Monday, July 3, 2017

Medicaid



Many people with autism and other disabilities have Medicaid because of their disability. My son is one. He just received his Medicaid card last month after a year on the waiver waitlist. The rest of his family does not have (or need) Medicaid.

He has it because, not too long ago, there were few options for services for people with disabilities. As a result, many people with disabilities ended up in residential facilities, either as children or as adults. The idea of the waiver system came about to help get these individuals services, to help them become more independent, allowing them to live in their parents' homes or on their own in group homes or apartments. Instead of a lonely, scary, often poorly-managed institution.

The Medicaid Waiver allows individuals with a developmental disability to qualify for Medicaid regardless of their parents' income. The Medicaid waiver gives these individuals Medicaid which they can use for medical services such as the doctor, dentist, and ABA therapy. It also gives them a separate bucket of money that they can use for services like occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, parent training, and more. My son can now access these services because of the waiver, to help him become more independent and hopefully some day have the opportunity to live on his own.

The current bill in the Senate will cut services for individuals with disabilities including waiver programs. This means that many individuals currently receiving services will no longer be able to. Some of the services are very expensive and families are not able to pay for them out-of-pocket. These families may lose both waiver and Medicaid coverage for their children.

I hope that, as someone who knows someone with a disability (Hayden), you will consider the impact this bill will have on him, and if moved to do so, voice your concern to your representatives that these cuts to Medicaid should not be made. I believe that individuals with disabilities deserve to have the opportunity to live as independently as possible, and the Medicaid waiver system was put in place to help them do so. This bill will have a huge negative impact on this population. I have contacted my representatives already on this issue and I am asking you as a friend to consider doing so as well.

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Hayden and little sis at his last special needs baseball game.

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