Dec 26, 2011

Tallahassee Scrooges - Letter to the edeitor of Tampa bay online from Carol Novak of Clearwater Fl

Just a few weeks before Christmas, Gov. Rick Scott released his budget proposing another drastic reduction in funding for the Medicaid waiver that provides medically necessary services to vulnerable people with developmental disabilities.
Then, he had his director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities announce two weeks ago that substantial cuts to consumers' services will begin in January in the area from Tampa Bay to Fort Myers.

If Gov. Scrooge has his way, up to 67 percent of Floridians with developmental disabilities will have essential services cut.

Even in this tough economy, Scott and most legislators lack the courage to cut even a little of the $300 million the state gives out each year to "double-dippers." On the other hand, it doesn't take any courage at all for them to cut funds for vulnerable people — something that Scott and the Legislature have done again and again.

Less than half of the funding for Medicaid waiver services is state money. The remainder is federal matching funds. At a time of high unemployment, these drastic cuts to waiver consumers' services will result in increased unemployment. I guess "Let's get to work" doesn't apply in the case of providing caregivers to vulnerable people whose lives depend on long-term care services.

Medicaid waiver services are the cheapest long-term care. Underfunding waiver services to people with developmental disabilities will ultimately force these vulnerable people into more costly long-term care settings.

This letter is from Carol Novak
of Clearwater Florida