Today, I had the opportunity to attend a short news conference about Medicaid sponsored by Families America, the American Lung Association, the American Diabetes Association and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network at the National Press Club. While I simply went to listen and take notes, I really noticed how passionate each of these high-level individuals were about making healthcare affordable and accessible to all Americans. From a PR standpoint, the underlying lesson that I took away was that this needs to be adequately communicated to the country in order to have the necessary effect. Each of the organizations represented spoke briefly about the importance of the Medicaid program to the millions of uninsured people in our country that have illnesses like cancer, chronic lung disease, diabetes and heart disease.
I found the information presented very important and astonishing. Each of the groups stated their case on why Congress should reconsider cutting the Medicaid program from the overall federal budget. This morning, the organizations collectively released reports on four of the largest states in the U.S. with the most recipients of Medicaid: Illinois, Texas, California, and New York.
Charles D. Connor, the president and CEO of the American Lung Association made an interesting analogy of the number of people who are on Medicaid with cancer, diabetes, chronic lung disease or heart disease in the state of Illinois: stating that they all could fit in Soldier Field, Wrigley Field, Comiskey Park, and the United Center (that’s a grand total of 628,670, for you mathematicians out there.)
To put this all in perspective, there are 12 individuals (uniquely named the “Super Committee”) that have the power of supporting or opposing a bill that gets sent to the Senate floor, with an end decision that will be made in the next several weeks. President Obama and the White House will be making a very important announcement regarding their position on this issue. Now you may think, Medicaid only affects old people —this is NOT TRUE! Medicaid gives millions of men, women and children in low income communities who don’t have access to health insurance the chance to get treatment for their illnesses. And with the way things are going on The Hill, the decisions that will be made can and will have a major impact on us all.
For more information on Healthcare Reform, check out http://www.healthcare.gov/