BUSINESS

47 Percenter Single Mom: 'Who Wants To Be Poor?'

Sep 24, 2012 | Updated Sep 24, 2012

Gracie Fowler didn't earn enough money to pay income taxes last year. She won't make enough this year, either, and has turned to Medicaid to make sure her two small children have access to health care.

Despite what Mitt Romney seems to believe, she's not content to go on being one of the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes.

"Who wants to be poor? Half of Americans? What an ugly, ugly statement about Americans," said Fowler, a 35-year-old single mother who lives in Orlando, Fla. "Being poor has never been the place you want to be."

A secretly recorded video of a $50,000-per-person Romney fundraiser shows the Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor bemoaning the fact that 47 percent of Americans don't pay federal income taxes. He declares that they are people "who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it."

"You just said about Americans that half of us are cool with feeling like we need a handout, we need to be babied?" said Fowler. "That's what you think of us? Us hard workers, us college-educated, us non-criminals, us parents, us workers?"

According to Romney, this group -- nearly half the country -- will always support President Barack Obama over him in the race for the White House. That's certainly the case with Fowler.

"You jerk. My children are entitled to health care. They're humans," she said.

Fowler completed her college degree in May 2011 but has had a rough time finding work. She made $11 an hour at a mortgage-title processing company from January until earlier this month, when the firm laid her off. Fowler has been uninsured for most of the last decade but made sure her son, 8, and her daughter, 7, got covered by Medicaid. She isn't eligible for unemployment insurance because she didn't work long enough, and she said the job search has been "frustrating."

If Romney wins, the Medicaid benefits that allow Fowler's children to see a doctor could be in jeopardy. Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), support transforming Medicaid from an entitlement program open to anyone who qualifies into a group of state-run programs that receive a lump sum of federal "block grants" every year.

Ryan's plan, adopted by House Republicans in March, would slash Medicaid funding by $810 billion starting next year. The result would be 14 million to 27 million fewer people with health care coverage, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute in Washington.

Since children make up half of Medicaid's 62 million enrollees, they would be vulnerable to the budget cuts. Romney also would repeal Obama's health care reform law, which is projected to add 11 million low-income uninsured people to Medicaid starting in 2014.

To Fowler, Romney's 47 percent are in reality the "half of us who are dying and crying every day, you know, having a hard time feeding our children." Fowler and her children also receive food stamps.

"You can't be in contempt for half the population and be president," Fowler said of Romney. "This is the message that you've just sent to Americans and it was off the chain."

Earlier on HuffPost:

America's Poorest States

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