FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2012
MY MEDICAID MATTERS! National Medicaid Showdown in Harrisburg, PA
The Ryan budget will take $800 billion dollars out of Medicaid services which will have a devastating effect on state run Medicaid programs. Pennsylvania is a primary example of what cuts to Medicaid will have on people with disabilities and older persons. The devastating cuts proposed in Pennsylvania are emblematic of what is happening in states across the country.
ADAPT is going to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to highlight this struggle and initiate a state-by-state campaign to preserve vital Medicaid services and eliminate Medicaid’s institutional bias. This campaign is called MY MEDICAID MATTERS!
Although our country has begun to see signs of economic recovery, Medicaid is at a crossroads. States are faced with a fundamental choice. They can implement arbitrary cuts that devastate Medicaid-funded programs or can implement Real Medicaid reform which contains spending while promoting the independence and freedom of people with disabilities.
Such reforms include:
Expanding the use of community-based services.
Studies have long demonstrated that reducing the overuse of institutions and nursing facilities and moving instead toward more community-based services lets states contain Medicaid spending. Despite this growing body of evidence that proves that community-based services are more cost effective, Congress has not moved to remove the institutional bias from Medicaid, and thus allows states to continue their wasteful, institutionally-biased practices.
Permitting attendants to perform health maintenance functions under the supervision of a consumer, instead of insisting on costly medical personnel, will result in more seniors and people with disabilities to be supported to live in their own homes and communities with no additional Medicaid funding. Requiring that medical personnel provide such services unnecessarily increases Medicaid’s costs.
Expanding options for consumer-directed services and self-determination.
By empowering people to manage their own services and reducing the need for administrative overhead, we can reduce Medicaid expenditures. Many seniors and people with disabilities can manage, train and supervise the people providing the direct care, reducing the need for agencies to provide supervisory and administrative supports like training and scheduling. These options allow people with disabilities to live at home and seniors to age in place while containing Medicaid spending.
Eliminating wasteful bureaucracy.
The current system wastefully organizes services based on a person's diagnosis and/or age, rather than functional needs. Functional needs cross all age and disability labels. By organizing services based on functional needs we can eliminate redundant and needlessly expensive bureaucracies and reduce Medicaid expenditures.
Taking advantage of "re-balancing" funding available in the Affordable Care Act.
Because of our advocacy at the federal level, states now have the tools they need to accomplish these important Medicaid reforms. The Affordable Care Act included three important initiatives that support states in "re-balancing" their systems that provide long term services and supports, including the Balancing Incentive Program, the Community First Choice Option, and an extension of the Money Follows the Person Demonstration Program. Pennsylvania could receive nearly $200 million in additional federal funding a year.
Like many other states, Governor Corbett’s administration in Pennsylvania has proposed cutting Medicaid as a panacea to address the shortfalls in the state budget. When states cut Medicaid, they not only limit services but they cut the jobs of the people who are paid by the Medicaid funds to provide services, supports and basic health care to the state's citizens. ADAPT is headed to Harrisburg to urge him to work with advocates and the disability community to implement Real Medicaid reform that contains spending while it supports the independence and civil rights of people with disabilities and older adults, and saves jobs.
The week of ADAPT actions in Harrisburg will culminate on Wednesday with a My Medicaid Matters Rally. People from across the state will be converging in Harrisburg to highlight the important role that Medicaid plays in supporting health, independence, families and jobs.
Rally sponsors include the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Independent Living Council, the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers Association and Visions for Equality. Rally speakers will talk about how Medicaid provides:
- hospital, doctor and other health services to low income families, children as well as people with disabilities and older Americans;
- vital home and community-based services that allow seniors and younger people with disabilities to live independently in the community;
- services that support families in caring for their children who have significant disabilities; and
- vital jobs for direct care workers who support their families.
ADAPT encourages advocates in other states to build on our efforts in Harrisburg to develop their own Medicaid Matters coalitions to oppose arbitrary Medicaid cuts and promoting Real Medicaid reform.
For more information on building a My Medicaid Matters Campaign, please contact Linda Anthony at email@example.com or Scott Nance at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, check out the My Medicaid Matters Song.
To get real-time updates on the action, follow @Nationaladapt on Twitter or check Nationaladapt Twitter page.
Members of the press should contact:
Cassie James Holdsworth at (215) 219-0694,
Pam Auer at (717) 798-2807,
Kathleen Kleinmann at (412) 916-3135, or
Bruce Darling at (585) 370-6690.
To be added to the press release listserv for this action, please contact Amber Smock at email@example.com.