>From Family Voices .....
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Begin forwarded message:
From: "Brooke Lehmann, MSW, Esq."
Another busy week here in D.C. as law makers continue to debate the nation's debt limit/deficit reduction plans. As was true last week, and for several weeks before that, Medicaid remains on the table as a program that could be cut in order to help Congress and the Administration strike a deal before the August 2nd deadline. However, we have seen some change in the Administration's talking points this week- and last- and hope that our efforts through our "Medicaid Matters" campaign are helping to make a difference.
As of this mornings new conference (President Obama's) it seems as though much remains the same. The President has put the ball back in the court of Congress at this point and is hoping that both chambers will use the weekend to come to some agreement. That being said, the Senate is continuing to work through their "Plan B" approach which Senator McConnell floated earlier this week and seems to be getting a bit of traction given the impasse that exists regarding the other proposed packages (from CQ about McConnell's plan- Obama gets to borrow what's needed to finance the government until 2013 but fellow Democrats in Congress have to cast at least three politically painful votes to support him — along with some binding limits for the next 10 years of discretionary spending (designed to save about $1 trillion) and the creation of one or maybe even two special military-base-closing-like panels that would propose tax and entitlement changes that Congress could adopt or reject but not amend.). The House continues to hold their line around revenue (tax) increases and in the meantime, is hoping to bring a vote on a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget sometime next week. What that vote does to the on-going debate remains a question.
In the meantime, our efforts to preserve Medicaid must continue because until votes are taken on a final package, this program remains in jeopardy. To that end, we need to ensure that our voices continue to be heard! The stories that we have been receiving over the last few weeks as to why medicaid matters have been remarkable and we appreciate everyone who has taken the time to share their family's story. Now we need to ensure that those stories are getting in the hands of our law makers! Those F2Fs/SAOs that have been receiving stories directly from their own network, we hope that you have been passing them along to your federal delegation members and we would love to hear how the communication has worked and what you are hearing back. For those F2Fs/SAOs whose network members have chosen to use the FV website to share their story, we are currently working on a way to get the stories to you for you to distribute.
Another tool that can be used to communicate with your members of congress regarding the importance of Medicaid is the paper that was released earlier this week by Georgetown's Center for Children and Families--"Medicaid and it's Role with Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs: a Family Perspective" (http://ccf.georgetown.edu//index/medicaid-children-and-youth-with-specia...). We encourage everyone to circulate this paper widely and to use it in your talking points as we work through this debate. The paper highlights several families from the FV network and provides a wonderful depiction of what life with/and without Medicaid looks like for these children and families.
Related to this paper is a blog that CCF maintains and they are asking for additional entries to the blog and for us to share the blog through our facebook pages, etc. The blog can be found at this address http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joan-alker or by going to the Huffington Post's website. Additionally, CCF has their own blog on their website (http://ccf.georgetown.edu) which we would also encourage you to visit and add your comments to. Finally on the blog front, for those of you who have not yet seen Laura Rogers blog (daughter of Rylin Rodgers of FV Indiana)- you are missing out! You can find it at http://lauramitolife.blogspot.com/2011/07/another-interruption-update-on... and her mothers blog for Mom's Rising at http://www.momsrising.org/blog/11393/.
Finally, we are working to put a call together for our F2Fs/SAOs next week and will have Kareem Dale from the White House on the line with us. The purpose of the call will be to get an update on the current discussions regarding the debt limit and its impact on Medicaid and also to discuss with Kareem our outreach activities. We will send more information on this as soon as we have something to share so please be on the lookout for and email referencing a call with the White House in your inboxes.
I think that's it for now. We will certainly keep you posted on any new developments from Washington over the weekend and into next week. Thanks again for all of your efforts to combat the proposed Medicaid cuts and please know that your efforts are making a difference!
Brooke and Janis
Brooke Lehmann, MSW, Esq.