This week has been a great one up to this point. I was honored to have the opportunity to hear Secretary Sebelius and Commissioner Sharon Lewis of ADD speak at a public conference yesterday in Baltimore. They gave a very informative presentation about providing support for individuals with disabilities to be able to live independently in the community. The presentation included explanations of different aspects of the heath care bill. I am looking forward to learning more detail about this bill. Particularly the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As I listened to the presentation a couple of thoughts ran through my mind. First, I wondered how the Affordable Care Act will help people with disabilities have access to expensive durable medical equipment like wheelchairs. The price of assistive technology continues to rise as technology advances. Also, this act is defined to extend medicaid eligibility to all Americans below a certain income level. While this may sound like a way of improving lives for many people, I fear that it will also pose new challenges to the disability community and use up tax dollars in areas where they should not be used. My reasoning is that such an extension of medicaid will leave the states to tighten regulations on the income and assets of recipients in order to keep people taking advantage of the system. People with disabilities, particularly those who depend on medicaid waiver for medical benefits, cannot afford such consequences. Tighter regulations by the states will discourage people with disabilities from pursuing college education and employment for fear of losing their medical support. I welcome feedback on these thoughts from anyone. This is an exciting time for advocates to become involved to ensue a productive future for the disability community.
Posted by Zach Holler