I have worked in the human and health services world for close to 42 years. In all those years, I have never seen what is occurring today with respect to the real and potential loss of services and support for those in need. Today, the cornerstone of services and support to individuals who are poor and/or disabled is proposed to be greatly reduced and it will have devastating and long lasting impact to those who rely upon Medicaid. Why this is happening is of great concern.

When you read this, hopefully, Congress has yet to pass a bill changing the current Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the ACA has its issues and problems, to address those problems and issues by proposing close to a $1 trillion dollars in cuts to Medicaid cannot be justified and must not be accepted – and they are cuts…don’t be fooled by anyone suggesting otherwise. As a nation, how can we deny basic health care and support to those who must rely upon such help to live? Medicaid is not a luxury for people..it is a required necessity to live a life where needed support and assistance is provided so an individual can seek a quality of life that he or she deserves. To live a life free of pain. To live a life which doesn’t require you to tell your children who are ill that you can’t take them to the doctor because you can’t afford the cost. To live a life where government basically refuses to help you succeed.

In my position, I must be non partisan. I am, however, able to let people know the impact of proposed legislation. I also have a responsibility of advocating for those we serve. I also can let people know how they can be part of the solution thru advocacy. For the past few months, the Autism Society of America along with local and state Autism Societies, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, The ARC, AUCD and others in the disability world all have been and daily continue to ask our stakeholders to let their congressional representatives and two senators know their individual thoughts on the proposed cuts to Medicaid and changes to health care coverage. We have asked all who agree that these cuts are devastating to let their federal elected officials know that they will be impacted by this bill and politely ask their elected officials to vote no on any changes that are being proposed. This is not about just saying no…rather it is about letting your elected officials know that they work for you and that the solution to a problem is not to have the poor and disabled carry the full load of cuts.

So, after you read this, pick up your phone or go to your computer and contact your federal officials and say to them..”I vote and I don’t forget. I ask that you vote no to any changes in the provision of health care and Medicaid until you can show me (the caller) that they will not impact the life of those who are totally reliant upon Medicaid.” The fundamental role of a democracy is that the citizens of a nation are actively involved in the course of where we go as a nation. Right now, that direction as to how it impacts the poor and those who are disabled is a road that has a quick dead end. We just can’t allow that to happen.