Medicaid plan helps families stay togetherBoth your recent...

the Forum

August 30, 1993

Medicaid plan helps families stay together

Both your recent article (Aug. 12) and editorial (Aug. 15) missed part of how Maryland's latest Medicaid waiver can save the taxpayers money while generally being pro-family.

Right now, a mother on welfare but striving to become self-supporting has a tough time finding a job, affordable child care, transportation to work, etc.

But suppose she finds a job, and these other necessities. Then, she finds out she'll lose the Medicaid benefits she gets for her child (or children).

Suppose her child has asthma or chronic ear infections or even just the normal run of childhood problems. What is a caring mother to do? In many cases she has had virtually no choice.

With this new program, perhaps she can decide to work instead of staying on welfare. The dollars paid out in this case under the Medicaid waiver shouldn't be charged against this new program (they would have been paid out anyway), the welfare dollars saved should be a credit.

Eventually she may acquire the skills and experience to qualify for the type of job that has health benefits or pays enough that she can make other arrangements, and she may get out of the welfare system altogether. How many programs significantly improve a welfare recipient's chance of that?

There is also anecdotal evidence of fathers with low-paying jobs moving out so that their children will qualify for medical benefits that they can't afford to provide. This is a sacrifice and act of love in cases where health care is desperately needed.

Now perhaps Dad can move home and provide a role model and discipline that will help his children prosper in adulthood -- without jeopardizing their chance to get there.

Again, these are Medicaid dollars that would be spent anyway, and for some families this could be a way to help "break the cycle."

I hope this program will be aggressively promoted to those currently receiving benefits.

If it is successful in achieving these kinds of results, I hope it can be expanded to provide support to more families who don't wish to be completely supported by the government, but who will do what they must to adequately protect their children's health.

Lauren Sheriff

Aberdeen

King no hero

It is amazing that any newspaper would allot so much space to letters criticizing the "too light" sentences given Sgt. Stacey Koon and Officer Laurence Powell in the controversial, so-called civil rights hearing arising from the Rodney King incident.

To begin with, too much emphasis was placed on the beating segment of the tape, which was deliberately overplayed by a news media notorious for its sensationalism, but which cunningly downplayed the very beginning, pertinent confrontation in the incident.

Evidently the news media condones Mr. King's criminal behavior, for which he should have been imprisoned, instead of being made to appear the "poor mistreated hero".

Furthermore, the Justice Department had no business interfering the matter. But then, after what they allowed to happen at Waco, what else could one expect of any corrupt government agency?

Our justice system is in a desperate need of overhauling, and the sooner, the better.

David E. Roch

Baltimore

A kind stranger

Today I had one of those special experiences that shatters stereotypes, surprises the soul and makes the day glow.

As I attempted to get change for a dollar to ride the light rail in

front of the Baltimore Arena, the machine was not functioning and would not take my dollar, and I was short on change.

There was no way I was going to risk missing the train after a long day at work to go off in search of change for a dollar. I'd just have to risk riding the train without a ticket.

A young black male was hanging around the ticket machines, watching me. I wasn't terrified, as I would have been had it been dark and he and I the only ones there, but I was anxious. What does he want? Why is he staying so close? Will he try to steal my money?

"Let me try that," he said, practically snatching my dollar away. I worried, is he going to take it and run? But no, he simply tried my dollar, couldn't get the machine to work either, and gave me change for a dollar!

But I still didn't have enough change for the train. "Do you have the extra 25 cents?" he asked. "Do you need a transfer?" Why is he bothering me so, prying into my affairs? Is he going to follow me home, cause me harm? Should I answer him at all or ignore him and hope he'll go away?

Not sure how to answer, I admitted I was 15 cents short.

"Here, take this." He gave me 15 cents without a second thought, wished me a nice day and went on his merry way with a wave and a warm smile.

bTC And for the first time in all the times that I have ever ridden the light rail, a transit officer came on board asking to see our tickets. Which I would not have had without the friendliness and generosity of a stranger whom I was ready to distrust and fear.

ancy S. Spritz

Baltimore

Child welfare

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