Local 1991 Member Blasts Ryan Budget Proposal

Commentary originally posted at seiu.org.

Denise-Glass-RN-Local-1991By Denise Glass, RN, SEIU Local 1991

When Congressman Paul Ryan announced that he would again be proposing a budget he believed would help address the real problems that the country faces, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I believed he had to have learned his lesson when the American people resoundingly rejected the Romney-Ryan plan last November.

I could not have been more wrong.

What America saw with Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for the Future” was a repeat trip down the expressway to cutting Medicare and Medicaid and another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act–while giving tax breaks to corporations. This budget does nothing to help the most vulnerable people in our society and furthermore, it hurts the middle class.

I am a nurse at Jackson Memorial in Miami, Florida; working in a public hospital where 21% of our patients are uninsured. Florida has over  four million uninsured residents, many of whom would be eligible for coverage under the expansion of Medicaid services in the Affordable Care Act.  I want Congressman Ryan to see the faces of the patients, not just the dollar signs in his budget.

If he did, I think his priorities would change.

If he could talk to patients like the young man I saw last week in the emergency room complaining of testicular pain, for example…While receiving his physical exam, the young man was asked why he had waited so long to come in to seek care. His exam revealed that he had a large painful mass which had been growing for 9 months. The young man, embarrassed by what the doctor had found, said:

“Can I be honest with you? I don’t have any money. But I can’t stand this anymore, I can barely walk it hurts so bad. Everybody told me I need to go the hospital but I don’t have any money and I don’t know what they are going to say. I got my wife and kids and I work, but you know I just don’t have more money for the hospital. And I need to go back to work. Can you just do something so I can go to work?”

Patients who come through the emergency room in the same nature this young man did end up having medical bills that are five times greater. Not to mention the amount of medical care required when a disease process has advanced so beyond basic medical care.

Healthcare is not a commodity that only the rich should be able to afford. Congressman Ryan’s budget hurts those that are already hurting and that is not only not good for my patients–it is not good for America.

If Congressman Ryan and his Republican extremists knew the names of the people in their communities that rely on these services and if they could see the faces of the people — their neighbors, families and friends, they would not be so quick to cut, cut and cut.

Let’s help Rep. Ryan and his legislative colleagues understand all they would be taking away from Americans who need care the most with their budget cuts. Send a message to your members of Congress to tell them that the Ryan budget is *not* the prescription for relief America needs.

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