To The Daily Sun,
Who pays attention to and is responsible for those in need?
First, a definition of need is required. Life and the continuation of it, must have basic elements present. Health is the primary status all must achieve from birth. Parents have the responsibility for the first few years. For various reasons not all children are born into ideal conditions. Throughout history governments or charitable organizations have made attempts to compensate for lack of parental care. Charities are still trying to help but governments seem less inclined to provide health care for the needy, especially the children of the poor.
Housing is another basic need. About one in 10 people are either homeless or live in a substandard domicile. Many of those who can least afford housing live in high-rent inner city locations. The two needs of health care and housing are closely related. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Health and Human Services (HHS) are not as coordinated as they could be.
The Affordable Care Act exposed the problem by extending Medicaid to more of those most needy. Now there is a pulling back from the efforts
to furnish a unified wellness program for all. Now that the Republican conservatives are setting the agenda, money is being redirected to fund tax cuts promised to their supporters during the past election cycle. The problem of caring for the poor is still there however, they are just choosing to ignore it. It's obviously not a good long-term strategy. State agencies, already suffering from inadequate funding, are going to be told to deal with the problem with less federal help.
Seniors have already been through this contest of wills. Obviously most seniors are no longer employed so they need a guaranteed program. In most cases that is Medicare as well as prescription drug coverage provided under part D of Medicare. Both require a monthly premium. Some also enroll in a supplemental insurance plan to cover the 20 percent not covered by Medicare. Some say the current republican health care revisions will impact this part of senior coverage negatively.
Food and the lack of it is the companion piece of the housing and health care issues. Meals-on-wheels and school lunch programs are two of the most common as well as effective ways of providing needed sustenance to the young and elderly. In addition, the indigent poor adults are served by soup kitchens maintained by churches and fraternal organizations. Food banks also fill a need. Most of these programs depend on government involvement in distributing agricultural surpluses. From first hand experience, I can tell you that supplies are not flowing in fast enough to satisfy the needs.
In closing, I will attempt to restate the question posed above. Who needs to pay attention and be responsible? Answer: We all do! Our elected legislators must no lose sight of the fact that caring for and paying attention to the requirements of those in need is their duty not their choice.
- Written by Mike Mortensen
- Category: Letters
- Hits: 271