We write to you out of great concern regarding health care under the Trump administration.

For years as legal services attorneys, largely in Pennsylvania and some in Georgia, we did work to ensure that impoverished people in need of health care – children, elderly, those with disabilities – received the services of Medicaid.

Anne continued to do this work as a congressional staffer for U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa. Niles worked for a variety of legislative and advocacy bodies, including the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, developing policy, and for three Pennsylvania state senators, and for the Health Law Project and the Elderly Law Project, both in Pennsylvania.

The threat of block granting Medicaid continues as a Republican budget-cutting tool.

It means there would be no federal standards that ensure access and review. By its very purpose, the block grant would mean an end to adequate funding. There would be no state plan that would provide adequate care to all those who are eligible.

Our great fear is that the benefits of Medicaid, as we knew it, will be eliminated by this administration’s inattention to the excellent history of the benefits that Medicaid provided. Expansion must become a mandate, so that those adult uninsured in states like Maine, estimated to be 80,000 people, can be covered.

We can make a similar case for Medicare, whose recipients need to have ensured coverage. Privatizing by vouchers is not safe for these disabled and elderly whose categories alone demonstrate needs for health care.

In the late 1990s, as devolution of cash assistance was underway, there was a very strong successful effort to retain Medicaid as a federal entitlement. We urge your readers to address this issue to keep Medicaid as it is, as the battle to preserve Obamacare continues.

Thank you for all that your newspaper does in this new age that brings so much concern to our nation.

Anne Vaughan and Niles Schore

Berwick