Rod Stewart Helped Kids With Disabilities Journey To D.C. To Protest Medicaid Cuts

"As a father of eight I have to do something now."

British singer-songwriter Rod Stewart has an estimated net worth of $235 million, and the 72-year-old put some of that hard-earned money to great use earlier this month when he paid for several children with disabilities and their families to travel to Washington D.C. and protest proposed Medicaid cuts. 

According to CNN, Stewart was watching the network when he saw a story about an organization called Trach Mommas of Louisiana and the journey they were taking with their sick children from their home state to the nation's capital to take a stand against Senate Republicans' health care bill, which included deep cuts to federal spending on Medicaid.



Trach Mommas was co-founded by Angéla Lorio and Jessica Michot, and both women have 4-year-old sons with serious medical issues who depend on Medicaid to survive. "It's not what they're cutting; it's who they're cutting," Lorio said of her decision to protest in a separate interview with CNN.

The Trach Mommas at a previous demonstration.

The dedicated moms had only raised $7,000 of the $30,000 needed for their crew (which included several other children with disabilities and their families) to make it to D.C., so when Stewart heard of their plight he knew he needed to help.

"I've just seen something on CNN that's heartbreaking. It was a group of families with severely disabled children who are driving to Washington to confront about health care cuts. See if you can find out who they are," the "Maggie May" crooner wrote in an email to his longtime manager, Arnold Stiefel, according to the outlet. "I'd like to help in some way."  

A cut of the CNN story that Stewart saw.

Though Stewart isn't known for being overtly political, the Brit was apparently moved by the Trach Mommas' story because he saw parents fighting for their children's lives.

"He was so touched and heartbroken and actually teary," Stiefel told CNN of Stewart. "He said to me, 'As a father of eight I have to do something now.'"

So, much to the delight of Lorio and Michot, Stewart wrote them a check to cover the remaining costs of their important trip. Lorio deposited the check last week, calling it "the biggest check of her life" as she profusely thanked Stewart for his act of generosity.

And beyond just giving the Trach Mommas money, Stewart made sure others were aware of what they were doing to fight cuts to Medicaid. During the finale of his concert last Tuesday in New Jersey, the singer played a video tribute to the families who took the dangerous but important road trip. "Some of you may know that I live in America and pay my taxes here," Stewart told the crowd. "I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but I am a father."

Despite Lorio and Michot's best efforts, Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy voted "yes" on the Senate bill. However, the bill later failed because of a lack of support from Republican Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins.

Michot expressed her gratitude on Facebook, praising the trio for standing up "for what is right despite the pressure faced."



CBS News reports the White House is still pressuring the Senate to pass a health care bill ASAP, despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's declaration last week that it's "time to move on." 

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