes mean the difference between life and death, financial security and emotional devastation.
If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan carry out their vision to dismantle Medicaid and Medicare and to repeal the benefits of the Affordable Care Act then senior citizens, people with disabilities and working families with children will lose. The Romney/Ryan healthcare plan would:
- Take away the benefits of the Affordable Care Act--a law that was upheld by the Supreme Court and is now helping more than 100 million Americans afford their healthcare, keep their doctor and ending the worst of insurance company abuses.
- End Medicare as we know it - shifting more costs onto seniors and handing out $4.6 trillion in tax breaks over the next decade to big corporations and millionaires.
- End Medicaid as we know it - forcing many seniors to be kicked out of their nursing homes and leaving low-income infants and children with no health coverage at all.
More than 58 million seniors, people with disabilities and children rely on Medicaid services today, and millions more will qualify for Medicaid when the provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect in 2014.
While Medicaid is often thought of as a program for the very poor, it funds healthcare for nearly two-thirds of all older Americans in nursing homes. The Romney/Ryan budget calls for $810 billion in cuts to Medicaid.
In addition, senior's healthcare costs would double under Romney/Ryan. For example, in ten years, 65-year-olds would be forced to pay twice as much for care than they would under current Medicare: $12,500 compared to $6,150. 2
Robert Chu, an SEIU Healthcare member and home care provider for his mother in Vancouver, Washington, understands what's at stake. His mother had two strokes in 2004, then suffered a heart attack in 2007 and suffers from other health problems-- diabetes, high blood pressure. It's never just one thing.
When Robert's mother had her first stroke, she didn't have healthcare. He maxed out all of his credits cards to the tune of about $12,000. Robert and his partner, with whom he has a four-year-old child, are both also legally blind. Like Robert, far too many working families are struggling to difficult choices in this tough economy: putting gas in the car, cutting back on groceries, to managing rising healthcare costs.
The Affordable Care Act, thankfully, makes healthcare coverage more secure by ensuring that working families cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, or lose their coverage or be forced into bankruptcy if a family member gets sick. Romney and Ryan would take away all of these existing benefits and much more.
Today Robert knows that if his family faces an unexpected healthcare crisis, they won't have to mortgage away their lives. With only 10 weeks until Election Day, November 6, let's make sure that we can echo the messages of those at the Democratic National Convention and on the Doctors for America Patients Over Politics Tour so we can help move the country forward with strong healthcare policies that take the burdens off the backs of seniors and the middle class.
- Sign up to receive email and mobile updates from SEIU at the DNC.
- Learn more about the Moving America Forward Healthcare Forum SEIU Healthcare is hosting with Families USA in Charlotte on Wednesday, September 5.