Monday, October 8, 2012

Medicaid Cuts Threaten "Lifeline" for Families

The Arc, which has been advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for 60 years, is taking a powerful stand against proposals to slash funds for Medicaid and impose spending caps -- both of which could have devastating consequences for people with disabilities and their families.The Arc's position paper for its "Don't Cut Our LIfeline" campaign states the concerns very clearly:

The Arc Opposes Spending Caps and Deep Cuts to Medicaid
Spending caps and deep cuts to Medicaid can lead to block grants and other structural changes that will devastate the Medicaid program and put the health and safety of people with I/DD at risk. Block grants could force bad choices and cause substantial conflict as groups with diverse needs compete for scarce dollars. 

What is at Stake for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities?
While there is no way to be certain about what states would do, we know there will be real life consequences, such as:
  • Losing home and community‐based services and supports. Waiting lists would quickly grow and it could create a crisis for the 730,000 people with I/DD living with aging caregivers.
  • Losing other critical services such as personal care, prescription drugs, and rehabilitative services. If funds become scarcer, states may decide to stop providing these services altogether.
  • Being forced into unnecessary institutionalization. We could return to the days when states “warehoused” people with disabilities in institutions. Federal quality standards would either be diminished or eliminated and states might once again see this as an acceptable policy option.
  • Shifting the costs to individuals or family members to make up for the federal cuts. The costs of providing health care and long term services and supports will not go away, but will be shifted to individuals, parents, states, and providers.
  • Losing their entitlement to Medicaid. Currently if a person meets the eligibility requirements (generally poverty, age and/or disability), he or she is entitled to the services available under the state Medicaid program. People could lose all access to health care services.

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