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November 28, 2011

More Activism on Community Living

Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin and Republican Sen. Cathy McNorris Rodgers want Congress to reexamine their view on Medicaid and community living and make it more effective for people with physical/mental challenges.  They feel that many current laws leave people with fewer options to reside in their community.  The debate continues although a courtcase determined that people with physical/mental challenges have a right to choose their residence.

The politicians stated that the budget for community living could be less rather than living in mental facilities.  In 2009, the cost yearly for someone living in a mental facility was approximately $137,000.  The cost of living in the community for the same year was around $44,000.

“Today, as we seek ways to reduce budget deficits, we must seize on the opportunity to make our Medicaid dollars go farther while finally giving millions of individuals with disabilities one of the most fundamental of rights: the choice to live independently. If Medicaid cuts are not done in a thoughtful manner, however, they will have disastrous consequences and will lead to systemic civil rights violations,” the lawmakers warned.

This debate is happening at a controversial period for Medicaid.  Billions of dollars in funding are quickly ending causing slashes in the Medicaid coverage.  Political figures are thinking of ways to make adjustments to the program to reduce the US budget.

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