Saturday, June 23, 2012

Speak Up, Be Heard

Surprise, politicians do read their mail; and, care what people have to say. I wrote to Senator Mike Brubaker, on the PA budget committee, concerning the upcoming budget proposal. In the proposed budget, monies for the elderly, poor, disabled and mental health/mental retardation (MH/MR) were slated to be cut. 

In my letter to my PA state senator, I let him know how I've seen the proposed types of cuts affect patients I have cared for over the year. I told him of actual cases (w/out names, of course). I let him know how closing the state hospitals had caused ripple effects such as causing homelessness and increased health care costs...I made the connections for him between not being able to afford medications or preventative care can increased medical costs for the tax payer in the end. Then I told him about myself and my experience with medications. I told him that when my my husband was out of work, there were medications I couldn't afford. It was either eat or put up with the pain and hardly be able to walk, or take the medication. I told him that I have seen the issue from the side of a health care provider and that as a recipient. I told him if I had to rely on my social security check alone, it wouldn't even cover my medications and my doctor visits per month. There would be no money for housing or food. I told him that it seemed to me that politicians seem to take money from those that don't have a voice to speak out for themselves. I may not be able to work, but I still have a voice. I stated perhaps cuts should should come from perks like the cars or the limos government employees use, etc... That was about six weeks ago.  

I almost dropped my cell -phone into my ice tea when I was called by the Senator's office, earlier this week. Apparently my letter had been very helpful to the Senator Brubaker. I was told letters that give examples help government officials so much more than just signatures on a page or a form that is filled out. Letters put a face on the problem; it makes making the budget more about people than a numbers crunching game.  

I was given an update on the new proposed budget. Monies for those that can't speak for themselves have been put back into the budget. This new budget has passed the House; now it is up for a vote in the Senate.

Speak Up, Be Heard

*both pictures are in the public domain

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