I was four when mom fell and cut her leg while gardening. After that, she had trouble walking. What I didn’t understand at the time was that rheumatoid arthritis had been slowly creeping into her joints for years. She was on her way to becoming bedridden.
Thus I began learning my way around the kitchen at age five. When I started school a year later, it was my responsibility to walk the two blocks home during lunch period and prepare a meal for mom.
My father provided the great bulk of physical care for her for 12 years until mom died. Only after she became totally bedridden did he secure the services of a visiting nurse for a couple hours each work day.
While it was an honor to help care for mom, I’d be the first to tell you it really put a crimp on family and social life. Many families would be physically and emotionally ill-equipped to deal with this. Today there are many fine care facilities and services that can assist families in such circumstances.
For those with limited incomes or who have exhausted their financial resources in paying for these long-term care services, Medicaid steps in to fund this important care. Indeed this is the single largest use of Medicaid. Without Medicaid (and Medicare for that matter), many millions of families and their loved ones would be left in dire straits.
Compassion and care for less fortunate people of all ages reflect the best human values. Many things in life can never be fair. But access to health care is one place where the best of human values should shine bright.
Rural towns across America struggle with access to health care. Many of you have rendered a strong voice on this issue. We back you up completely. Rural friends, family, and neighbors shouldn’t be neglected in their times of need.
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