I Want to Start a Movement: Civic Engagement
I spent a day this week at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. explaining the importance of Medicaid. My first visit was the most encouraging. The policy representative said, “we need policy, which is good for all the people; the people in need of service and those who are delivering the service.” It makes no sense to focus on one, if that focus harms the other. He had Fix the DSP Crisis on his desk. Click here to see the video.
While most of you will not visit The Hill any time soon, you can still speak up, you can be heard. Send emails, call the offices of elected officials, visit the local offices of your Senator and tell them what you think. Ask them questions about how their policy plans will work for the people we support and for the people who do the work too.
I advocated keeping Medicaid strong. However, there are aspects which need improvement, but capping how much you are willing to spend does not address the underlying challenges which drive up cost. We need real solutions. The proposed per capita caps will limit the amount of funds the federal government gives the states. If the costs run over, the state budget would need to come up with the cash. All the state budgets where we serve already have expenses which are billions over the income to the state. Where would the state get the money?
The U.S. House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill to restrict Medicaid spending. While it is very true that the US spends too much of its domestic product on health care, the reason for that spending problem is not Medicaid. We all need to think hard about the reality that the increase in Medicaid spending is because we have a large number of people in the US who are low income and cannot afford health insurance. They are low income because their disabilities interfere with access to employment, they are low wage earners, etc.
Click here Faces of Medicaid video to see the faces of the people on Medicaid. They are people you know. Engage in the dialogue. Call your state rep and tell them to call Washington. Call you state senator and tell that senator to keep Medicaid strong. Our staff and all the people we support need Medicaid strong.
To find people representatives and senators in your state house or senate, visit the appropriate links below:
To find the senators in DC:
The message: Keep Medicaid strong. Children, seniors and people with intellectual disabilities and their caregivers will suffer if per capita caps or block grants become part of law. Address the root causes and you will reduce spending.