Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rallies Across Idaho Protest Proposed Cuts to Medicaid

Posted By on Sat, Feb 19, 2011 at 2:24 PM

An emotional yet peaceful protest filled the steps of Idaho's statehouse today. It was one of 17 rallies across the Gem State railing against possible cuts to Medicaid services.

Nearly 500 men, women and children made their way to the Capitol at noon, many using wheelchairs or walkers. Their message: Medicaid matters, which was the theme of each of the rallies.

"My husband and I think of our daughter's future," said Boise parent Phoebe Smith. "But the real question is, 'Do Idaho leaders think about her future?'" Smith's daughter, Elizabeth, is an eighth grader at Boise's North Junior High. She's also autistic and was one of the speaker's at today's rally.

"I want to go to college," said 14-year-old Elizabeth. "I want to go into medicine someday." The student requires several Medicaid-funded services in order to attend public school and achieve her short-term and long-term goals.

Thirty-year-old Shirleane Abbott told the gathering of her struggles with mental illness, including being homeless and incarcerated. Abbott said her Medicaid-funded psychosocial rehabilitation services led her to a path toward full-time employment, independent living and motherhood.

"There's no place like home," said Abbott, lifting her voice to the crowd. "Say it with me. There's no place like home."



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