Eye On Boise

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21, 2009, 3:14 P.M.

Crowd wants to ease cuts for disabled

Idaho's Senate Health & Welfare Committee considers Medicaid cuts; a large crowd turned out to oppose them, 1/21/09 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Idaho's Senate Health & Welfare Committee considers Medicaid cuts; a large crowd turned out to oppose them, 1/21/09 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Disabled people, their family members and advocates are urging that cuts in treatment hours imposed due to state budget holdbacks be moderated by making them temporary, rather than permanent, and by allowing exceptions where needed. Kelly Buckland, executive director of the State Independent Living Council, said, "This is all done under the guise of bad budget times - that doesn't explain why they're making the cuts permanent. If nothing else, we would like to make the cuts temporary," and would like to see the services restored if, as expected, the federal economic stimulus package sends more money to states to fund Medicaid. Others said the one-size-fits-all cuts in treatment hours make little sense, and the state could save more by better tailoring services to each patient. Mike O'Bleness, president of the Development Workshop in Idaho Falls, told the Senate Health & Welfare Committee, "We do believe as a provider community that there are other ways that we could save a comparable amount of money for the states." But Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, the panel's vice-chairman, noted that the committee today is dealing only with whether to accept or reject the rule that implements the cuts.




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