Three people tell Capital & Main that the Affordable Care Act repeal and proposed cuts to Medicaid will decimate their finances and their quality of life. BY LARRY BUHL
Under the American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, California’s half million in-home care recipients, who include the elderly, the blind and the disabled, could be facing big cuts in services.
A severely disabled boy and his caregiver face an uncertain future with the passage of the American Health Care Act.
Disabled and elderly Californians have cause to worry as time marches forward to June 30, 2016. That’s the deadline for Governor Jerry Brown and state legislators to find a permanent solution to keep whole one of California’s largest assistance programs for the state’s most vulnerable populations.
For this fiscal year, a seven percent cut– $226 million–was restored to the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program in June. But without solid funding for the future, nearly a million adults, children and their caregivers face losing hours of service and wages again.
The restoration of the cuts was a huge victory for consumers of IHSS’s services, according to Brandi Wolf, California policy director for the United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW), “but living from year to year [involves] a tremendous amount of uncertainty. We can’t ask consumers to live in this uncertain world.” ULTCW, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, represents many IHSS workers.
The 467,000 Californians who receive assistance from the state’s In-Home Supportive Services are breathing a little better, if not easier, now that a new budget has restored care cuts to the agency. The program typically assists elderly, blind and disabled people on low incomes with housework, meal preparation, personal hygiene and other services; by paying individuals through the state to perform these tasks, the care recipients are able to remain in their homes and avoid being institutionalized – which also saves taxpayers millions of dollars.
A few years ago IHSS suffered a seven-percent funding cut that Governor Jerry Brown pledged in January to restore – but without providing a specific funding stream to do so. Brown suggested that revenue for the restoration could come from either a new tax on certain health care plans or from the state’s General Fund.