Grand compromise? Might not be so grand for low-income people with disabilities.
Posted on July 13, 2011 by Kirsten Dunham
The negotiations continue on raising the debt ceiling and reducing the deficit. A coalition of Missourians representing the faith community, people with disabilities, retirees, labor, working families, farmers and federal employees have been working the last month to put pressure on Missouri’s Senators to oppose cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and federal workers and take a balanced approach that includes closing corporate loop holes and ending tax cuts.
On June 17th, 200 Missourians rallied outside Senator McCaskill’s office to ask her to stand strong against cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and federal workers. Pastors spoke about the budget as a moral document. Individuals spoke about how Medicaid gave them the attendant services and durable medical equipment needed to live independently and work. A delegation representing people with disabilities, the faith community, federal employees and working families met with Senator McCaskill. She said that she would work to make sure that the “most vulnerable” would be protected but it is unrealistic to say there would be no cuts or changes to the programs just as it is to say there can be no revenue options on the table.
July 7, over 200 of us rallied again, this time outside Senator Blunt’s office. Senator Blunt voted for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in the Ryan Plan and his constituents wanted to let him know that they thought he was wrong. Again there were speakers talking about the importance of those programs and calling for a balanced approach to budget negotiations. A small team representing the community, faith leaders and labor delivered messages to Senator Blunt’s office. People had signed large placards asking Missouri’s Senators to oppose cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and federal workers and instead take a balanced approach. Senator Blunt’s staff said they would pass the message on to the Washington D.C. office.
Advocates are also focused on the White House where the President has been hosting the budget negotiation meetings the last few days. The President’s proposal to cut $100 billion would reduce the money that states would get from the federal government and shift costs to the states. States that are already experiencing budget crises would likely shift those costs to providers and cuts would harm participants. Read more about the proposal here.
We’ve talked a lot about not cutting Medicaid. The people who get their health insurance through Medicaid are poor. In Missouri, you have to live at 85% of the poverty level to receive much needed health care and personal attendant services. We have an urgent message to the White House and Congress that Medicaid should not be cut. Medicaid is essential to the well-being of many Missourians with disabilities. We can continue to call on Senators McCaskill and Blunt and the President to take a balanced approach to reducing the national debt.