Friday, February 3, 2017

Budget Cuts in a New Age

I am not a happy person today.

I had another post planned for today, but something on Facebook caught my eye.  "Katie Beckett waivers in danger" it read.  Although these programs are not called Katie Beckett waivers in New York State, where we live, they work much the same way.

A waiver called the Home and Community based waiver allows my brother in law, who is developmentally disabled, to live outside an institution, and to obtain services paid for by a program called Medicaid.  Without these programs, he would probably sit in his room all day and watch TV, unless my husband (who works) or his other brother, are available to take him places.

He lives with his mother, who is close to 90, and no longer drives.  Her mobility is limited, too. We don't know how much longer she will be able to take care of him.  (I need to add that she wants her disabled son living with him.  In many ways, he is her life).

Changes are coming for "Bil" and they are not good. 

Our new President reminds me of a practice that used to take place in World War II, in the days when radar was new.  Fighter pilots, if they knew they were being tracked, would release material (pieces of aluminum foil, I think) that would scatter the radar and the people tracking them would be totally confused.  Back in those days, they called it "tin foil".

This is what is happening now.  Our new President throws up lots of things into the air.  The media, and the citizens, don't know what to believe and what not to believe.

Yesterday, for instance, in a prayer breakfast, our President criticized the new host of the TV show he had to give up because he was President.  The new host isn't getting the same ratings as our President did.  Give him his due - Trump is a master showman.  But the new host is not a slouch, either - he used to be a governor of California.

Tinfoil.

Under the radar, my brother in law may be losing a waiver that allows him to get some benefits.  One of these is a day program I have blogged about before.  He has made great strides in this program.  Last month, we found out he might have made enough strides that he would no longer be eligible for the program.  The program director fought to keep him in the program, and succeeded, at least for now.  She was 100% certain that, without the supports of the program, my brother in law would quickly backslide.

He has been in this program a little over a year and the changes in his behavior are obvious..

Now, changes being proposed by Trump and his advisors are going to change the way the federal government helps to pay for Medicaid.  There will be a lot less money available.

And, oh yes. My mother in law voted for Trump.  ("Bil" did not.)

She thought, oh, the government would never do anything to hurt Bil.

How could she be so naive?

It's been a long time since I've ranted on this blog, but my feelings are pretty raw right now.  My husband and I had to fight just to get him on Medicaid.  My father in law had always brushed off our attempts to make sure Bil was taken care of, saying "everything is taken care of."  When he died, nearly 20 years ago, we found that wasn't the case at all.

Neither he nor his mother ever went to court to become official guardians of Bil.  So that fell to my husband, who is Bil's oldest sibling.

My mother in law's aging is the elephant in the room, an expression we like to use in the United States to talk about something obvious that no one wants to talk about.  The issue sits in the room while everyone pretends it doesn't exist.

From time to time, Bil becomes the elephant in the room, too.

And we are coming closer to the time when his Mom will no longer be able to care for him.  And we, we are getting older ourselves, as are Bil's two other siblings.  We are older than Bil.  We won't be around forever, either.

But with the Medicaid cuts we are now expecting thanks to the Trump administration, we may not have much help with Bil's housing needs, either.

He has already expressed that he wishes to live alone. But he won't be able to do that without support.

A LOT of support.

Support that costs money.

The irony of this all is that there have been rumors that Trump's youngest son (who is 10) has autism.  I don't know if that's true, and I don't speculate about it.  It is only the business of President Trump and his wife.  He has no duty to make his private life public, and I will not speculate about this.  But, if there was any truth to this, it would really be...

What?

The rich get richer, and the rest of us get hurt.

That is our new world here in the United States, and I can't help but be upset over this.

This has been a 20 minute free writing exercise for #FridayReflections. All I did was correct several typos due to the speed at which I had to type and add a link so you could learn more about Katie Beckett Waivers.



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3 comments:

  1. You're a brave woman. I don't know how anyone could vote for Trump, but I keep my thoughts to myself. We'd love to visit over there, but I dunno about during the next four years. Totally sucks that Bil loses his medicaid entitlements. Ugh. Hope writing it out helped a little.

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    1. Thank you. If I'm brave, it's the bravery of the person who has no other choice. Thank you for your good thoughts. We don't know yet what will happen to Bil and his Medicaid, but people who think of "welfare queens" don't know anything about how much people with certain disabilities (and elderly who need nursing homes) depend on that safety net. Getting off of soapbox. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Oh I don't blame you for having a rant! We have to watch him from the other end of the world and that's bad enough. I can't imagine what it must be like to have him for president. Although, having said that, our pollies are pretty awful too! The current government we have is a conservative/right-wing government although the PM is moderate. Most of his party though, I'm sure supports Trump. It's a scary world and it sucks that as a powerful person, he preys on the weak and those in need! Thanks for linking up! I hope this was cathartic

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