MERIDEN — Steep Medicaid cuts proposed in the latest Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act could spell “disastrous and deadly” results for the county’s most vulnerable populations, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said during a tour Friday of the Meriden Community Health Center, where 80 percent of patients depend on Medicaid for health care.
“We are going to be fighting this,” Blumenthal, D-Conn, said. “I refer to it as putting eyeliner on a pig, which would be funny if it weren’t so deadly serious.”
The health center on State Street treats 15,000 residents a year, about a quarter of the city’s population, according to Amy Taylor, regional vice president for Community Health Center. About 80 percent of patients at the facility rely on Medicaid for coverage, she said.
Blumenthal greeted staff and patients as he walked through the preventative care, prenatal, psychology and urgent care wings of the health center Friday morning, noting the importance of preventative care.
“It’s a very powerful experience because what I see is people receiving life saving care they otherwise would not have,” Blumenthal said. “And it’s not just saving lives, it’s saving dollars.”
Blumenthal said the latest Republican vision of the health care plan would slash one-fourth of the funding to Medicaid.
“It’s worse than what we’ve seen before,” Blumenthal said.
Health center staff shared stories about patients, emphasizing that when people lose coverage they fail to seek out preventative care and wind up in the emergency room with bills they cannot afford to pay. Medically induced bankruptcy is the ”biggest cause of bankruptcy in the country,” Blumenthal said.