Sisters Betty Mae Bienlein (photo center) and Mary Judeen Julier (photo left), a chaplain at California Hospital in Los Angeles, traveled to Sacramento in June to protest $1 billion cuts to Medi-Cal proposed by Governor Jerry Brown.
The sisters joined thousands of other protestors on the west lawn of the State Capitol at the “We Are Medi-Cal” rally put on by a coalition of medical organizations including Anthem Blue Cross, the California Medical Association (CMA) and Dignity Health.
“They had us chanting ‘Stop those cuts! Stop those cuts!’” said Sister Betty Mae. “If a congressman came out of the capitol, everyone would get excited.”
Sister Betty Mae explained that cuts to the Medi-Cal budget would affect people who can’t afford medical care, especially women, children and the elderly.
“The state simply cannot continue to balance the budget on the backs of California’s poorest and most vulnerable patients,” said CMA President Paul R. Phinney, M.D. in a press release by the coalition.
The Sisters of Notre Dame have historically worked to ensure the wellbeing of marginalized groups. One of their chapter directives is to “commit to a congregation-wide focus on women, children and the elderly.”
“It’s very important to be aware of folks on the margins,” Sister Betty Mae said.