We would do anything for our own kids.
The thought of them sick but unable to see a doctor, hungry or homeless is abhorrent to us. We would sooner sacrifice our own needs than see theirs go unmet. We are their protectors, and the commitment to stand up for them is part of our basic identity, as Americans and as human beings.
What about the other kids in our country?
How do you feel about the kid with a sore throat that might be strep, or an ear infection that leaves him screaming all night, or a heart defect that requires surgery, who can’t see a doctor because his Medicaid benefits have been cut or capped? Thirty-three million children—1 in 4 of our nation’s kids—are presently covered by Medicaid. It even protects families with private insurance whose lives are changed in the blink of an eye when their child receives a devastating diagnosis. When insurance benefits are maxed out, it is Medicaid that saves them from financial ruin, or from losing medical care altogether. Would you want the Medicaid budget to be cut or capped, and its benefits limited?
Do you want to once again allow insurance companies to deny coverage for kids with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or cancer?
What about the child experiencing a mental health crisis with nowhere to turn? Twenty-one percent of the kids in our country suffer from a behavioral or mental disorder, such as depression or anxiety. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for kids aged 10 – 19. What if you were forced to deal with the lack of sufficient inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities, or the shrinking number of psychiatrists and psychologists who accept insurance or Medicaid, due to inadequate reimbursement rates? Where would you go, and what would you do?
Put yourself for a moment in the shoes of the parent who is a legal immigrant, faced with the choice proposed by the Department of Homeland Security's draft regulations: use Medicaid, public housing, or food stamps, and you may be denied permanent resident status and the Green Card that allows you to work to support your kids. Is this a fair choice to be forced to make? What would you choose?
If these were your kids, and your family faced any of these problems, at the very least you'd want people running for office to tell you where they stand on these issues--because they'd hit home, the secure home you want and need to provide for your kids.
They're not your kids, so you have the option of looking away. But what if you decided to take a few more kids under your wing? What if you considered all the children in our country as your own children—and considered it your responsibility to vote for legislators who commit to protect them, this constituency that cannot vote?
Do not stay silent. If you care about these issues, raise your voice in the powerful way our democracy provides, on behalf of those who have no voice.
Vote on November 6th to protect our kids.