09/28/2012 03:20 pm ET Updated Sep 28, 2012

Harold Pollack's Medicaid Plea: 'We're All Vulnerable'

Harold Pollack is a health policy wonk at the University of Chicago, but he has a street-level view of the health care system.

In a YouTube video published Thursday, Pollack explains that he and his wife took in her brother, who is developmentally disabled, eight years ago. They couldn't have done it without Medicare and Medicaid, he says.

"I don't know what we would have done without those two programs," Pollack says in the video. "We have two daughters. We wouldn't have been able to save for their college or plan for their future. When we most needed it, those programs really had our back."

"I'm flabbergasted by proposals to cut Medicaid by more than a trillion dollars over the next decade, and along the way to deprive tens of millions of people the opportunity to get health insurance," Pollack says in the video, referring to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's plan for Medicaid.

Romney and his running mate, Pep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), propose to transform Medicaid from an open-ended federal entitlement into a limited block grant. Doing so would save $810 billion over 10 years, inevitably reducing the number of people who receive health insurance from the program. Medicaid covers more than 60 million poor Americans, half of them children.

"One thing I've learned over the past eight years: We're all vulnerable," Pollack says in the video. "One minute you're sitting pretty on your comfortable salary ... The next you're facing a family crisis and a blizzard of medical bills."



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