Long-Term Health Care Programs For Poor At Risk In Budget Cuts
It was standing room only Tuesday as the House Appropriations Committee discussed the impact of a potential $2.3 billion cut to the state’s health care budget. The proposed cuts would drastically affect the elderly and the disabled, many of whom rely on government programs to receive proper care.
Some residents there to testify against the cuts donned yellow T-shirts that read “Inclusion NOW.” Others distributed large buttons reading, “Do not eliminate the LTC special income level program for Pinecrest,” referring to a state long-term care program for low-income people with developmental disabilities.
Wearing yellow was Ashley McReynolds, a Baton Rouge resident and the mother of a child with a rare genetic disorder who experiences constant feelings of starvation. McReynolds said a waiver from Medicaid income limits was a “lifeline for her family” in caring for their son at home.
“I want each of you to think of a time where you felt like you were starving to death, which might be right now if you have not yet had lunch,” McReynolds said. “For my son, it is worse. It’s more like you have been trapped in a desert for seven days without food or water, and your body is literally feeling like it’s starving to death. This is how Cooper lives every second of every day, 365 days a year.”
The program, called the New Opportunities Waiver, provides services for developmentally disabled individuals so that they may live independently. Its funding would be cut by $13.5 million if Gov. John Bel Edwards’ doomsday budget takes effect.
The program waives the low-income requirement to receive certain Medicaid benefits and has a notoriously long waiting list.