For New Yorkers, Life Without Medicaid is Not an Option

Posted on 07/11/2017

On July 1st, The New York Times published an article, “For Millions, Life Without Medicaid Services is No Option.”  The bill Senate Republicans have put forward includes a deep and dangerous $800 billion cut to Medicaid. Almost five million people in New York rely on Medicaid for healthcare. The letter below speaks to the significant impact of this proposed legislation. To add your voice of concern for this bill, repost this message.

The national healthcare debate has largely centered on the structure and future of Medicaid, the backbone of healthcare for more than 74 million Americans. The proposed cuts to Medicaid will have a devastating impact on millions of people who are disabled.  As the operator of one of the largest Managed Long Term Care plans in New York State, as well as a provider of medical, behavioral, education and rehabilitative services to people who are blind and have multiple disabilities, Lighthouse Guild knows firsthand that what some in Congress consider optional services are basic necessities of life for many Americans.   

As a result of the proposed changes, states like New York would have to either make up for lost federal funding, or very significantly curtail their Medicaid spending by reducing eligibility, cutting payment rates to health care plans and providers or eliminating health services currently covered. People who are blind or have other disabilities would lose vital services.

The debate continues, statistics are cited and algorithms are reviewed.   But it is imperative to remember that Medicaid is not a distant program for nameless or faceless individuals.  Medicaid is for the former New York City bus driver who became blind due to diabetes, it is for elderly retired couple who have been married for 50 years and now require home healthcare.  It’s for the young woman who is visually impaired and needs to learn Braille so she can continue her education and enter the work force. It is for real people across America who rely on it to lead dignified and productive lives.

 

Alan R. Morse, JD PHD

President and CEO, Lighthouse Guild