On April 15, 2011, the House of Representatives passed a budget resolution by a vote of 235 – 193. A budget resolution is not a law but a blueprint for the budget that is eventually developed by both houses of Congress.
The drastic Medicaid cuts and restructuring proposals within the recently passed House Budget Resolution, called The Path to Prosperity would likely, if they became law, deny individuals with disabilities the medical and long-term support services they need to live and work in the community by capping the amount spent on the program. This would lead to “block grants” or “global waivers.”
A block grant is an unrestricted federal grant and would mean that a significantly lower amount of funding would come from the federal government each year. The states would have the discretion to decide who to enroll, what services to provide and who is eligible.
The likely result of capping the amount of funding would be that individuals with disabilities would be forced into institutions as the only option for care. This is unimaginable in this day and age given what we know about the great potential of individuals to live and work in the community and at much less expense to the taxpayers than institutions.
Some of the services, referred to as optional services, funded by Medicaid and the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid waiver programs which could be lost include:
- health insurance coverage
- supports to live in one’s own home including: assistance making decisions, paying bills or other tasks involved in managing a home
- job supports
- speech or language services
- communication aids