My Medicaid Matters
Posted on September 30, 2011 by Kirsten Dunham
What do you think of when you hear “Super Committee”? Chances are that by now you know it’s a joint Congressional committee – not a new Saturday morning cartoon that you missed. These 12 members (6 Republicans and 6 Democrats from the House and Senate) are charged with coming up with a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. I know it’s almost impossible to imagine a trillion, but that’s 1,500 billions. Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and other program important to people with disabilities are on the table. If the Super Committee does not come up with an agreement or Congress does not pass a plan, there will be an automatic “sequestration” or cut from defense and discretionary spending. In that case, programs like Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income and food stamps would be exempt from cuts and Medicare cuts would be capped at 2%, targeted at provider rates. That still would cut many important programs like housing and independent living.
We know what Medicaid and Medicare proposals are out there and what they would mean for people with disabilities. If you’ve been reading this blog or just listening to the news, you may have read or heard phrases like Medicare vouchers, Medicaid block grants, blended rates, reducing maintenance of effort. Basically all these proposals mean less money going to the states which makes cuts to services and providers almost guaranteed. In these tight budget times, it’s hard to imagine the states increasing their funding for Medicaid.
Thousands of disability rights advocates made their voices heard in Washington D.C. last week to say MY MEDICAID MATTERS. It matters for independence, choice, access and freedom. Check out the you tube video of the rally to see Americans calling out for “Real Reform”.
Even though we do not have a Missouri representative on the committee, our delegation can urge their colleagues to support real reform and save money by getting people out of institutions and supporting cost-effective community services. If we do not want to save $1.5 trillion only by making cuts, we need to send a message that revenue must also be a part of the plan. We couldn’t all make it to Washington D.C. last week, but we can all speak up as Real People with Real Voices.