Martha was blind until four years ago, when Medicaid paid for her to have a corneal transplant. For the first time in her life she could see. Now she has a job. But with recent cuts in funding, Martha has lost her Medicaid. She can no longer afford the antirejection medicine she must take daily because of her transplant. And without the medicine she will slowly go blind.
At the Church Health Center in Memphis, Tennessee, where I serve as executive director and one of a staff of six physicians, one nurse practitioner and a volunteer network of 600 doctors, dentists and other health-care providers, we see Martha and hundreds of others in similar situations every week. We opened in 1987 to provide health care for those who have no affordable resources—the working uninsured, their families, the elderly and the homeless. We take care of 45,000 people and rely not on government funding, but on the generosity of the members of our faith community.