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DAY FORTY-SEVEN: ADAPT Confronts HHS Secretary Leavitt

Leavitt won't commit in writing.

EDITORS NOTE: Secretary Mike Leavitt is the former Governor of Utah and now heads up the US Department of Health and Human Services. In February of this year he gave a speech "Medicaid: A Time to Act" that seemed to include many progressive ideas absent from Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen's Medicaid proposal. Read Secretary Leavitt's speech "Medicaid: A Time to Act."  

August 5, 2005

A puzzle is superimposed over Mike Leavitt.Secretary of Health and Human Services, HHS, Michael Leavitt said Thursday August 4, “Both President Bush and I, both believe that the institutional bias in Medicaid must end.” He continued by saying, “I fully support the MiCASSA legislation.” While Secretary Leavitt voiced his support of MiCASSA he stopped short of putting that support in writing.

ADAPT of Tennessee confronted Secretary Leavitt on his way in to the first of two meetings in Memphis. Leavitt was in Memphis on Thursday to promote the new Medicare Part D prescription plan. As Leavitt walked by the ADAPTers holding up their MiCASSA and Money Follows the Person signs someone shouted, “We want MiCASSA now!” 

Realizing ADAPT was present Secretary Leavitt made a point to meet with ADAPT representatives between the invite only meeting and the public forum, where Leavitt was handed ADAPT’s demands. 

“He [Leavitt] said that he supports MiCASSA and the demands but he would not commit to putting his support in writing,” said Michael Heinrich. “He talks the talk, now its time to do something.” 

The demands presented to Secretary Leavitt were:

  1. That you write a letter as Secretary of HHS in support of MiCASSA S.B. 401, H.B. 910.
  2. That you write a letter as Secretary of HHS in support of federal Money Follows the Person S.B. 528
  3. In writing you promise to hold a meeting within 6 months, here in Tennessee with Governor Bredesen and ADAPT that is open to people who are aging and people with disabilities, where we will discuss how we want our long term care system to change.

After a few minutes of discussing the issues it was apparent Secretary Leavitt would not commit to putting his support for MiCASSA in writing. “Its real frustrating to hear this man say he supports MiCASSA, yet so unwilling to step up and put that commitment in writing,” said Jeff Smith. After the brief meeting the ADAPTers decided to allow Secretary Leavitt to hold his forum without pushing onward to get a full commitment. 

Activists Demand Real Progress to End Medicaid's Institutional Bias.

Secretary Leavitt,

ADAPT has been working hard for years to change our long term care system, primarily to end the institutional bias in Medicaid. We have begun to hear changes in the way you and others discuss long term care and the need to end the institutional bias, which is a positive step forward. We have yet to see REAL CHANGES.

 If how long term services are delivered is continued to be left up to the states we will see even a larger unbalanced system then we have today. Great injustice is done by allowing some states to continue down such a path as Tennessee has chosen. We want REAL CHOICES. We Want EQUALITY. We DEMAND an equitable system across all state lines.

WE DEMAND:

  1. That you write a letter as Secretary of HHS in support of MiCASSA S.B. 401, H.B. 910. 
  2. That you write a letter as Secretary of HHS in support of federal Money Follows the Person S.B. 528 
  3. In writing you promise to hold a meeting within 6 months, here in Tennessee with Governor Bredesen and ADAPT that is open to people who are aging and people with disabilities, where we will discuss how we want our long term care system to change.

Free Our People!

Randy Alexander 
1633 Madison Avenue 
Memphis TN 38104 
(901) 726-6404

MCIL Journal Index 2005

Follow the TennCare Sit-in

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