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As the heat rises in Richmond and heated debt ceiling talks continue in Washington, a group of doctors and community leaders from Doctors for America and Virginia Organizing delivered a signed petition to Rep. Eric Cantor’s Glen Allen office reminding him that a decision to cut Medicare or Medicaid can mean the difference between life and death for many Virginians.
Residents and physicians expressed their concerns about cuts proposed in the Ryan budget, which Rep. Cantor voted for earlier this year and the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” legislation, which he voted for this week. Despite the fact that the Cut, Cap and Balance Act was rejected by the Senate, a vote in favor of the act is an endorsement of draconian cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and a politically motivated diversion from serious debt talks.
Candace Graham, a constituent of Rep. Cantor’s and member of the Virginia Organizing Budget and Revenue Committee, came out in intense heat to the event because health care cuts would have a dire effect on her family.
“My elderly parents live with me and I see first hand just how much they rely on Medicare. I think that my Congressman is out of touch with what his constituents want. The vast majority of Rep. Cantor’s constituents do not want to see cuts to Medicare and Medicaid,” said Graham. “People want an end to the Bush tax cuts. We want shared sacrifice for the wealthy and corporations. And we do not support Rep. Cantor’s attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, the disabled and the elderly,” added Graham.
Dr. J. Rayfield Vines, State President of the NAACP and constituent of Rep. Cantor’s was on hand to call on Congressman Cantor to legislate with human decency.
“These health care cuts are an example of the ‘haves’ not having enough compassion for the ‘have nots.’ Those that have never gone without health insurance are not considering the dire impact these cuts will have on those who rely on Medicaid and Medicare,” said Vines. “Many politicians in Washington are grandstanding right now and they have sold us a bill of goods. They think it sounds great to say that they are against raising taxes but they fail to acknowledge that we need revenue to have good services and a society that works,” added Vines.
Dr. Chris Lillis, statewide director of the national advocacy group, Doctors for America delivered a petition signed by 1550 physicians to Rep. Cantor’s staff.
“Rep. Cantor’s support of cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in the name of trying to improve our nations fiscal health is misguided,” said Lillis. “As a physician these cuts will impair my ability to deliver necessary medical care for those who need it the most. Not only will this harm the actual health of Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries but it will create newly uninsured Americans, raising health care costs for all of us. Cantor’s plan is a lose-lose situation for patients and physicians alike.”
The following petition was delivered to Rep. Cantor’s Glen Allen Office:
July 22, 2011
The Honorable Eric Cantor
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Cantor:
As physicians and physicians in training, we call upon Congress to reject the drastic cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in the budget proposal recently passed by the House of Representatives. We believe the approach to these programs should be one of innovation – not the current drastic cuts which amount to an amputation of both programs.
Medicare and Medicaid protect the health of 1 in 3 Americans. For decades, these programs have provided access to care for millions of seniors, children, and the disabled who otherwise could not afford medical care. With the House-passed budget plan: Medicare changes would cause seniors and the disabled to have to pay an increasing amount out of their fixed incomes. Millions of seniors would find themselves unable to afford the care they need to stay healthy and out of the hospital.
Medicaid changes would cause states to make stark cuts in services. Millions of
children and working families would find themselves with no way to see a
doctor when they need one. As doctors who handle life and death situations every day, we know our health care system can both cut costs and improve quality while still providing Americans with the health care they need.
We are committed to ensuring that we as a nation can reach that goal. We ask you to reject the recent budget proposal and the devastating effect it would have on millions. Instead, we ask you to commit to working with us: innovate, don’t amputate Medicare and Medicaid.