Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

I Depend on Medicaid People with Disabilities Need Support to Work and Pay Taxes

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

I Depend on Medicaid People with Disabilities Need Support to Work and Pay Taxes

Article excerpt

I am a registered Republican living in Pittsburgh. I am a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a Ph.D. in rehabilitation sciences. I acquired a spinal cord injury which left me paralyzed and requires me to use a wheelchair.

In order to live my life and get the support I need, I gratefully use Medicaid so that an attendant can help me get into and out of bed, get dressed and for other personal care. No private insurer covers these long-term services.

I am employed part-time by the University of Pittsburgh as a graduate student researcher while I finish my degree. As such, I am also a taxpayer.

Like me, there are many working people with disabilities who need Medicaid services to be able to work and pay taxes. Like many others with disabilities, I am able to work precisely because Medicaid provides the attendant care services which allow me to go to work and to school.

My plan is to finish my degree to get a job with a salary high enough to allow me to pay for my own services and stop using Medicaid. However, I need Medicaid to be able to go to work and school so that I can get the degree.

I and many other people with disabilities will be harmed if the federal government cuts services and funding from Medicaid, as the newly revealed Senate health care bill proposes to do. In Pennsylvania, people will lose essential services. It is likely that people with disabilities like mine will not be able to live in their homes and apartments. People like me will have to move to nursing homes and institutions which are substantially more expensive than home-based care.

There are changes that could be made to eligibility and income limits that could substantially improve the Medicaid system in terms of services and costs, but wide-reaching cuts and caps are not the answer.

As most Americans know, federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (signed into law by George H. …

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