Thursday, June 30, 2011

EQCA Silent on Medi-Cal,
SSI Cuts to Low-Income Gays

Earlier this month, the Social Security Administration sent me a letter stating my monthly SSI payment was being reduced by 15 percent. The letter said: Your SSI consists of money from the State of California. Your State changed the amount of money it tells us to pay its residents. Therefore, we will decrease your State payment for July 2011 ... and your regular monthly check [will be reduced] ...

Every other person with AIDS or disabled or senior gay person in California receiving SSI benefits received a similar letter, informing them of this decrease. By the way, according to the Associated Press, there has not been a cost of living increase for Social Security beneficiaries since January 2009.

Today's front page of the SF Chronicle, in a story penned by Victoria Colliver, reports that the state budget will have a serious impact on health care services for low-income residents:

The California budget approved Tuesday includes a number of cuts to the state Medi-Cal health program for the poor. They include:

Co-payments: New $5 co-payments for doctor visits and $3 co-payments for prescriptions.

Visit limits: A limit of seven physician visits a year, unless additional visits are certified by a doctor as medically necessary.

Hospital visits: $50 co-payments for emergency room visits and $100 for admission to a hospital (to a maximum of $200). ...

So, here we have two programs that assist thousands of gay seniors and disabled folks and persons living with AIDS in California, about to be cut and negatively impacting the wellness of these people and I want to know what our statewide lobbying organization, Equality California, has to say about it. Nothing. Nada. Not a word of protest or concern.

The EQCA web site today contains notices about political redistricting, the death of a Democratic Party leader who was a lesbian, the passage of gay marriage in New York state, and the latest legislative action on a gay education bill of dubious merits.
I'm not suggesting they should not issue alerts about those items, but where the heck is EQCA's alert about these health care and benefits cuts? I suspect we are again seeing how EQCA has very little concern for and expends microscopic resources regarding anything to do with low-income gay people.

Just a reminder, that in recent weeks we learned EQCA had endorsed AT&T's position on net neutrality, written a letter to the FCC carrying water for their corporate sponsor, a letter they eventually withdrew and they kicked AT&T lobbyist Troup Coronado off their board of directors.

Let's be perfectly clear about this: EQCA's silence, again, about important issues affecting gays beyond their small circle of A-gay board members and deep-pocket donors shows their narrow focus doesn't include low-income gay people.

No comments: