The Akron Canton Medicaid Coalition has been in existence since January 2013 and is comprised of individuals, community organizations, businesses, health-care providers, insurers, medical professionals, philanthropic and religious organizations and consumer groups.
As co-chairs, we are advocating, alongside six other coalitions in Ohio, to help the working poor and other special populations gain access to health-care coverage through Medicaid. Many of the working poor are taxpayers and would qualify for Medicaid if Ohio legislators change the eligibility rules. In fact, more than 50 percent of the population that would be eligible for coverage is employed.
We have been meeting with legislators for months to express the human and financial implications of Medicaid expansion. We were disappointed when the state budget was passed without a line item dedicated to expansion.
Our spirits were renewed when legislators committed to taking time over the summer months to explore legislative solutions to advance Medicaid reform and chart a path to health-care coverage for the working poor, mentally ill and veterans.
We were expecting a proposal to surface by mid-August, but legislators have since moved the timetable to October.
Our coalition prefers lawmakers meet sooner than October to tackle one of the most significant health and economic policy issues of our time. Individuals, businesses and hospitals will face significant consequences if expansion is not adopted in Ohio.
Uninsured individuals will continue to experience premature death and disability without access to Medicaid. Businesses will face penalties if their lower-income employees access coverage through the health insurance marketplace, scheduled to go live by January 2014.
Hospitals will likely adjust their services and jobs structure to remain viable. Legislators are aware of these realities and have responded by scheduling a series of meetings to further study the Medicaid program.
While we appreciate the meetings, there comes a time when leaders should act, particularly when an opportunity comes with a defined timeline. We challenge our legislators to move forward with expansion.
By doing so, our leadership will demonstrate its appreciation to those who serve Ohioans and our country. These individuals would finally have an opportunity to access health-care coverage to stay well and provide valuable service to others.
Through their work, they demonstrate a love to serve others. On this Labor Day, let us show them some love and support as they support us.
Tracy L. Carter
Put domestic priorities first
It appears that our government, once again, is planning to interfere in an internal conflict in another country, by launching millions of dollars of cruise missiles into Syria.
The result would be a great deal of destruction and death to Syrian military people who never have attacked us and are only doing their duty to their country and following orders, just as our soldiers do.
And, without question, some of our “smart” bombs will miss the intended target and kill innocent civilian women, men and children. In addition, this conflict could be expanded because Russia and other countries support the current Syrian regime.
This is a diversion from the myriad of domestic problems that our government would like us all to forget. Among these many issues are unemployment, poverty, crime, crumbling infrastructure, health-care costs and our failing education system.
When will our “public servants” start serving the American people who pay their salaries?
An independent council voice
I am responding to the writer who severely criticized Bruce Kilby’s lack of accomplishments on the Akron City Council (“Questions for a councilman,” Aug. 25).
I guess the fact that the entire council simply says “yes” to His Honor’s wishes (except for Kilby and Mike Williams) doesn’t count.
Could that possibly explain Kilby and Williams’ difficulty in getting anything through if the mayor doesn’t want it, worthwhile or not?
I have known Kilby for more than 20 years and can attest to his commitment to the people of Akron and, most especially, to his ward. In fact, he had become so popular in his ward that the higher-ups simply re-arranged things so that he was virtually drawn out of it.
Thus, he chose to run for City Council at-large, along with Williams, who is running for re-election. I wish them both success.
City councils are very important in making sure citizens are served well and protected from excesses. For that reason, I urge a vote for Bruce Kilby and Mike Williams on Sept. 10.
Decision for the family
I am responding to the Aug. 29 story about an appeals court ordering treatment for a 10-year-old Amish girl for cancer (“Judge’s ruling is reversed in Amish girl’s case”).
This truly makes me sick. Shame on Akron Children’s Hospital and staff. I had the privilege of meeting the Hershberger family at Children’s, where I worked at the visitor’s desk, and I can honestly say they are far from unfit. These are loving, compassionate people whose precious time to spend with their daughter is being wasted in court.
When family members brought the girl to the hospital, they basically hired it to care for her. When they decided they were not happy with the way treatments were affecting her, they decided on another method (basically, firing the hospital).
Why is the hospital making this family’s life a living hell? Don’t you think that their child being sick is enough? Only a parent truly knows his or her child and what will help. Not everything is by the textbook.
The hospital staff and legal team should be ashamed. Maybe if their hearts were as big as their egos, they would leave these people alone and let them spend what time they have left with their precious daughter.