STUDY: REPUBLICAN PLAN WOULD CHOP MEDICAID BY $1.7 TRILLION

By PHIL GALEWITZ, KAISER HEALTH NEWS
October 25, 2012

The House Republican plan to repeal President Barack Obama’s health law and turn Medicaid into a block grant program would save the federal government $1.7 trillion from 2013 to 2022, a 38-percent spending reduction,according to a report this week by the Urban Institute for the Kaiser Family Foundation.

 

It would also result in 31 million to 38 million fewer people getting  Medicaid coverage in 2022, according to the report. The entitlement program, which is jointly financed by the state and federal governments, now provides health coverage to about 62 million poor people, about half of whom are children.

THIS MIGHT HURT A LITTLE BIT

The block grant idea — paying a fixed sum to states — was formulated by Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate and chair of the House Budget committee, and passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in 2011 and 2012. The strategy is part of the GOP plan to cut the nation’s $1 trillion federal deficit.

 

Romney backs a similar Medicaid block grant strategy that would cut $100 billion a year from Medicaid starting in 2013. Under Romney’s plan, federal payments to the states for Medicaid would grow at 1 percentage point a year above the Consumer Price Index. That would slow funding increases, but give states greater freedom in how they use the money, including the ability to cut eligibility or benefits to meet their budget needs. Today, the federal government sets minimum rules and guidelines and must approve any major changes to the program.

 

The Urban Institute analysis, which updates an analysis originally done in May 2011, said the House block grant plan would cut funding to hospitals by as much as $363.8 billion, and payments to nursing homes by $22.2 billion.

DISABLED FOLKS ARE LIABLE TO BE HURT THE MOST

Of the $1.7 trillion cut to Medicaid spending, $932 billion of the reductions come from repealing the Medicaid expansion in Obama’s health law and $810 billion is a result of spending cuts that are part of the block grant.

 

Under the health law, Medicaid would expand to cover as many as 17 million more people starting in 2014. States have the option to decide whether to expand eligibility, and several Republican-led states including Florida and Texas say they can’t afford the expansion.

 

This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

 

To read the article source, click here:
http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/10/25/study-republican-chop-medicaid/16733/

Another source of information:  http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/08/is-medicaid-doomed-how-ryans-plan-would-affect-americas-very-poorest/261070

6th HEALTHY LIVING SUMMIT — BIG SUCCESS IN REDDING

For the 6th consecutive year, the Redding area has benefited from a community event called the Healthy Aging Summit.  This year the event continued under the primary sponsorship of the Independent Living Services of Northern California, led by Pam Thomason, Senior Specialist.  Under her direction, the Summit assumed an emphasis on promoting vision health for seniors 55 and over.

The core organizing was done with a committee composed of Pam, Deborah Uhl, Independent Living Specialist at ILSNC, Melinda Santos from Prevent Blindness and a community volunteer.  Additional help came from the Redding chapter of AARP, previous primary sponsors of the event, and the Opportunity Center, who assisted with the mailings.  We were able to use the Shasta Senior Nutrition building, a convenient setting for seniors.

Prominent local healthcare professionals provided expert advice to the seniors.  Robert Fox, MD in Ophthalmology, was a featured speaker.  Along with Dr. Fox, the staff from the Family Medical Eye Center was present, along with their optometrist, to provide full vision screenings.  Other speakers included Kristi Schaible on the impacts of smoking and how to quit, plus Joanne Tippin, RD, MS, on nutrition to enhance vision health.  Each of the speakers was excellent and had very good audience participation.

Along with the speakers, there were other medical screenings provided.  Memory screenings were provided by Willow Springs Alzheimer’s Care CenterHearing tests were provided by the Redding Hearing Institute.

Our 26 vendors ranged from A (Adaptive Technology) to S (Social Security).  The most popular attractions were the dogs from the Shasta County chapter of Guide Dogs for the Blind, led by Cathy Koch and Riviera, who brought along her human companion, Betty Millar.

(From Left to Right) Evan LeVang, Executive Director of ILSNC, Jan Blood of AARP & Pam Thomason of ILSNC

As the host agency, ILSNC alerted the Redding community to our services.  Vision Resource and Assistive Technology were big draws to the participants. The Vision Resource booth was able to receive 23 new consumers. We had 225 attendees, lunch was provided and we had four free drawings. The feedback from the event has been outstanding.  ILSNC is quite pleased with the results.  A good time was had by all. The entire event was free of charge.  We look forward to producing this event next year.

REDDING VISION FAIR 2012

The Redding office of ILSNC will be hosting our 2012 Vision Resource Expo in conjunction with the Healthy Aging Summit on Friday, October 12 from 9 AM to 1 PM.  Join us at the Shasta Senior Nutrition Center, 100 Mercy Oaks Drive.  This is a FREE event, lunch is included.  For further information, call 242-8550.

Speakers include Drs. Robert Fox, MD and Adam Bowen, MD plus Michelle Woods, RN and Joanne Trippin, MS.  Click on the blue link below for the flyer with all of the details.  See you there!

Redding Vision Fair 2012

GOV. BROWN SIGNS ADA REFORM BILL

Business Groups are Thrilled;
Disability Advocates are Unhappy

In a rare bipartisan action, the Legislature and Governor Brown worked together to craft new legislation in an attempt to move the state forward in bringing more businesses into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  SB 1186, co-sponsored by Senate President Darrel Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Senator Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) was passed with overwhelming support from both parties and signed by the Governor in September.

The major provisions of SB 1186 are:

  • bans “demand for money” letters,

  • requires attorneys to send a notice letter at least 30 days before filing a lawsuit

  • prevents “stacking” of multiple claims to increase monetary damages

  • significantly reduces damages against business owners who correct alleged violations within 60 days of receiving a complaint

  • requires landlords to disclose whether their buildings or properties are state-certified and in compliance with ADA laws

“We are extremely pleased that Gov. Brown recognized that disabled access lawsuits are out of control and that change was needed,” said Kim Stone, president of the Civil Justice Association of California, an industry-sponsored advocacy group.

“This bill should provide some relief to small business owners who are making good faith efforts to comply and it should help rein in unscrupulous plaintiffs’ lawyers who have been exploiting the Americans with Disabilities Act for financial gain,” Stone said.

Sen. Steinberg said SB 1186 is a compromise that applies a “common sense approach” to resolve difficult issues.

“The whole point of our state and federal disability access laws is to remove barriers for the disabled, giving them full and equal access to businesses like everyone else. Up until now, unfortunately, it was often cheaper and quicker for business owners to settle out of court than to remove those obstacles,” he said.  “SB 1186 will instead provide more incentives to fix the violations and enhance accessibility.”

While acknowledging many good points in the new law, representatives from Californians for Disability Rights were concerned with several provisions.  Businesses can now claim ‘good faith’ attempts to comply with the ADA in new and remodeled projects that fail to meet standards.  In so doing, they will be given reduced penalties and additional time when they may have failed to consult with professionals versed in the ADA prior to attempting modifications.  These reduced penalties may work to incentivize non-compliance.

Since the passage of the ADA in 1990, 50% tax credits have been available to encourage businesses to move forward with providing the legally required access to disabled people.  Businesses and government have had 22 years to move into compliance.  With such a high level of financial support and 22 years since passage of the ADA, advocates rightly want to know the fundamental question, “If not now, when?”

Disability advocates are concerned that business interests are using this issue of alleged “renegade attorneys” to disguise core opposition to the ADA itself. “If you can’t criticize the law, then go after the attorneys,” said Tony Goldsmith, civil rights attorney and member of the legislative committee of Californians for Disability Rights.

At the bottom of the food chain are the people living with disabilities who sincerely wish to experience full access to all the U. S. has to offer.  To conflate the issue of the actions of a few attorneys with the desire of disabled people to assert their rights is to risk diminishing public support for the requirements of the ADA.  People living with disabilities also want to experience freedom and independence.  Enforcement of the ADA is essential to the realization of the dream.
The independent living movement takes this issue seriously.  We hope that the compromise worked out in this law translates into moving many more businesses into providing the full access required by the ADA as envisioned by the authors of the law.

The bill is an urgency measure, meaning it will take effect immediately.

DOMESTIC WORKERS BILL OF RIGHTS VETOED

In what may be a victim of election season politics, a landmark bill dubbed “The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights,” Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s AB 889 at the last minute on Sunday 9/30/12, stalling efforts to provide common workplace protections to workers – mostly women – who have historically labored without guarantees of overtime or meal breaks.

It needs to be pointed out that sincere efforts were made to ensure that the rights of disabled people employing their own assistants would not be harmed in the process of granting rights to domestic workers in other situations.  “We worked very hard to make sure that the employers, as well as the workers and the disability rights community who ended up removing opposition, were heard in producing this bill,” Ammiano said.

“It’s long overdue for these workers to get these rights,” Ammiano said. “Almost everyone else has had them for decades. There will be new efforts to bring them protections, but we must always remember that justice delayed is justice denied.”

The bill, AB 889, was the product of months of work and negotiation, culminating with a late agreement that would have sent the matter to the Department of Industrial Relations for formulation of regulations.

California would have been the second state to enact labor protections for domestic workers. New York enacted a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in 2010.  The California bill was supported by more than 100 labor, women’s, faith and community groups including National Domestic Worker Alliance, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, CHIRLA, NAACP, AFL-CIO, and Pilipino Workers Center, and has received prominent endorsements from The New York Times and “Parks and Rec” celebrity Amy Poehler.

Click HERE for a link to the entire bill.  The Governor’s veto message can be viewed HERE.