This ALERT was prepared and distributed by the National Down Syndrome Congress.  APSE members are encouraged to join their battle against budget cuts and share a strong message to Federal lawmakers about the importance of Medicaid to employment and independence! 
Call Your Senators - Tell Them to Protect People with Disabilities 
Today and tomorrow (Tuesday, March 14 and Wednesday, March 15) you can use this number, toll free to contact your Senators -- 800-459-1887.
Congress is working on next year's federal budget.  The first step in the process is the budget resolution, an outline of federal spending for the next year.  The budget resolution sets the total dollars to be available for all the services funded by the federal government, and also sets tax levels (including tax cuts, if they choose).   The budget resolution does not make decisions about individual services, but if the total is set too low, it will force cuts later on. 
As early as the week of March 13, the full Senate may take up its version of the budget resolution, with the House expected to take it up early in April.  It is extremely important that advocates tell their Senators not to set the funding totals so low that harmful cuts are inevitable.  If these totals are set too low now, the only way to increase them for needed services when the actual figures are being determined is to cut another important service

Action Needed
Call each of your Senators and give them this message:
        Oppose any budget resolution that forces harmful cuts in education, community-based services, housing, and other services for people with disabilities
Below is a piece submitted by an NDSC board member that illustrates the importance of funding for services.
David is 27 years old and has Down syndrome.  He lives in a community setting with another young man with Down syndrome. Both are employed, but neither makes enough to meet all of his expenses.  Neither could live independently or hold a job of it were not for the supports that Medicaid provides.  Both are supported at work by job coaches and receive a moderate level of support to engage in their  community, pay bills, shop and to handle other routine household tasks from staff whose wages are paid by Medicaid.

Importantly, if it were not for the fact that Medicaid allows both young men to hold down jobs, both young men would demand far more extensive services
at public expense. With Medicaid, they are able to offset many of their expenses and return at least a portion of the public dollars provided via the taxes they pay.

We could likely support our son out of pocket,  however, we will not live forever. There is every chance our son will out live both my spouse and  i
by 20 to 40 years. We have looked long and hard at whether we could develop an estate plan that would underwrite our son's expenses through his lifetime
and, no matter how we look at it, at some point the funds run out. It is our hope that, by learning to live independently and increasing his job related
skills, David will ultimately become largely self reliant. That cannot happen without Medicaid support.

For more information, APSE Members call Celane McWhorter, 703-683-1166 or [log in to unmask]