Mr.President-STOP CUTTING HEALTH CARE NOW
Mr. President in your State of the Union Address (SOTA) just 9 days ago you stated and I quote "Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and elderly and we are meeting that responsibility" Mr. President -Your actions this week strongly belie your words.
The Seattle Times reported yesterday that you signed a measure yesterday that trims Medicaid and Medicare spending over five years, but you said Congress must make bigger changes as baby boomers retire.The bill you signed aims to trim $39 billion out the of budget over five years, partly through small cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and student-loan subsidies.In addition, the budget proposal that you submitted to Congress on Monday for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 seeks to trim Medicare spending by $35.9 billion over five years.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that even the usually favored National Institutes of Health(NIH)-the nation's lead agency in the hunt for the causes, treatments and ways to prevent diseases -didn't get a raise, receiving flat funding of $28.6 billion. Account for inflation, and that's really a cut, argued Dr. Robert Eckel, president of the American Heart Association. In inflation-adjusted terms, Bush's budget would cause a nearly 10 percent drop in spending in medical research since 2003.Some NIH divisions will lose money: $40 million from the National Cancer Institute, and $11 million from the diabetes institute, at a time when Type 2 diabetes is skyrocketing. The NIH this year will spend $8 per American researching heart disease, the nation's leading killer, an amount the heart association decried even before spotting a planned $21 million cut for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Some programs you proposed for elimination are those that families have intensely lobbied Congress to enact:
-Universal newborn hearing screening, a $10 million program that helps states provide those tests for poor families, usually administering them before babies leave the hospital. Detecting hearing loss early helps ensure that babies get appropriate services so they learn and develop properly.
-The largest study of U.S. children ever performed. In January, mothers-to-be were to begin enrolling in the National Children's Study to track 100,000 children from mothers' wombs to age 21 to see how the environment _ everything from mother's diet to toddler TV to pollution influences child health. Scientists hoped the first births in the study would point toward some preventable causes of such problems as premature birth, asthma and autism. Ordered by Congress and supported by both medical groups and the chemical industry, scientists already have spent $60 million in tax dollars preparing the study, with waiting lists of families hoping to participate.But NIH budget documents direct researchers instead to close the program down by year's end.
"This is an affront to America's children. It will really hurt children today and for decades to come," said Dr. Alan Fleischman of the New York Academy of Medicine, who chairs the study's federal advisory committee.
Mr President-The late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (whose wife's funeral you attended this week) said "Of all the forms of inequality,injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane"
Mr. President and Dr. Frist- I know we do not have unlimited resources to spend on health care but you are harming your fellow citizens right now with your actions despite your SOTA speech rhetoric. Most despicable of all are your actions against our nation's innocent children. Yet, Mr. President, I stand ready to help.