Medicaid Should Be A Right For All

An open letter to Assemblyman Goodell, Senator Young, Rep. Reed, Senator Gillibrand, Senator Schumer, and all members of Congress:

We celebrate the Fourth of July, thus agreeing to the Declaration of Independence’s statement that we have inalienable rights. That means that our rights cannot be taken from us and given to another. One of those rights is life, which would include the care of that life, such as health care.

The Constitution of the United States, which all elected officials promise to uphold, declares that we the people will provide for the general welfare. The welfare of all of us depends on having health care.

One way we provide for the general welfare is Medicaid and Medicare — health care for the people who can’t afford health care (low-income seniors, families, pregnant women, families, people who are disabled) and health care for the elderly. When the law was signed on July 30, 1965, we as a nation said that health care is a right, a right that cannot be taken away from any one of us. It is inalienable.

Therefore, I call on all our elected leaders to immediately declare that Medicaid is a right that cannot be taken away from a person for any reason accept having enough money to pay for health insurance. No person sanctioned for failure to be at an appointment at Social Services can have Medicaid taken from them. It is against the law, it is against the Constitution, it is against our agreement that we have the inalienable right to life. Any reason that takes a person off of Medicaid (again, except for wealth) goes against the Medicaid law. When a person qualifies for Medicaid due to their sickness, family situation, poorly paid job that does not offer health benefits, the purpose of the Medicaid law is to give that person health care because it is their inalienable right. Thus, any sanction, any “except if the person fails to meet other requirements, work requirements, job search,” is against the Medicaid law. No person who qualifies for Medicaid should have it taken from them. Any administrative requirement added by Social Services, by a state, by Congress itself, that takes away Medicaid from a person goes against the Medicaid law, and against the Constitution.

When a person applies for cash assistance, their Medicaid status gets entangled with cash assistance to become one case. So if a person fails to fulfill some requirement demanded by Social Services and they are sanctioned, that sanction also takes away their Medicaid. But if the law states that person qualified for Medicaid, then the sanction breaks the law. It goes against the Medicaid law. This is not an exception, as in, “You qualify, except if ….” The only exception is when a person has enough income to pay for health insurance. Any other “exception” takes away a person’s right to life, to their “general welfare.” But since our right to life in inalienable, then taking away a person’s health care is to break the Medicaid law.

What sense does it make if a person has a disease that prevents them from working, that prevents them from making job searches or making appointments, that they have Medicaid taken from them even though they are dealing with a disease? And yet the Department of Health (ironic) and Human Services does just that. It takes away Medicaid from people who are sick and have no money or income. What happened to following the principle of an inalienable right? What happened to providing for the general welfare? What happened to obeying the Medicaid law?

Again, Medicaid is a right. Thus, any reason used to take away Medicaid from a person that is not based on their income is illegal. Declare this, elected leaders, and take care of the people of this country.

Pastor Timothy Hoyer is a Jamestown resident.