That was the main message of Cedar Sinai Park CEO David Fuks’s op-ed in yesterday’s issue of The Oregonian (August 2nd, Metro, p. B7).
Those served by Medicaid are by definition the poorest and most fragile people in our society. They are children growing up in poverty, they are abused children receiving treatment, they are adults with disabilities, and they are elders who, while they had the good fortune to live for a long time, have become ill and spent down their resources in order to pay for health care. These individuals frequently are not in a position to speak up for themselves. Those of us who are advocates and those of us who serve these individuals must speak up for them … and so should everyone else.
Read the full op-ed article →
Gov. Kitzhaber’s proposed budget for the 2011-13 biennium contains a 19% reduction in Medicaid rates for nursing homes, a 16% reduction in community-based care, and a 25% reduction in in-home service hours. These cuts would cause pain and suffering for those who depend on the help of others to survive; as of this writing, the Oregon State Legislature has not mitigated these proposed cuts. Join Cedar Sinai Park in calling on legislators to protect Medicaid rates for our elders!
What Medicaid Cuts Would Mean
Our concern is twofold: first, the proposed cuts are so deep that they would dismantle a system that is very effective in delivering quality, choice, and access; second, no planning has taken place to ascertain or manage the consequences of these cuts on Oregon’s vulnerable elders and disabled citizens. Many states are looking at the Oregon model of evidence-based care with a strong emphasis on home- and community-based services. The cuts would impair this model system and damage the State’s moral position as a provider of last resort for our most fragile and vulnerable citizens.
In providing long-term care, Oregon has depended significantly on providers serving Medicaid-eligible residents at a loss, which they cover through other earner revenues or philanthropy. Severe cuts in Medicaid rates would negatively impact the availability of personal care providers, foster homes, community-based services, and nursing homes. In fact, adopting cuts at the proposed levels would result in the closure of numerous long-term care facilities. Closures would ultimately lead to increase health care costs as seniors and people with special needs lose access to lower tiers of care, causing unnecessary hospital visits and stays.
We believe that the best interests of Oregon’s elders and disabled, many of whom cannot speak for themselves, require a more even-handed approach to the difficult task of balancing Oregon’s state budget. The decisions we make during difficult times must reflect the core of our moral center as State. We cannot balance the budget in a way that causes suffering among our most fragile and vulnerable citizens, who do not have the resilience to survive without our help. We must not devolve to a State that says, “too old… too sick… too bad”.
Join our call for a moral system of care for elders and people with disabilities! We urge you to contact the members of the Human Services Subcommittee of the Oregon State Legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee.
You can use the handy contact form on the Oregon State Legislature website, or find each Subcommittee member’s contact information on their web pages:
Learn more →