Medicare and Medicaid have played a critical role in the lives and the futures of roughly 100 million children, adults, and seniors with disabilities. While Medicare is a program for retirees and individuals who are on social security disability insurance, Medicaid is a benefit program that provides healthcare services to people with low incomes. Medicaid is the nation’s primary health insurance program for persons with disabilities and low-income populations. The program currently covers 60 million low-income Americans including nearly 30 million low-income children, 15 million adults and 8 million non-elderly people with disabilities. The Medicaid expansion in health reform is projected to reduce the ranks of the uninsured by millions of people with the federal government picking up the vast majority of the cost.
This is why Medicaid matters to the Epilepsy Foundation and people with epilepsy. Medicaid increases access to care using private providers, securing access to health care and nursing homes for our nation's most vulnerable populations -- those living in poverty level and many with complicated medical needs. One example of our commitment to Medicaid can be seen at the Epilepsy Foundation of Metropolitan New York. They are in their 41st year of providing comprehensive social services to people with epilepsy and their families, approximately 65% who rely on Medicaid for a wide range of medical services and other supports.
At the Epilepsy Foundation we are deeply concerned that current proposals to reduce Medicaid funding will lead to reduced access to care and endanger the lives and families of those who depend on this health care coverage. People with epilepsy coulld be denied the type of care and prompt access to treatment that is required to treat their seizures and help prevent injury or loss of life.
Medicaid also matters to state budgets. Medicaid is the largest source of federal funds to the states as federal dollars match state contributions in a funding partnership, fueling the economic activity in the states. Particularly during economic downturns, if available funding does not keep pace with the need, medical and social services in general will be reduced with resources going to only the most severe. More and more people with epilepsy, many who need help but are not so neurologically impaired that they are need an institutional level of care, could fall through the funding cracks and lose the help they need.
What can you do? Speak UP about why covering people through Medicaid is good for our nation and our communities. Call your member of congress this week and tell them that while looking at deficit reduction, not to balance the budget on the backs and health of those in need.
Read about the Brandt family and others who travelled to the White House to speak up and speak out about why Medicaid matters to their family:
Read about Medicaid & the Uninsured: http://www.kff.org/medicaid/upload/8239.pdf