Now is the time to talk about Medicaid reform—not Medicaid elimination! The Medicaid program is the only program in the nation that provides affordable Personal Assistance services (attendant care) for people with disabilities. Even though current efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which would have also been the beginning of the end of Medicaid, were dropped on March 24, 2017, this issue is still not over.
If the Medicaid program becomes a block grant to the states, the program’s services will become extremely limited over time. The federal funds will gradually be cut back over 10 years, under the recent proposals in the U.S. Congress. If those proposals are brought back up, then people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid for their attendants will find themselves having to do without. That means they would not be able to go to work and would be even more dependent on public funds for their care. This makes no sense. Especially now.
We have never been more ready to enter the workforce. We have increased accessible public transportation, housing, education, work readiness and technology options. Workplace accessibility has become greater. And now, more than ever before, companies are beginning to want to hire qualified people with disabilities as part of their commitment to workplace diversity and inclusion.
But we need to reform Medicaid so eligible people who need their health insurance and attendant services through Medicaid can go to work, pay a reasonable monthly premium for each of these services (referred to as a “buy in”), earn an income commensurate with their skills, and become tax payers rather than tax consumers. This is an idea that should be welcomed by both sides of the political aisle.
Please call your senators and ask them to reform Medicaid to provide work incentives, and eliminate the current work disincentives in the program. The U.S. Capitol phone number to find your Senator or Congressman is: 202-224-3121
Call the Starkloff Disability Institute if you want to help convince Congress of the importance of Medicaid reform vs. Medicaid reduction/elimination: 314-588-7090.
Meet Dylan and see why Medicaid reform must be strongly supported: