Day in Washington Podcast #18 (Medicaid and Community Choice Act Hearing)

Day in Washington- The Disability Policy Podcast explores and discusses various aspects of disability policy. Each episode will cover a specific issue within disability, and/or a disability-related news article. These 5-10 minute podcasts offer an easy to understand introduction to disability policy and resources for those interested in further study. You can find the text of each podcast in the comments.  If you have difficulty downloading the podcast, please right-click and save it to your computer for playback.

Episode Summary:

On Janary 16th the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health held a hearing titled, Helping Families with Needed Care: Medicaid's Critical Role for Americans with Disabilities. Although advertised throughout the disability community as a hearing on the Community Choice Act, the hearing itself covered much much more.

Audio File:  Day in Washington Podcast #18 – (Medicaid Hearing and Community Choice Act)

Show Notes

– Introduction, Date of Podcast

– Helping Families with Needed Care: Medicaid's Critical Role for Americans with Disabilities

– Chairman’s Statement

– Diane Rowland – Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured

– Julie Beckett – Family Voices

– Stephanie Thomas – Institute of Disability Access and ADAPT

– Celine Fortin – The ARC of New Jersey

– Ralph Gronefeld – ResCare

– Aileen McCormick – AmeriGroup Texas, Inc. and America’s Health Insurance Plans 

– Closing and Contact information

– Disclaimer


Energy and Commerce Committee Website for Janary 16, 2008 Medicaid Disabilities Hearing

1 comment for “Day in Washington Podcast #18 (Medicaid and Community Choice Act Hearing)

  1. Day
    January 22, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Day in Washington Podcast #18 (January 21, 2008)


    Welcome to a Day in Washington. Day in Washington is your disability policy podcast covering legislative issues of interest to the disability community. We also spotlight specific bills and other related news articles. I'm your host, Day Al-Mohamed working to make sure you stay informed. This is Podcast #18 for Monday, January 21, 2008.

    Whew! It has been a busy week. On Janary 16th, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health held a hearing titled, Helping Families with Needed Care: Medicaid's Critical Role for Americans with Disabilities. As a matter of fact, it was the first hearing of 2008. Although it was advertised throughout the disability community as a hearing on the Community Choice Act, the hearing itself covered much much more. I strongly urge anyone interested in disability advocacy related to healthcare and Medicaid to review the webcast of the hearing and read the testimony to get a thorough picture of all of the issues presented.

    Now, usually when I cover hearings I prefer to have the witnesses' testimony podcast in their own words. However, due to technical difficulties this week, it was not possible for me to do so. However, in this episode, I have summarized the specific areas of emphasis of each of the witnesses based on their written testimony and will have audio clips of the testimony included in a follow-up podcast.

    Chairman Dingell opened with a formal statement that was a broad commentary on current Medicaid strategies for impacting the lives of people with disabilities. As a positive note to disability advocates, the Chairman's comments directly addressed a number of the shortcomings of the current system and recognized a need for change.

    In addition to the formal statement of the Chairman, there were six witnesses with written testimony listed for the panel at the hearing representing a variety of groups and speaking on a number of different issues related to Medicaid and people with disabilities.

    Considering the backgrounds of the committee members and the panelists, there were some very different perspectives on what are the major concerns. Medicaid and People with Disabilities is not a straightforward or simple topic and the breadth and diversity of the testimony provided by the panel of witnesses attests to that.

    Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured spoke about the history of Medicaid and its coverage of people with disabilities. Reminding us that Medicaid provides a complex array of health services and supports that are not traditionally covered by other sources of insurance, but needed to maintain function and independence. She also pointed out that although Medicaid is principally recognized as a source of health insurance coverage for millions of low-income children and parents, the program has become the largest single source of health insurance and long-term care for people with disabilities.

    Julie Beckett represented Family Voices, a national grassroots organization of families and friends. Her testimony focused on the vulnerable population of children with special healthcare needs and disabilities. Specifically, access to Medicaid-supported programs such as the Early Periodic, Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program as more and more private insurers are unwilling to provide access to the types of care that children and youth with disabilities need.

    Stephanie Thomas, Co-Director of the Institute for Disability Access represented ADAPT. Obviously, her focus was on the Community Choice Act. She gave the example of 300,000 people with disabilities across the country who are literally trapped in nursing homes because of the inability to obtain services to allow them to live independently in the community. She points out the success of Medicaid in helping millions of people with disabilities access desperately needed health services, but also the institutional bias and the absurdities of the system. The one that I found particularly amusing (in a sad way) was that the new €˜Money Follows the Person' demonstration program requires that an individual be in an institution FIRST before they can receive services. ADAPT's written testimony also included heart-wrenching testimony from individuals who had been trapped within the institutional system.

    Celine Fortin with the ARC of New Jersey's comments were regarding CMS' recent regulations that will have a devastating effect on the lives of people with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. The most recent three proposed reglations address: case management and targeted case management services for people with disabilities, the rehabilitative services option (which I've commented on in a previous podcast), and school based services and transportation.

    Ralph Gronefeld of ResCare's testimony discussed the importance of care givers and pointed out the high turnover rates, low wages, and severe shortage of available workers as the increased demand creates pervasive problems for families, individuals receiving services and the people who provide those services. Just as a taste, he offered the example that barely 10% of the 4.3 million people with intellectual and development disabilities receive Medicaid services. That 10% depends on more than 874,000 care givers. By 2020, because of increased numbers we will need nearly a million and a half workers.

    And Aileen McCormick with AmeriGroup Texas, Inc., representing America's Health Insurance Plans' emphasis obviously, was on insurance. She specifically focused on three things: 1.) the provision of quality health coverage to beneficiaries in state Medicaid, 2.) long-term care insurance to provide Americans with financial protection against the risk of needing long-term care services; and 3.) the offering of disability income insurance to help consumers replace lost income in the event that a disabling condition forces them to leave the workforce.

    From the written testimony it isn't hard to see how this hearing covers a lot of ground on the issue of Medicaid and people with disabilities. In the upcoming days I hope to share with you a more detailed analysis of each of the points mentioned.


    And that is it for this week's edition of Day in Washington. For links to more information, please check the show notes. Please feel free to contact me at regarding comments or suggestions. I'd love to hear from you, but for now, this is your host, Day reminding you to stay well and stay informed.


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    Any opinions and perspectives expressed in this podcast should not be taken as the official stance of any group or organization affiliated with the host. In addition, none of the facts, data, or grammar have been checked for accuracy.

    Thank you for listening.

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