From the Center for Disability Rights (4.27.11):
Action Alert: Oppose Medicaid Block Grants
Urge Senate Finance Committee and Your Senators to Fight Medicaid Cuts
The recent budget proposal passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would seriously undermine Medicaid, cutting the program by a total of $772 billion from the current funding level. That’s a 35 percent reduction. In addition, the proposal would cap the reduced amount of funding as a block grant. If enacted, the States would have to implement additional cuts or provide additional state funding to make up for the lost federal funds. States are faced with significant budget shortfalls now, so it’s clear that this approach would mean that states would eliminate Medicaid services, cap enrollment, and impose high premiums and co-payments for Medicaid beneficiaries.
The battle over cuts to Medicaid is likely to involve a series of critical decisions and votes. Medicaid pays for vital health care as well as services and supports for people with disabilities. It’s important that we let Congress know that we oppose block granting and cutting Medicaid. Please “Take Action” here
Write your senators and let them know:
I am writing to urge you to oppose Medicaid block grants and Medicaid cuts that would restrict access to long term services and supports. The budget proposal from the U.S. House of Representatives would seriously undermine the Medicaid program which provides critical health coverage to 8 million Americans with disabilities including seniors who rely upon Medicaid for long term services and support, prescription drug coverage, and durable medical equipment.
Congressman Ryan’s proposal would reduce Medicaid funding for the next ten years by a total of $772 billion from the current spending level and cap the program while giving tax breaks to the rich. States are already facing financial shortfalls which are resulting in cuts to services and eligibility. If enacted, this situation would only become worse. States would eliminate services, cap enrollment, and impose high premiums and co-payments on low income beneficiaries, including those on SSI who live well below the federal poverty line.
Medicaid provides vital services for millions of older Americans and Americans with disabilities.
- Medicaid pays for wheelchairs and prosthetic devices for people with disabilities such as spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and other disabilities.
-Medicaid pays for prescription drugs for persons with mental illnesses and epilepsy and other medical conditions.
- Medicaid pays for programs to enable people with intellectual disabilities to live and work in the community rather than be forced into institutions.
- Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening Diagnosis & Treatment program helps identify disabilities early for children with disabilities and gets them the care they need.
- Medicaid pays for community based long term services and supports which allow seniors and people with disabilities to live independently in the community.
Block granting is described as giving states “flexibility”, but what it really means is that states will have no accountability for their Medicaid programs. Medicaid pays for such vital services and provides the supports that allow Americans with disabilities to live in the community. Too many states have already demonstrated that they will bow to local pressure from institutional facilities, and ignore the Supreme Court affirmed civil rights of Americans to choose to receive long term services in their homes and community. Additional flexibility is NOT the answer.
I urge you to work to sustain Medicaid as the critical safety net for millions of seniors and people with disabilities and DEFEND – NOT DEFUND – OUR FREEDOM!