Today, November offers up a beautiful fall day. The temperature hovers at a lovely sixty-five degrees. Soft, faded pink hydrangeas bounce on a gentle breeze. I am sitting in the sun at a local coffee shop in the garden of falling leaves. This moment feels like the warm before the storm. Our first measurable snowfall in Denver may come tomorrow. A winter storm does not worry me, but the election on November 8th indeed concerns me.
I am not alone. Election anxiety is rising as the leaves and snowflakes fall across the country.
There are many reasons for concern. Social issues are on the ballot. Economic worries are real, and the impact of Medicaid and Social Security cuts could also directly impact Mikelle and me.
The last time Republicans had control over Congress, we nearly lost half of our funding for Medicaid. Thanks to the late Senator John McCain, that did not happen, but will it happen this go around? Polls show that Dems could lose the House of Representatives and the Senate. If the GOP takes control of Congress this time, they plan to go back to their game plan of cutting these essential services.
Today, the GOP threatens to upend our current system, which works surprisingly well for many Americans with disabilities. If you forgot the tense moment when one vote saved our Medicaid, let me refresh your memory. On March 6th, 2017, Congress removed the “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” from its locked down secret location and revealed the GOP plan for healthcare to the world. Unfortunately, it appears there is a bullseye target on both Medicare and Social Security, and rumors abound Medicaid will be caught up in the commotion.
The announcement has many of us scratching our heads, wondering if Medicaid services were destined to be cut nearly in half. But unfortunately, the answer still needs to be clarified.
We know that Congress is swiftly moving on a new plan, and some say Medicaid will be changed, possibly moving toward Block Grants. Unfortunately, word on the street is that this could mean a 50% cut in services for Medicaid recipients in Colorado.
I do not know your journey as a special needs parent, but I am familiar with the steps you take. For most of you, Medicaid is the lifeblood of your family’s support system for your special needs child.
And, with the scratch point of a pen on a hallowed white document, all you have come to know here in Colorado may disappear.
This pen stuck swiftly in the limestone dome of the state of Texas capital building under a low December sun, and Texas legislators signed away important therapies critical for young developing bodies begging for physical and occupational therapies.
What would happen if these cuts were to go through?
Institutional care would not return, but current services could not remain intact. Troubled by staff shortages and diminished provider capacity, we most likely would see parents forced to leave work to care for family members resulting in an increasing economic impact on families and communities. As a result, problems that exist today would deepen and impact more families.
I remember a time without Medicaid. I was a single working mother of two. For the first eleven years of Mikelle’s young life, we received no Medicaid, and our medical insurance refused to pay for any costs relating to her disability. However, Mikelle never went without what she needed to progress. She had a mom who was mighty in her fundraising efforts to pay for wheelchairs, communication devices, and therapies. While many good things came from continual fundraising, it was exhausting.
Today, I appeal to your survival instincts and ask you to awaken your quiet voices, for it is time to VOTE for Medicaid doe Social Security for your family and mine.
November 8th, 2022, determines our future. VOTE for legislators who support our young children, our school-age children, and our adult children to have Medicaid services.