There has been a lot of talk in Washington, D.C. about reforming Medicaid, the health program funded by the federal government and managed by individual states. Many people with disabilities, including people with traumatic brain injuries, depend on Medicaid for basic health services.
While cuts to just about every federal program seem certain, we at CORE Health believe there are intelligent ways to reduce Medicaid costs by allowing more people to stay in their homes, which is less expensive than care in institutions.
”Medicaid waivers are very cost-efficient programs that provide in home support for people with disabilities; the waivers keep people out of institutional settings, like nursing homes,” said Eric Makowski, CEO and co-owner of CORE Health Care. “Waiver services might be home health services and nursing, case management, medical coordination, or just assistance with hygiene and preparing meals.”
A Medicaid waiver allows a state to be more flexible in how it spends money to provide some long-term services to some people with disabilities. In the past, people had to be in nursing homes or other large institutions for Medicaid to pay for long-term services.
Waivers override certain rules for how that funding can be used. If they meet eligibility requirements, people can get the services they need in their own homes or other community settings, instead of having to go into a nursing home or institution.
“Medicaid is the national safety net for millions of people,” said Bob Kafka of ADAPT of Texas. “The federal budget debate has largely overlooked the real impact of severe Medicaid cutbacks.”
The services provided by Medicaid cost less than placing people in nursing homes and give some of society’s most vulnerable people a better quality of life. Multiplying the difference in cost between home care and nursing home care by the years spent out of the nursing home makes continuing support for Medicaid an economic value, according to Makowski.
“The economic argument is as strong as the moral argument about basic the human right to live as independently as possible,” he said.
To show your support for the services provided by Medicaid, CORE Health Care asks that you sign the My Medicaid Matters petition, created by our friends and partners Dennis Borel and Chase Bearden at The Coalition for Texans with Disabilities with support from ADAPT’s Kafka. The petition is available online: http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/mmmtexas and it only takes a few seconds to sign.
If you live in Austin, we’d be thrilled if you’d come out to the Fun Run for Disability Rights on Saturday, April 21 at Yellowjacket Stadium on Hargrave Street.
A group of CORE Health Care staff members and residents are participating and we’d love to meet and walk with you. Most of the money raised is going to the My Medicaid Matters campaign, but a portion will be donated to the CORE Health Foundation’s project to build an ADA wheelchair accessible fishing pier on Lady Bird Lake. Grab your wheels, your bike, your dog, your kids or your skates and join us!
Let’s show everyone that Medicaid matters!