In the waning hours of 2011 on Capitol Hill, Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg’s controversial proposal to slash funds from family planning clinics is just one more needless attack on the middle class and poor that is gridlocking Congress. The cuts are part of Rehberg’s fiscal year 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services funding bill introduced earlier this fall, and he’s holding firm on his intent to undermine women’s health.
These clinics serve low-income and under-insured women and their families, screen for cancer and other diseases, and provide basic health services. A recent 24/7 Wall Street study reports that 17.3 percent of Montanans have no health insurance, 7.7 percent are unemployed and 14.6 percent live below the poverty level. Yet Rehberg’s plan would further reduce access to health care for poor and low-income families. Why does Montana’s congressman refuse to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes, and instead decimate the programs that help the poor who have no other means of support?
It’s a “bah humbug” budget that reminds me of “A Christmas Carol,” where stingy Ebenezer Scrooge groused that tiny Tim’s dire health was not Scrooge’s problem. ’Tis the season of giving, and for all the Emily and Bob Cratchit families today in our country, let’s urge Rep. Rehberg to stop behaving like Scrooge and give a little. God bless us with health care, every one!
Mary Ann Dunwell