AtWork!’s CEO Chris Brandt speaks with Bill Radke from KUOW’s “The Record” about the impacts cuts in Medicare would mean to people with disabilities.
“People think of Medicaid as health care, and for people with disabilities, it’s way beyond that.”
Chris explained that half of the funding for services that people with disabilities need, such as residential, family support, respites, employment support, community access support comes from Medicaid funds that are matched with state dollars – services that are not medical. Without this federal match, the state is left to fund 100% of the services, which means thousands of people with disabilities will have to find funding for services they need to remain in their communities. But where would they get it?
“Many people don’t realize that (Medicaid) is the largest funder in our country for long term support for people in addition to the health care (benefits) it provides,” Chris said.
This means that the 700-800 students with intellectual and developmental disabilities that graduate every year in our state are likely to be without support services if Medicaid is cut. This is in addition to the already 15,000 people waiting for services.
Chris also spoke about the Cost-Benefit of funding these services through Medicaid.
“When people get the support they need, they cost society less, they contribute and they pay more taxes.”
With the right support, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities may even have the chance to support themselves without relying on the system, thereby costing states less.
“Wa state leads the country in placing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in jobs, but we are also one of the states that’s really low on the list in the amount we invest in people…”
Without support, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities could cost the state hundreds of thousands by living in institutions.
As innovative thinkers, AtWork! pushes past the thought of sheltering people with disabilities in institutions and sheltered employment. Instead, AtWork! continues to put people first by supporting people with disabilities and creating jobs based on their talents and interests so that they can be contributing members of their community.
The vote on the ACA didn’t happen today, but Medicaid is under scrutiny. Keep informed.
To learn more about how employment services has changed the lives of people with disabilities, see the video below of AtWork!’s Employer of the Year from 2016.
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