Last week the Alabama Legislature voted to slash the Medicaid budget by $156 million. Some will argue that this is needed. “Welfare is out of control”, people “use the system to get by”, “it creates laziness in people”, “it’s only for those who want a free ride”. We have all heard it before. We may have even said a phrase or two a time or two.
Let me just say in case you aren’t aware that Medicaid is not only for the poor. It’s not only for those who choose to not work. Medicaid helps single mothers who have no other financial help coming in. It helps families who are down on their luck. It helps to put food on the table for those who may not otherwise be able to afford it.
It also provides benefits for those with disabilities. My child benefits from Medicaid. Insurance will only pay for a child until they are of a certain age AND as long as they are in college. So, now my daughter has insurance via Medicaid. It doesn’t necessarily allow her to go to the doctors that we would choose, but she is covered. Medicaid also provides her with various services. She has a place to go during the day, caregivers to help throughout the week which helps to foster a sense of independence away from Mom and Dad. If we didn’t have this help, we would have to be looking at a group home situation, which would break our hearts and would cost the government more money.
Because of these cuts, she could possibly lose services. We know how fortunate we have been to have them. We have friends who are on the waiting list and may be for some time. Timing was on our side as we were on the waiting list for 3 years already and extra grant money came in that took a lot of clients off of the waiting list. We do not ignore that this was a huge blessing!!
One of the programs that she attended was free because of a grant. Because of the costs, they lost the grant and now will have to charge for the program. I don’t mind paying for it as it is well worth it and she loves to go but there are others who may not be able to go now because they can’t afford to pay for it.
I understand that cuts are always made to programs. But Senior Citizens and those with disabilities should be the last group to be cut from. They need our help. They need our guidance. They need our support. What are we doing to the least of these?