Advocacy Update: The fight is not over.
9 December 2017
During this past legislative session, St. David’s Center joined the fight to protect Medicaid on behalf of the children and families who rely on it to access the services they so desperately need. Along with This is Medicaid and 156 other nonprofit organizations in the state, our advocacy efforts played a key role in stopping healthcare legislation that would have resulted in devastating cuts.
But the fight is not over.
The 2018 Budget Resolution has set in motion tax legislation that would increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade – making Medicaid and other disability programs more vulnerable than ever before.
Julie’s sister Angie has Down syndrome, and Medicaid has allowed Angie to live an independent life. “She has her own apartment, she gets the medical care she needs to thrive, and she has in-home support to keep her safe and healthy when my family can’t be there. She also holds a job and is a tax-paying member of the community.” In Minnesota, Medicaid covers 50% of people with disabilities and 25% of all children. “When you apply that math to the 5.49 million people who live in Minnesota,” said CEO Julie Sjordal, “it results in a staggering amount of individuals being cut off from critical care when they need it most.”
We all share the impact.
Like many four-year-old boys, Kellen loves trains, the zoo and really appreciates a good playground. He also lives with autism and the permanent adverse effects of being exposed to lead before the age of one. “Without early intervention at St. David’s Center, he would still not be able to communicate. Instead, he is talking all the time now!” his grandmother Cindy recently told us. “It’s terrifying to me to think about losing Medicaid,” she said. “The services he needs aren’t always covered or affordable even with private insurance plans. Without Medicaid, I can’t imagine the kinds of limitations he’d face in school and in life longer term.”
But cuts to Medicaid would not only impact children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. Fewer clients would mean St. David’s Center would need fewer staff – which means fewer jobs. “All of our clients access transportation to our program through Medicaid,” said Megan Tierny, Clinical Supervisor of our East African Day Treatment program. “Without Medicaid, we would not be able to provide culturally specific services to children and families with such a high prevalence of autism and unique needs.”
It’s not too late.
Later this month CEO Julie Sjordal will meet with Congressmen Erik Paulsen, member of the House Ways and Means Committee and a key majority vote, to bring to life the impact of Medicaid on the lives of the children and families we serve and urge him to think of Angie, Megan, and Kellan when he votes on tax legislation next year. “When we are healthy, employed, and young, we can’t imagine needing Medicaid. But your circumstances can change in a moment.”
Tell your representatives that you oppose any tax legislation that would result in cuts to Medicaid. Click here for This is Medicaid’s easy guide for calling your Senator.