For Immediate Release

 

ADAPT

February 26, 2005
For more information, contact:
Bob Kafka (512) 431-4085
Marsha Katz (406) 544-9504

Media Advisory: Medicaid Reform, Oscar, Eastwood and the Fight to Stay Alive


WHO: CMS Administrator Mark McClellan and ADAPT, the national grassroots disability rights organization

WHAT: Press Event on Medicaid Reform

WHEN: 11:00 a.m., Sunday, February 27, 2005

WHERE: Discovery I and II Meeting Rooms, Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C Street S.W., Washington, D.C.

WHY: CMS Administrator Mark McClellan meets with ADAPT Sunday morning to talk about real reform in the nation’s Medicaid funded long term care system. On the table will be moving forward federal initiatives like” Money Follows the Person” (from institutional setting to community); enhanced federal Medicaid match for states to provide community-based services; amending the Home Health Program rules to provide for more consumer direction; and how the federal government can encourage, and assist states, if requested, to enact and implement their own “Money Follows the Person” legislation/policy until Congress passes the federal version.

“Better Dead than Disabled!” is the message being heard Sunday in Hollywood at the 2005 Oscars in movies like Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, and The Sea Inside. Meanwhile, back in the real America, millions of people with disabilities and those who are aging are fighting to stay alive and in their homes and communities in the face of unprecedented cuts in the nation’s institutionally biased Medicaid program.

“When the federal government slashes Medicaid, states do their own slashing at the local level, and those slashes are at least double because the federal government matches every state dollar with $1 to $3 more” said Samuel Mitchell, ADAPT Organizer from Atlanta, Georgia, the home state of the U.S. Supreme Court “Olmstead” decision. “And in the face of those cuts no amount of so-called “flexibility” for states will prevent them from forcing people out of their homes into nursing homes and other institutions. That’s because right now, “home and community-based services” are considered “optional” in the federal Medicaid regulations, and when cuts are made, the first to go on the chopping block are those so-called optional services.”

In addition to the event with McClellan, ADAPT will be pressing the National Governors Association (NGA) on Medicaid reform this week. The Governors are in town for their winter meeting, and on Tuesday will consider a resolution Gov. Rendell (PA) promised ADAPT protestors at the NGA annual meeting in Seattle in July 2004. The resolution would formally establish NGA support of home and community based services for persons with disabilities and older Americans.

Providing the care that lets people live at home if they want is less expensive than providing nursing home care. It frees up resources that can help other people. And obviously, many people are happier living at home.

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54 million Americans have some level of disability, 26 million people have a severe disability. [Current Population Reports. U.S. Department of Commerce - Census Bureau. Aug. 1997 p. 70-61]

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