It will take courage to pro­tect peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties from Med­i­caid cuts

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - Join the de­bate at wash­ing­ton­­cal-opin­ions

The July 27 news ar­ti­cle “Fam­i­lies strug­gle amid cuts to ser­vices for dis­abled,” about the dan­gers of Med­i­caid cuts for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties in Mis­sis­sippi and across the coun­try, il­lus­trated a crit­i­cal na­tional is­sue but missed the story closer to home.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2016 study, there are nearly 9,000 peo­ple with in­tel­lec­tual or de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties in the Dis­trict, and they are un­der a dual fund­ing threat. One of those threats af­fects the just-un­der 2,000 peo­ple now re­ceiv­ing sup­ports via the Dis­trict’s lim­ited IQ-based dis­abil­ity pro­gram who would be hit di­rectly by the ill­con­sid­ered cuts to Med­i­caid un­der dis­cus­sion in the House and Se­nate. The other threat is the chill­ing ef­fect of the na­tional cli­mate on the prospects to ex­pand el­i­gi­bil­ity for dis­abil­ity ser­vices to the far larger num­ber of peo­ple with autism or other con­di­tions who do not fit the out­moded def­i­ni­tion of dis­abil­ity based on IQ score. Sus­tained po­lit­i­cal courage is needed from lo­cal of­fi­cials, and sup­port from af­fected fam­i­lies, to pass leg­is­la­tion that will right this long-ne­glected in­jus­tice. Carol Grigsby, Wash­ing­ton The writer serves on D.C.’s De­vel­op­men­tal Dis­abil­i­ties Coun­cil and on the board of the Qual­ity Trust for In­di­vid­u­als with Dis­abil­i­ties.

Many in the Dis­trict face a dual fund­ing threat.

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