The U.S. Senate is moving toward a plan to cut and cap the Medicaid program, which will be devastating to people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. There are approximately 967,000 Missourians, or 13 percent of the state’s population, who rely on Medicaid for their health insurance. This includes people with disabilities, children, seniors and pregnant women. The proposed cuts may impact the 159,480 people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid for long-term and community-based care.
Currently, Missouri receives over $650 million in federal funds for support and services that help individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Over the last two decades, funding for home- and community-based services has grown because of widespread bipartisan support. These services have had bipartisan support because disability knows no political, geographical, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries.
The Senate is considering the same $830 billion cut to the Medicaid program as was passed by the House. We fear that because home- and community-based services are optional, they will be cut first if confronted with this reduced federal commitment. States may return to outdated modes of serving people with disabilities, congregating individuals in facilities with inadequate staffing and no real-life opportunities.
The proposed Medicaid caps would effectively cut $3 billion of federal funding for Missouri over a 10-year period. If this occurs, Missouri will have to absorb costs or cut services.
Please call Missouri’s Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill and insist they continue providing health care and support to persons with disabilities.
Mark A. Keeley • St. Louis
President and CEO, St. Louis Arc