Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Most Important Benefits for Government is Health

There are many Government benefit programs today. Some of these programs include the Lifeline Assistance Program, Food Stamps and Medicaid.  These programs provide resources to those in need improving every Americans quality of life.

When the word America rolls off one’s lips the image of freedom and opportunity comes to mind. We are a powerful nation with a rich history of people overcoming obstacles to attain success. As the great nation we are, we cannot ignore the plight of citizens without basic needs.

School programs that allow children free breakfast and lunch reap many benefits. It allows a child to eat that would otherwise be hungry, malnourished, and unable to concentrate. Feeding the child impacts how they learn, behave, and retain. By getting their needs met the likelihood for success raises not only for that child, but the other children in the class also. A potential obstacle to education has been remedied.
The same way meals given to children in school enhances the opportunity for overall success within the school system, medical assistance enhances society as a whole. Those without access to medical care often impact emergency rooms with illnesses that could be prevented or minimalized with appropriate medical attention. When these conditions are only seen in a medical emergency, it impacts the whole system. Without prenatal care, child wellness checks, control of communicable diseases, monitoring of various mental health conditions, and preventative medical treatment, society carries the consequences.

Strategic, well thought out programs are necessary and beneficial to society as a whole. Programs that work with problem youth can minimize the predictive, growing numbers of future prisons.  By creating mentor programs, youth internship programs, sports programs and other creative venues for children, the opportunity of success increases. A university study showed that when inner city children were told and treated like they were going to college on a continual basis from pre-school to high school; the percentage of those kids that went to college was significantly greater than children not conditioned to go to college. By looking at successful magnet programs and other projects created toward changing the existing dynamic of communities past educational statistics, we see that providing enhanced educational opportunities changes the potential future of a generation. Giving children opportunities and encouragement to engage in activities they might not have been afforded can make the difference between a child feeling worthwhile and striving for accomplishments, or feeling worthless, angry and disenchanted.

As a child that was in the foster care system, I am grounded in the belief that we must help the members in our society that need it. The help is not lost, but returned. I was assisted in the system and eventually was adopted by amazing, selfless parents that opened their beautiful home and lives to me. With this acknowledgement, I am also aware that there are problems with the delivery services in many of these programs. The purpose is well intended, but often, especially in larger, impacted cities like Los Angeles, the bog of system is slow, not sufficient, delivered without customer service, and draped in bureaucracy that results in a lack of aid or positive results.

As a foster child my foster parents were given an abundance of resources including clothes for us to wear and I remember receiving toys from well intending social services workers. In truth I did not wear all those clothes because I was very much neglected and abused in that foster home. The program intended to protect children is overwhelmed and overburdened often leaving children at greater risks than homes they came from.

This is true with the service given to those seeking assistance with food stamps, medical services and other types of aid. The delivery is often cold and sterile- and even rude. I have seen this treatment in medical facilities for those in social economic distress. I have often looked at the cattle calling of mass 7:30 a.m. doctors’ appointments when the facility opens at 8:00 a.m. and there is only one doctor present- a travesty. People waiting en mass to be seen as employees go to lunch all around them at 12:00 p.m., even though many that continue to wait were not able to have breakfast and will not have lunch for fear of losing their place or having to wait even longer (or getting yelled at for eating in the building).

As a volunteer at various organizations meant to deliver services to those in need, I have seen a common denominator. They are not run like successful businesses. There is no expectation that workers must treat individuals with respect and dignity and that the product given is superior or even worthwhile.  The treatment is often less than professional if not rude, and delivered in a way that doesn’t offer any real help. I often think of the child that grows up with that institution mind set. No expectation that their time is valuable as they sit around county buildings waiting for their number to be called. They expect metal detectors in every building, rude treatment, and a lack of personalization- dehumanization.

While volunteering at a government funded battered women’s shelter, I watched the employee issue cold medication, toiletries, and laundry products to a program participant. I looked down and saw her child’s face looking up from behind the barred window that separated the mothers and children from the workers.  I felt sorrow. With the delivery of services the mindset should be to irradiate the problem it is intending to help, whether it is homelessness, poverty, abuse, or hunger. The service delivery should not be a part of the cycle that perpetuates the problem.

We Should Help Those Suffering From Homelessness

Every country in the world has its own methods of governance. The main concept of systematic supremacy though, has been equality, fairness, and opportunity for the longest time now. That’s exactly why government benefit programs are necessities to nations of great virtue; they are the basis of distributing these traits of success. Why? The same reason a fire needs a spark to begin blazing.

Some people can’t help being born into a life of financial need. In 1970, the number of single-parent families with children under the age of 18 was 3.8 million. By 1990, the number had more than doubled to 9.7 million; this is just one type of poverty-producing scenarios out of countless more and this is just in the United States. These helpless, innocent individuals don’t deserve to live their life struggling, they deserve a method to get on their feet and provide for themselves. They deserve food stamps. They deserve Medicaid. They deserve welfare of all kinds until they can get a job, hold onto it, and pursue a true life of happiness.

Once a person can acquire that spark they need, they’ll no longer require government assistance. There are many cases where financially hindered people have used that boost to get their fire going and later on, take off the training wheels. A single mother may not be able to pay the bountiful bills, living expenses for both herself and her children, and keep up a savings. If she can’t balance all of this, then what happens when her uninsured home gets ruined by a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina? Then what? With Government assistance her bountiful bills become minimized. Her living expenses are diminished. A savings account is able to be opened and insurance paid for. A family is given breathing room and she’s able to healthily keep her job and pursue bigger things in life besides the pure art of surviving. Her children are also able to get an education and they’ll have a real opportunity of creating a life far away from their old one of financial dependence. Once a person gets that spark, they can learn to fend for themselves, poverty can be conquered.

So why haven’t we focused immensely on government care? There’s argument that government benefit programs are being abused, but in reality it’s a very small percentage of people mistreating the system. Most people are actually using LIHEAP (The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program), Medicaid, or CACFP (Child and Adult Care Food Program) in order to survive. Should the rest suffer because of a minute group of people who don’t understand the effect they’re triggering? Should millions have to run on fumes and possibly not even be able to sleep under a roof or feed their children for days on end just because of a few abusive entities? It’s a no-brainer. We as people need to look out for those who cannot look out for themselves. It’s the humane and morally correct thing to do. If someone is drowning right before your eyes and you have life vests to spare, are you just going to hold onto them and be fine with it after they suffer a painful agonizing death? Well there are people drowning in vast oceans of financial need, and we have the life vests to spare. It’s the same concept, just not as envisaging. So the real question becomes this: How do we make these programs work? How do we make them effective?

As a high school student, I’m not aware of all the components that go into government benefit programs but I’m aware of the great amounts of money being allocated to them. Like in the United States, I know that in the last 5 years 3.7 trillion dollars have been put toward welfare and poverty still plagues the country just as strongly as it did a decade ago. More money for the financially needy isn’t the answer. A new system needs to be created. A system where people under government assistance are forced to use the money allocated to them for the purpose of fending for themselves in the near future. A set amount of welfare dollars should be given to a family based on the amount of people within the family and the needs they have. This money should be constant for some time (a year or two) and then slowly dwindle unless the applicants have shown efforts in finding jobs or sources of income that can suffice the family’s needs without the financial assistance. This system would require monitoring aids to analyze applicants’ efforts in being self-dependent, which can create a whole new branch of jobs: another minor way to help the cause. This idea is very broad and can use obvious tweaking, but if done correctly, it can be a permanent method of solving the people’s high demand in government benefit programs in a more organized effective manner.

No matter what country we’re talking about, poverty exists. Governments of experience and prestige have created methods of combatting this financial deficiency. In order to truly acquire the idea of equality and opportunity, government assistance is needed, but only enough to give that spark that causes a flame to erupt and burn on for a long, long time.

Is it Anti Poverty is Important for the Country

Imagine. A young girl sits in class. She begins to write down the answer to the question before her when her stomach growls…again. The entire class turns to look at her and her cheeks go red. “There must be something wrong with her,” one says. “She’s probably anorexic. I mean look at her, she’s so skinny. I bet that’s why her clothes are so baggy,” says another. Everyone averts their eyes, but the damage has been done. The girl spends the rest of the period holding her head down, silently begging for the bell to ring, and the humiliation to be over. What they don’t know, is that she didn’t have breakfast. What they don’t know is that she didn’t have dinner the night before. Her family is struggling and the only meal she receives is the free lunch that the school provides for her every day. You see, both her parents lost their jobs in the recession, and even though they both have degrees, they’ve only been able to find part time jobs, which barely pay the bills. This girl is not unique. There are many others like her. For some, the only thing standing between them and starvation is the government.

Imagine. A high school girl with red puffy eyes. She’s been crying. It’s 4 o’clock in the morning and she has 3 essays, 20 math problems, and a chemistry lab due tomorrow, she must get to school at 7:45 to tutor, she must stay after school for practice until 6:30 and then she has to go work at her job until 11. She’s scared that she took on too many activities, but she MUST get a scholarship. Scholarships are her only hope for college because her family definitely can’t afford to pay for anything. She works to have money to pay for her SAT and AP tests so that maybe colleges will take a second look at her application. She knows that she’s slowly killing herself, but she can’t end up without a job. She’s witnessed unemployment first-hand and she can never go back. You see, both of her parents were self-employed when the recession hit. When business got slow, so did the flow of income and as the flow became a trickle, the reality of the cost of education hit her like a ton of bricks. The cost of college is not just tuition, board, books and food. The cost of college is the cost of the SAT. It’s the cost of all the varsity sport and club dues. It’s the cost of the AP tests and the transcripts that must be sent out. It’s the cost of the $45 college applications and the gas money to get from school to work so that there’s income to pay for college. As sad as it may seem there are students like this across America. Thankfully, there are government assistance programs to help with the cost of education. Anyone who qualifies for free lunch qualifies for a price cut on the AP exams, the cost of the SAT and a few free fee waivers for SAT & ACT scores and college applications. Some may say that the government isn’t spending our money on education wisely, but there are many for whom the government has created a future.

Imagine. A young child plays on the playground when suddenly he can’t breathe. His airways have begun to close and he’s struggling for oxygen. He realizes that he’s having an asthma attack, but his mother couldn’t afford his medicine this month. The $200 in prescription maintenance drugs had to go towards the water bill. The boy listens as the PE teacher calls 911 and his vision is shrouded in blackness. The paramedics arrive and the resulting emergency room fee is in excess of $500. Unfortunately that $500 was rent money and now the family is being evicted. If only the family had been given access to Medicaid which would have covered the child’s asthma medicine preventing the oncoming attack and costly medical bills. Although government assistance has been stereotyped with the ratchets who use their food stamps at the strip club, not everyone wants to take advantage of the government system. For some, the government is a lifesaver.

Though government assistance programs are changing lives, there are still ways for improvement. For example, the duration of time for processing can be detrimental. Families in immediate need of assistance cannot afford to wait 2 months for Medicaid to renew. More personnel is needed to lighten the workload and shorten the wait for the “red tape” to be lifted. This would not only help families but also create jobs.

Even though there is strong Congressional controversy on the necessity of government assistance, as education and medical costs skyrocket, the need for assistance only grows. A closer look into the classroom reveals the hungry girls. A second glance on the playground shows the boy fighting for his life. When we have learned to come to terms with the fact that our way of life is not perfect and that some people need temporary assistance to get back on their feet, only then can we come together as a country and say that we are ONE NATION under GOD who is indivisible with equal liberty and justice for all its citizens.