Thursday June 29, 2017
Medicaid is in the crosshairs. As CEO of Easter Seals Eastern Pennsylvania, I'm horrified by what the Senate health bill means for our families. We serve a vital but relatively small percentage of the total number of individuals with disabilities in our community. The impact will be amplified by factors of thousands when expanded across our state and nation.
In all my years advocating with and for people with disabilities I've never felt so helpless and so pessimistic. We serve nearly 2,300 children and young adults, and nearly all rely on Medicaid for disability services. The Senate bill dramatically reduces the funding for those services. This bill will cause direct harm to our families and others like them, as well as those yet unborn or who have not yet acquired a disabling condition.
Medicaid provides access to care required by individuals with disabilities. The bill threatens health care; education; the ability of parents to work; and the ability of individuals with disabilities to maximize independence, hold jobs and live in the community, to say nothing of quality of life. Medicaid picks up where there are no other options.
Some of us are born with a disability. Any of us can become disabled through accident, illness and aging. None of us has a say about the resource capacity of the family into which we're born. I urge readers to call Sen. Pat Toomey and let him know that we can do better for our most vulnerable families, friends and neighbors.
President and CEO, Easter Seals Eastern PA