This is our first diary here at Booman, and we’re very excited about this opportunity to reach out to the Booman community on issues relating to health care.

It may not seem like it, but this is a very special week–not only for progressives but for all Americans as well. On Saturday, July 30, we’ll celebrate the 40th birthday of Medicaid, America’s health care program for the most vulnerable among us. To commemorate the occasion, Families USA has produced a Flash e-card celebrating Medicaid’s accomplishments. At the end if the animation, you’ll have a chance to take action to protect Medicaid from harmful cuts pending in Congress. Follow this link to view the e-card and take action:

More on Medicaid’s birthday after the jump.

Forty years ago this Saturday, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law–with Harry Truman at his side–an amendment to the Social Security Act creating Medicaid and Medicare. Since that day, Medicaid has provided vital health care for millions of people with disabilities, working families, the elderly, children and moms-to-be. Today Medicaid provides health care to 53 million of the most vulnerable Americans.

How big of a difference can Medicaid make in people’s lives? Just consider some examples (PDF):

  • As Medicaid was expanded to cover more pregnant women from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s, the infant mortality rate declined by 8.5 percent.
  • Medicaid expansions during the mid-1980s and early 1990s reduced the child mortality rate by 5.1 percent.
  • Medicaid has even played a large role in homeland security. In the days and weeks following September 11, 2001, Disaster Relief Medicaid (DRM) came to the aid of nearly 350,000 New Yorkers who would otherwise have been without health insurance or access to health care.

Despite its success, some in Congress are proposing drastic cuts to Medicaid that could harm the program beyond repair. This would be a grave mistake. It is precisely during these times of economic uncertainty and rising income inequality that we need to keep Medicaid stronger than ever.

Along with Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid is a vital component of America’s safety net. Medicaid is more than just another government program; it is the most visible sign of America’s resolve to take care of its most vulnerable citizens, regardless of their income or social status. At its core, it is a concrete expression of our values–in America, no one gets left behind. On this historic week, help us celebrate and protect Medicaid:

We look forward to posting more health care diaries here at Booman in the near future.

Luis Hestres

Web Content Associate, Families USA

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