Hurricane Irene served as a stark reminder of how much
families, communities and states rely upon a strong federal government to help
them in their time of need.
* Without NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, how would
families, businesses and communities be able to plan and prepare for the
* Without FEMA, where would people turn to for emergency
* Without the National Disaster Medical System, Medicaid
and CHIP, how would local communities respond to the pressing health care needs
of victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Irene?
* And most importantly, without the help of the federal
government, how many more lives would be lost and how much longer would
communities struggle to meet the needs of their residents?
While these programs cannot bring back loved ones or stop
natural disasters from happening, they can help save lives and offer a strong
helping hand when it is too tough for states, communities and families to go it
Will strong federal programs be there ready to help the
next time an overwhelming natural disaster strikes or during less publicized crises that impact families everyday such as an uninsured child falling ill and needing hospital care? That question will likely
be answered by the “Super Committee“, a special joint committee of Congress
tasked with cutting the deficit by $2.3 trillion over 10 years under the debt
Whether or not Medicaid will continue to be a reliable
friend that is there in our time of need is one of the most critical questions
facing members of the Super Committee. Their decisions will have a far-reaching
impact on those who may need a helping hand to cover important care for a sick
child, assistance to an elderly woman unable to care for herself in her own home or health care coverage for those who lost their jobs in the recession
or due to a natural disaster.
Let’s hope the Super Committee members take to heart a
core principle that has led our country through other tough times: “We’re
Stronger Together”. If they heed that advice, they will surely see the wisdom
in making sure the federal government continues to be a strong partner to the states in helping them meet the needs of their most vulnerable residents through vital programs such as Medicaid.