Caring about the very poor…

Lots has been written on Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s comments that “I’m not concerned about the very poor…”

Like his earlier comment about liking to fire people, Romney says he’s being taken out of context.. and similarly, the context may actually make the quote worse. Here’s the full video clip:

So, even taking his meaning in the best possible light, there’s two major problems.

1) He believes there’s an “ample” safety net. He may not be aware of the cuts being made to health and human services at the state level, but the “safety net” is being shredded. And it wasn’t that comprehensive to begin with.

Many defenders of Romney talked about Medicaid, which is seen as the health care safety-net for the poor. But in most states, including California, there’s a big hole. Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) covers children, parents, seniors, and people with disabilities in California under the poverty level. But Medicaid excludes poor adults without children at home–even if they are penniless.

2) The federal Affordable Care Act would change that, and potentially up to 2 million Californians would be newly eligible for Medicaid. And that leads us to our second point–that Mitt Romney’s policies would undermine the very safety net he highlights.

As Matt Yglesias in Slate points out, he would repeal the Affordable Care Act, and also seek to cut or eviscerate key safety-net programs–both for poor and middle-income families.

So he is unaware of the problems of the poor, and his solutions would make them worse. A troubling combination.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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