Advocates for Idahoans With Disabilities Warn of 'Devastating' Efforts to Curb Medicaid 

click to enlarge The Consortium for Idahoans with Disabilities warns of "devastating impacts" from Medicaid funding caps. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • The Consortium for Idahoans with Disabilities warns of "devastating impacts" from Medicaid funding caps.
Framed by signs reading, "Save My Care" and "Don't Increase My Health Care Costs," advocates for Idahoans with disabilities shared their concerns Wednesday that changes to Medicaid could threaten the most vulnerable men, women and children in the state.

"Medicaid is complicated. Who knew?" said Steve Graci, executive director of the Idaho Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health. "Look, the Idaho Medicaid office is doing an amazing job with what they have to do and what they have to do it with."

Graci, standing alongside members of the Consortium for Idahoans with Disabilities in the shadow of the Idaho Capitol, said advocates are increasingly concerned about federal proposals for "block granting" Medicaid funding, which would in turn cap those funds and ultimately reduce funding for services.

"The proposed American Health Care Act may not be on the table at the moment," said DisAbility Rights Idaho Executive Director Jim Baugh, referring to the recent Trump White House proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare.

"But we're worried about that proposal and future proposals that all point to Medicaid block grants, and that's a direct threat to people with disabilities in Idaho," he said.

Standing nearby was Ian Bott, 33, whose diagnosis puts him on the Autism spectrum and requires Medicaid-funded services.

"If I didn't have Medicaid, I couldn't have my home care. I might not have my transportation to my job or to my school. I absolutely need Medicaid for my weekly therapy," said Bott, who works at a local Albertson's as a courtesy clerk and is studying communications and leadership at Boise State University. "We're talking about human lives, and we're here today asking Idaho's congressional delegation to protect our care and reject cuts to Medicaid."

The call to action Wednesday was designed to reach out to more citizens so they can communicate to U.S. lawmakers—currently on a spring recess—and engage in the coming health care debate in Washington, D.C.

"So, today we're calling on Idaho's congressional delegation to stand up for Idahoans and reject those efforts to cap and cut Medicaid," said Mike Skelton, CID's current board president.
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