Van Hollen is right about Medicaid, and we're lucky to have him

July 29, 2011

Thank you to Congressman Chris Van Hollen for his recent article on the devastating impact of federal cuts to the Medicaid program. ("Medicaid Cuts would hurts us all," July 25.) Maryland's Medicaid program supports seniors in nursing homes, the disabled, as well as pregnant women and children below or near the poverty level. Investments in pregnant women and young children are prevention at its finest and the kind of cost effective health care expenditures that bear the most promise in reducing our country's high health care expenditures, while providing health care for our most vulnerable citizens.

Medicaid increases access to presentative services, which take the burden off of expensive emergency services. Medicaid provides long term care services for seniors, prenatal care and immunizations and help to the disabled, but in these tough economic times, as Congressman Van Hollen noted, Medicaid creates jobs for thousands of Marylanders and pumps millions in business activity into our economy.

Everyone agrees our country must tighten its belt. We are making choices now as a country, whether to balance our budget on the backs of seniors, young children and the disabled or to ask our wealthiest citizens to pay their fair share. Congressman Van Hollen, our president and the Democratic Party have made their position clear — deficit reduction should include cuts to spending, as well as revenue increases from those that can afford their fair share, those who have enjoyed tax loopholes since the Bush tax breaks.

Robert Erlandson ("Van Hollen shows why it's hard to reduce the deficit," Readers Respond, July 26) charges Congressman Van Hollen with having no proposals in his article to bring the deficit down. Congressman Van Hollen's article is entitled:" Medicaid cuts would hurt us all," not "My proposals to cut the deficit." As ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Congressman Van Hollen's proposals and thoughts on how to reduce the deficit are easily researched.

In Maryland we must have a balanced budget, and we must meet spending affordability guidelines. We meet these goals because our legislators sit in hearings that last all day, day after day, learning how Maryland spends its treasure, and what way is the most cost effective use of our funds. Sometimes spending more in one place saves millions somewhere else. Those hours in legislative hearings don't lend themselves to the 30 second sound bite that Americans have come to expect, so we all need to work a little harder educating ourselves on the issues. Legislators who come to the job with ideological chips on their shoulder, like the freshman class in our current Congress, can't hear what is being said, and apparently can't compromise.

I have known Congressman Chris Van Hollen for many years, working with him during his 12 years in Annapolis on many issues involving children. We have in Congressman Van Hollen a leader willing to make tough but fair choices to reduce deficits. I know because I saw him do that in Annapolis. The Washington Post called him "one of the most effective members of the Maryland Legislature." He is smart, well educated, eager to learn more about an issue, open to others' ideas, quick to do the math in his head, and from my point a view a reliable advocate for children. He is an experienced legislator — he knows how to hear both sides of an issue, where to dig for facts, whom to trust to give him accurate information, and how and where to compromise. Maryland is darn lucky to have him representing us in Congress.

Bobbi Seabolt, Lutherville

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.