Saturday, June 12, 2010

Funding Cuts

While we were visiting at my mil (and Bil's) home over the Memorial Day weekend, my mil mentioned a letter she had gotten about possible Medicaid cuts.

New York isn't the only state where Medicaid cuts are being proposed.

I want to mention something here about Medicaid.

Too many people think of Medicaid as a program that saavy low income criminals take advantage of, living high off the hog while we middle class workers subsidize their lazy,sponging off the taxpayer lives.

Apart from this (I won't argue if it is or is not a stereotype or a truth) you may not be aware that a lot of people with disabilities depend on Medicaid as a lifeline.  It sometimes isn't much of one, and the system is very broken.

But, without going on Medicaid, as an example, services for developmentally disabled individuals are very hard to come by.

Our introduction to this was about 9 years ago, when we naively contacted the local "ARC" (once called the Association for Retarded Children, this organization has changed its name more than once to keep up with the times - the word "Retarded" being generally considered now in a very negative light) to get a starting point as far as seeing what services might be available for Bil.

At this point in time Bil's parents had never sought to get Bil qualified for Medicaid, considering it a form of "welfare" and not trusting "the government".

What we found out is that the various social services organizations would not provide any services for Bil unless he was on Medicaid.  The way (right or wrong) the system was set up, they could not give him services, even if we paid for them out of our own pockets.

After my father in law died we discovered that Bil was the only person working in his sheltered workshop who was not on Medicaid!

The Medicaid discussion is too complex to talk about in one blog entry, and I am no expert.  But I will say, I wish Bil's parents (my in laws) had taken the steps to get him on Medicaid.  Budgets were already being cut when we made the effort, and it took years.  And now, he may be in danger of losing his medicaid service coordination.

The Medicaid Service Coordination that has gotten him dental services, for one thing.  Bil hadn't seen a dentist for years, and his teeth were in bad shape. 

I will write more about Medicaid Service Coordination at a later date.  And about the trials and tribulations of getting medical and dental care for an individual with autism.  It may not be right away, but one day....

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