To the editor:
Medicaid is a lifeline for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The U.S. Congress is attempting to cut that lifeline.
In May, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act. That act would radically restructure Medicaid. The result: less funding and fewer services for people with disabilities.
In June, the Senate revealed their version of the proposed legislation, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Although it was a different name, it would do the same damage to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities: less funding and fewer services.
Members of Congress are trying to portray this proposed legislation as reigning in spending, cutting taxes and giving new flexibility to states. The truth: funding is directed away from people with disabilities, the elderly and the poor; taxes are cut only for the wealthiest among us; and more flexibility means that states will have to make the hard decisions about who will no longer get the services they need once federal funding is diminished.
This is not good for people with disabilities, it is not good for our nation, it is not good for people in Nebraska. We must do better.
Through my work as the executive director at Mosaic in Northeast Nebraska (Columbus, Fremont, Norfolk, Ponca and Wayne), I see firsthand the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I am concerned about what would happen to them if the proposed legislation were to pass. Denial of services? Longer waiting lists? Move from communities and back to institutions?
I cannot answer those questions but I know with certainty the actions that would stem from this proposed legislation will negatively impact the people I serve every day.
The health care system does need reform. But it should not come at the expense of some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Mosaic, Northeast Nebraska