Capitol Correspondence - 07.10.17

NYT Piece Highlights Critical Role of Medicaid for Millions of Americans with Disabilities

Share this page
On July 1, the New York Times published an article titled, “For Millions, Life Without Medicaid Services Is No Option.” The piece highlights the personal care services that Medicaid pays for to assist people with disabilities with activities of daily living (ADLs). The article points out that these types of services are optional under Medicaid law, with states choosing how much to spend on them or whether to offer them at all. Given that states have the option whether to provide these services, they could be scaled back or eliminated to meet budget pressures. Though optional for states to provide, these services are far from “optional” for the people who use them, including Frances Isbell, who was profiled in the article. Without these services, Isbell, a 24 year old who uses a motorized wheelchair due to her spinal muscular atrophy, says that the purpose of the programs she benefits from “is to give people options and freedom.” 
The article goes on to discuss the number of people that receive long-term Medicaid services in the country, including particularly statistics for Alabama, which spends less on average for Medicaid and gets a higher federal share, which puts its program at particular risk from the proposed health care law changes. The article concludes by discussing the importance of Medicaid for family members who rely on the program to allow them to keep their loved ones at home and in the community rather than in nursing homes.