God's Politics

God's Politics

A Mother’s Call to Action /by Adam Taylor/

We are approaching the 11th hour in the fight to expand health care for our nation’s most vulnerable children. During the last year Sojourners has been working with you to move three legislative priorities: immigration reform, the Farm Bill, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Of these three priorities, SCHIP represents our greatest hope for a legislative win this year, with a bill recently passed by the Senate and House expanding SCHIP funding and coverage—one that will have a profound impact on the welfare of our children. President Bush has threatened to veto any expansion of SCHIP, however, based on the misleading argument that it would encourage children already on private health care to shift to public care.

Nothing speaks more persuasively to this shortsighted leadership than the testimony of those directly affected. Susan Molina is a courageous mother and leader in our partner organization PICO, which has been leading a grassroots campaign to extend SCHIP coverage to all children in need. She offered this testimony earlier this year to the House Energy and Commerce committee.


We pray that her story will inspire you to take action. If you’re a clergy person, we urge you to sign on to PICO’s petitions to Congress and President Bush. If not, please send a message to your pastor asking him or her to do so.

—Adam Taylor is director of campaigns and organizing for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.

I am here as a mother to speak on behalf of my two children, Bernadette (age 14) and Joseph (age 10). I am also speaking for the tens of thousands of parents in the PICO network who lack coverage for their children.

Almost all uninsured children (83%) live in families where at least one parent works. I am a single mom who works. I am uninsured. … I was married at the age of 17 and I had two children. My husband was a very abusive man who walked out on us when my oldest was 5. I worked very hard so that I would not become a burden to my parents. Sometimes I worked two jobs. … I say all that to say this: As a single mother who has worked to be where I am now, it’s hard to know that my kids don’t have health care. Somehow we are punished for bettering our lives.

When my daughter was 4 she needed a lot of dental work. I was working two part-time jobs that paid $8-9 an hour and none of us had health coverage. I remember going to the welfare department and asking to enroll in Medicaid. I told them I did not need welfare or food stamps or anything else, just help with the dental work that my daughter needed. After I did the paperwork the caseworker told me I didn’t qualify unless I quit one of my jobs or had another baby.

When SCHIP became available, I was able to enroll my children in the Colorado Child Health Plus Plan and get my children health coverage. And like most kids, they needed it. While they were on SCHIP, both my children sprained their ankles, my son broke his arm, and my daughter had a bad burn. Both received good care that kept them from any permanent harm and allowed them to go back to school and allowed me to go back to work. I was not worried about how much these accidents were going to put us in debt. I just knew they were going to get the care they needed.

All that changed when we lost our coverage in September, because my new job paid slightly above the 200 percent [of the poverty level] cutoff to qualify for SCHIP in Colorado.

We talk about 9 million uninsured children. Behind these numbers are real children who go to school, have accidents, and get sick. And real parents like me, who work hard to meet their families’ needs.

When insurance prices are outrageously high, as a parent I have to decide whether to put food on the table or buy health insurance. I cannot afford to pay the hundreds of dollars each month that it would cost me to buy health insurance for my children.

I worry that when my children, God forbid, have an accident or get sick I will not have the means to pay for the medical attention they need.

Both of my kids were home sick last week for a number of days. The first night I felt very sad that I couldn’t just take my son to the doctor because we don’t have health insurance anymore. He was running a fever, and as I drove to the store to buy him some medicine, I began to cry. I felt like a failure. My kids needed something I couldn’t provide. As a parent you work to make sure they have what they need. I went into the store and picked up the generic brand of chest rub and some Motrin for the fever. As I got back into the car I felt the need to tell someone that of course I would take my children to the doctor if I felt it was an emergency. I wouldn’t care if I had to pay hundreds of dollars later.

I called my friend and told her. She just heard me cry for a while, and she said that it was important that I tell this in my story so that you would know that parents go through this helpless feeling every day. She was right, and I hope you do. … Thank you for the opportunity to tell you one parent’s story, on behalf of millions of parents throughout our country.

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posted August 30, 2007 at 4:19 pm

“President Bush has threatened to veto any expansion of SCHIP, however, based on the misleading argument that it would encourage children already on private health care to shift to public care.”
Help me out. The President advocates a 5 billion dollar annual increase in the program. How does this translate into no expansion in the SOJO world.

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Iris Alantiel

posted August 31, 2007 at 10:04 am

That bit about the welfare is great: “we can’t give you any assistance, so instead we’re going to punish you for being a productive member of society. Come talk to me once you’ve learned to shirk your responsibilities a little more.”
If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was fiction.

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Larry Steinbrecher

posted September 9, 2007 at 10:07 pm

Well I’ll tell you a horror story about this medical system. I have spent my whole life working as a horse for milionaires. I have 35 years of hard labor, including a stretch in the Navy for which I was paid virtually nothing. I was a volunter. I raised 6 of my own children and 3 foster children.I was a hard, faithfull worker, well worth the money I EARNED!Nowthatan old man ,I am 65, the medical community is closing in on everything I worked for my entire life. Whch is basically nothing.
I just watched as a friend opened a letter from the doctors office advising her that her share of the bill for a shot she got in her elbow for pain was $750.00. Her insurance is $350.00 a month but dosen’t pay for anything till she spends $1500.00 of her own money in a year. The shot cost $1,200.00. If the thing had cost $120.00 it would have been robery. But $1,200.00? This is rediculous! I am mad enough about this thing that has happened to her to finally get active. I am not putting up with this shit anymore. The only way is through politics. We have to take this country back. I never thought this countrry would wind up in such a low, immoral position. We have let greedy people take over the rule of this country. Do we deserve any different? I suggest to those that read this to band together and set things right again. SOCIALIZED MEDICINE is the only answer. THE ONLY ANSWER. Kids without medical care? What a disgrace. Old people without medical care(unless you give up your house). I remember when I was a kid and we used to make fun of Mexico because of its unchecked corruption. Now look at us!!!
The reason I wrote in this blog is because I believe that Jersus Christ Christians are the only chance that this country has. People that know about the story of “the sheep and the goats” and take it serious. Pardon for the misspells. I couldn’t figure out how to delete and change thinge and wound up with a mess.

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