Letters: Oppose cuts in new health care reform proposal

To the editor:

More than 42,000 of Indiana’s poorest and frailest residents rely on Medicaid for long-term services and supports that allow them to live and age at home with dignity, safety and maximum independence.

This is why we at Thrive Alliance are expressing our grave concerns and ask Sens. Todd Young and Joe Donnelly — and all who have a heart for these most at-risk Hoosiers — to oppose any health care reform proposal that makes significant changes and cuts to Medicaid.

The Better Care Reconciliation Act proposes significant changes and cuts to Medicaid by capping the federal government’s participation with states. Contrary to what most people believe, Medicaid is the primary payer of long-term services and supports, which also comprise the largest portion of Medicaid expenditures. Medicare does NOT pay for these services long-term.

Many Hoosiers impacted by these proposed changes are currently able to live and age safely and independently in their own home or in community-based settings.

Some are children like Ian, who was born with spina bifida and is confined to a wheelchair. Thanks to Medicaid funded services, he is able to attend his local school, play sports and enjoy friends of all types just like other children his age.

Others, like Mary, reside in nursing facilities. Mary has dementia and requires 24-hour supervision. Lacking someone to care for her at home, it’s just not safe for her to live alone anymore.

Drastically cutting Medicaid — which is the nation’s only guaranteed and largest provider of long-term care services, including care provided at home and in the community — will undermine the health, independence and economic security of millions of older adults, people with disabilities and their caregivers.

Thrive Alliance, along with our sister Area Agencies on Aging throughout Indiana, links Hoosiers who are elderly and disabled with the most intimate types of care. We know how devastating it will be to the safety, health and well-being of these Medicaid members if their long-term care is put at risk.

Within the next four years of this administration, nearly 15 million Americans will turn age 65. By 2030, 1.44 million Hoosiers — or 1 in 5 — will be 65 or older. With more Americans living longer, we should be investing in our safety net programs at a time like this, not cutting them.

As Congress moves forward in debating important solutions to health care, we encourage them to take the time necessary to engage in a bipartisan process that addresses current challenges and rejects any proposal that would jeopardize essential long-term care for older adults and people with disabilities.

Mark Lindenlaub, executive director, Thrive Alliance

Send letters to newsroom@bcdemocrat.com by noon Thursday before the date of intended publication (noon Wednesday on holiday weeks).

Letters are the opinions of the writer.

Letters must be signed by the author and include the writer’s town of residence and a contact number in case of questions. Only one letter every two weeks, per writer, to allow for diversity of voices in the opinions section.

Please be considerate of sharing space with other letter-writers and keep your comments concise and to the point.

Avoid name-calling, accusations of criminal activity and second- and third-hand statements of “fact.”