Mother’s Day is coming up. As a mom, I worry a lot. About the day to day details of my kids’ lives, and all the things going on around us. I reflect on what a turbulent year it has been since last Mother’s Day: hurricanes, wildfires, mass shootings.

Other worrying trends: 1200 children homeless in Collier County, living in shelters or other places not meant for human habitation (Source 1). Anxiety is taking its toll – more students than ever are seeking treatment for anxiety disorders (Source 2).

This week I attended a town hall where folks were asking questions about health care in Florida. Would their current elected representative support expanding Medicaid in Florida so nearly a million more people could have healthcare? His answer: NO. FLORIDA CAN’T AFFORD IT. But that’s not true, it’s a choice.

Fewer ER visits for routine medical care and other unpaid health expenses would more than make up the cost to Florida (3). It’s a particular brand of stubbornness that ignores the benefits of expanding Medicaid (Sources 3, 4). Now is the time for working across the aisle to solve big problems, not blindly shutting our minds to possible solutions. Other fixes could make healthcare more affordable as well. Transparency in outcomes and pricing would allow patients to comparison shop (Source 4). Increased accountability in fighting fraud would help recoup costs (Source 5).

No political party is perfect and no politician is perfect. But now, more than ever, is the time to think about your priorities. What really matters? What is going to matter most to your children when they grow up? I believe our kids want to know they will have a home, a healthy planet, an education that won’t leave them in debt for decades, healthcare that’s affordable, jobs that pay enough to live on.

It is up to each and every one of us to do what we can to make this world a better place for our kids. Get educated on the issues, and make sure you vote this year. We can’t afford to sit this one out. Our children are depending on us.

If you pray, say a special prayer for moms who lost their children to gun violence this year. Oh, and by the way, tell your mom you love her! She worries. If your mom is no longer here, share a favorite memory with someone close to you.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

Sources for Additional Reading:

  1. Annual tally: More kids, adults homeless in Collier since Hurricane Irma, Naples Daily News, 4/28/2018
  2. Record Numbers of College Students Are Seeking Treatment for Depression and Anxiety — But Schools Can’t Keep Up, 3/19/2018
  3. Medicaid expansion could save state $500M, lawmaker says, Florida Politics, 1/25/2018
  4. 2018 Scorecard on State Health System Performance, The Commonwealth Fund, 5/2018
  5. Auditor flags Florida’s oversight of Medicaid fraud, Tampa Bay Times, 4/2