Our Medicaid matters Mr. President! The message resounded loud and clear in front of the White House today as ADAPT arrived with somber indignation to defend our right to freedom and inclusion in community. As President Obama prepares to compromise away Medicaid, opportunities for choosing and directing our own supports are placed squarely on the chopping block. In signature ADAPT fashion, we confronted the issue and clarified why our Medicaid matters.
ADAPT rolled in, set up in front of the White House and demonstrated our discontent, with street theater, chanting and sharing real stories from real people about why Medicaid matters. ADAPT members amplified personal stories of dire consequence over loudspeakers to get the message across that Americans will suffer if Medicaid Home and Community Based programs are cut. The reality of the situation weighed heavy on everyone as we listened to our brothers and sisters describe what will happen if Medicaid funding is cut, leaving only institutional options as an entitlement for long term care.
Laura from Washington, Pennsylvania described how Medicaid matters to her family as she considered aloud what would have and will happen to her son Kyle Glozier if he doesn’t have access to Medicaid Home and Community Based supports and services. Laura made it clear that Kyle would be forced into an institution to receive the basic supports that he now accesses through Medicaid Long Term Care services. Laura let it be known to President Obama that her Medicaid matters because without it, her son would lose the supports and services that allow him to live successfully in the community, if Medicaid gets cut, Kyle will lose his freedom and independence.
John from Erie, Pennsylvania explained how he was able-bodied 25 years, went through an accident and acquired a disability, but not insurance. John came to in a nursing home and described it as the worst experience of his life. It was Medicaid that covered the medical bills that he would never have been able to pay for otherwise. John said, “Without Medicaid, I would be in a nursing home. Do you know what that costs?” John let it be known that it is not only morally irresponsible to cut funding to Medicaid for community-based long term care services, it is also fiscally irresponsible for people to be relegated to an absolutely dependent situation that costs over twice as much in tax payer revenue. John, facing the White House, used the microphone, amplifier and speakers to tell President Obama that it costs about $5000 per month to be warehoused in a nursing home, compared to the $2000 per month it costs for him to choose and direct supports in his own home.
In the meantime, a mock up individual in an Obama mask toting giant scissors, went about theatrically cutting those of us who use Medicaid Long Term Care services to live freely in our home communities. We chanted “My Medicaid Matters” loud and strong in true ADAPT style. Finally, we shared a letter drafted to President Obama and it goes like this -
Dear President Obama:
The ADAPT Community has spent over 20 years working to eliminate the institutional bias in Medicaid. This institutional bias has forced millions of Americans into institutions because institutional services are an entitlement while community based services that provide supports in our own homes is optional. We have achieved systemic Medicaid reforms that have freed many of our brothers and sisters from oppressive institutions. While the institutional bias still exists in Medicaid, thousands of Americans now are able to use Medicaid optional programs in their state to find freedom from those institutions.
You say that you want to make modest “adjustments” to Medicaid which can only mean cuts. We know the programs that always face cuts first are the “optional” programs particularly those that provide services that have free thousands Americans from oppressive and costly institutions.
You can use other words like “administrative changes”, “leveling the F-MAP”, or other terms, but lets not mince words, seniors a and people with disabilities will pay the price. We will pay for such savings with our freedom, and quite possibly our lives.
We cannot support a leader that proposes Medicaid cuts that will cost us our freedom and jobs.
We demand that there be no arbitrary Medicaid cuts. Instead we support REAL Medicaid Reform. There are ways to protect our freedom and save money and more importantly end the institutional bias in Medicaid by: