Posted on March 11, 2011
By Leah Farrell, Policy Analyst
As you may have read in the news by now, the Governor has accepted the Medicaid Redesign Team’s package for reducing the State’s Medicaid program by billions of dollars. Many of the proposals directly impact people with disabilities and threaten our freedom to live in the community.
Here are just a few items in the package:
- Reductions in personal care services
- Restrictions on prescription drugs
- Increases in co-payments and new co-payments for services not previously requiring co-payments
- Limits on physical, occupational, and speech therapies
- Requirements that many seniors and people with disabilities enroll in managed long term care
But there is more – oh so much more – that directly impacts YOU and YOUR SERVICES. There are provisions in the bill that give the Department of Health Commissioner extraordinary authority to cut rates, impose caps, reduce hours, etc. that effect how you are supported to live independently in the community. This is unprecedented and this will have the largest impact on people with the most significant disabilities.
On Thursday, March 3rd, I testified before the joint Legislature of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees – as I do every budget season. A copy of my testimony can be found here: PDF/Large Print. Or, watch the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K15NVRb-WE&feature=player_embedded. I appear at about 8:19. (Yes, way at the end of the hearing. Not surprisingly, the powerful health care providers like the hospitals and nursing facilities are always at the top of the list of witnesses.) I urged the Legislature to consider the proposals submitted by the disability rights community that were not incorporated into the Medicaid redesign package and I highlighted some of the more dangerous components to the proposed Medicaid/health budget.
So, what is next?
The completion of this draft bill means that Governor has finished his Executive budget. The next step is for each house of the Legislature to draft their one-house bills and then reconcile them by the end of the fiscal year, March 31, 2011. (Of course, as we remember from last year’s budget debacle, the budget is not always passed on time but this year it is expected to pass on time, April 1.) The Governor is urging the Legislature to pass his budget as-is, which would include the devastating cuts to community-based services. That means we have 21 days to impact the process!
Let’s tell the Governor and the Legislature that cutting community-based services is not the only way to reduce Medicaid expenditures. Join us in Albany on March 15 and make your voice heard. Defend your freedom!
Filed Under Accessibility, Activism, Advocacy, Attendant Services, Attitudes, CDR Programs, Community-based services, Consumer Directed Personal Assistance, Deaf Community, Home Care, Independence, Independent Living, Institutions and Institutionalization, Leah Farrell, Medicaid, Take Action! | 2 Comments