We’re marching for healthcare here in Aberdeen Friday (5 p.m., outside the Ward, Main St. and South 1st Ave.!).
Among the reasons we’re marching is to oppose the $880 billion that Rep. Kristi Noem voted to cut from Medicaid, cuts which would devastate the working poor, elderly, disabled, and children. Medicaid covers 44% of children with special health care needs.
Noem’s cuts to Medicaid aren’t just bad for children’s health now. Noem’s cuts are bad for our economic and fiscal health in the future:
To many, health coverage for children seems like a bipartisan no-brainer. Research increasingly shows the economic benefit of investing in children’s health early. The government recoups much of its investment in Medicaid for children over time in the form of higher future tax payments, a 2015 study published by the non partisan National Bureau of Economic Research found.
Children who had been on Medicaid also collect less in the Earned Income Tax Credit and the women who were on Medicaid earn more money by the time they are 28. Children who were eligible for Medicaid also live longer and are more likely to go to college, the report found.
“From a cost-benefit perspective, investments in children have enormous payoffs,” says John Graham, who was rule-making chief at the Office of Management and Budget in the George W. Bush administration. “But children don’t vote and are not politically organized, so it’s not as easy to defend their interests in the political process as it is for senior citizens” [Jayne O’Donnell and Ken Alltucker, “Obamacare Replacement Threatens Kids’ Health Coverage,” USA Today, 2017.05.13].
Noem is on break right now, but she has scheduled no town halls to hear voters’ concerns about health care policy or explain why she thinks taking health coverage away from millions of low-income kids is good for kids, the economy, or the budget. She’s headed back to Washington this week, but perhaps she’ll at least send some staff to Aberdeen to take notes on what participants in the March for Healthcare want for Medicaid and broader health care policy.