America today finds many people struggling with costs related to everyday expenses such as groceries and utility bills, let alone the cost associated with medical care.
People with disabilities on limited incomes as a result of the disabilities they experience, as well as the growing population of seniors in America, are finding themselves reaching for state services such as Medicaid because of the economic recession. But what about the persons with disabilities who have been on Medicaid for some time and were already struggling
In a story presented today by The Gazette in Colorado Springs, I found a tale that is very truly heartbreaking related to hundreds of persons with developmental disabilities and Medicaid in Colorado state. The story says that hundreds of people with these disabilities are being cut from their Medicaid benefits, starting this very day, right here in the very Colorado state where I live. Caretakers and advocates for persons with developmental disabilities in this state say the move is going to have devastating results; I agree.
Seven-hundred people in Colorado will find that services related to work programs and transportation have been cut in half. Still others are going to lose a percentage. Colorado state's Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services has created a new model that bases a person's benefits on their level of disability; it sounds like a convenient excuse to me. One woman's benefits which had been at $29, 500 per year has been cut to $13, 267 per year - try living with that type of cut. Her respite care allowance of $1,331 is entirely gone - so much for a break.
People with disabilities in the Pikes Peak region are losing their jobs, their transportation, and their ability to develop natural support systems. People who work to support persons with disabilities are losing wages and jobs as well. Organizations that support people with disabilities are certainly feeling the impact.
Meanwhile, America has spent millions upon millions of dollars through stimulus packages on inane projects, such as counting frog species and additional foolishness, when there are real, living people with disabilities who could actually use this money to keep them working and supporting the economy. Our President stood before this nation during his campaign and asked what People with Disabilities could do for America - we simply ask for the opportunity and support in order to be able to do so, Mr. President. When individual states can no longer afford programs such as Medicaid that support persons with disabilities who are out there trying to work and participate in the community, how on earth are we supposed to fulfill our American Dream
Examine your state, fellow Persons with Disabilities - how long will it be before disasters such as this one strike your home town? How long will it be before the very Social Security Disability and SSI programs that enable you to do any work whatsoever disappear? How long before Medicaid is no longer an option for other people in your state? In my opinion, what has happened in Colorado state today is only one sign of what is to come if actions are not taken on the parts of Disability Organizations and People with Disabilities - and that right soon.
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