Doctors, others in Va. urge Cantor to rethink Medicaid, Medicare cuts

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A group of doctors and community leaders in Virginia delivered a signed petition to Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), discouraging him from pushing for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as part of his efforts to resolve the federal debt ceiling debate.

Eric Cantor

The group, including members of  Doctors for America and Virginia Organizing delivered the petition, bearing 1,550 signatures, to Cantor’s Glen Allen, Va., office, saying the possible cuts could “mean the difference between life and death for many Virginians.” The group expressed disappointment with the congressman’s unwillingness to negotiate on the debt ceiling unless dramatic cuts are made to the safety net and more tax cuts are given to the wealthy.

Cantor, House majority leader, voted for the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” legislation, which would have cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

The proposed cuts are part of the ongoing battle among Republicans, Democrats and President Barack Obama over the federal budget deficit and the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the federal debt ceiling.

Dr. Chris Lillis, statewide director of the national advocacy group, Doctors for America, delivered a petition signed by 1,550 physicians to Cantor’s staff.

“Rep. Cantor’s support of cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in the name of trying to improve our nations fiscal health is misguided,” said Lillis in a statement.  “As a physician these cuts will impair my ability to deliver necessary medical care for those who need it the most.  Not only will this harm the actual health of Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries but it will create newly uninsured Americans, raising health care costs for all of us. Cantor’s plan is a lose-lose situation for patients and physicians alike.”

If Medicaid spending were cut 5% this year, it would cost Virginia $216 million in federal Medicaid dollars, and put at risk $462 million in business activity and 3,890 jobs, according to a Families USA report.

If Medicaid spending were cut 15% this year, it would cost Virginia $650 million in federal Medicaid dollars, and put at risk more than $1.3 billion in business activity and 11,670 jobs.

If Medicaid spending were cut 33% this year, it would cost Virginia $1.4 billion in federal Medicaid dollars and put at risk more than $3 billion in business activity and 25,680 jobs.

 

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