Feb 28, 2012
Earlier last week, the House Ways & Means Committee of the Washington State Legislature introduced its budget, protecting vital services for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). The budget saves Basic Health and Disability Lifeline while making minimal cuts to Medicaid and long-term care. MS Activists have been asking legislators to support these programs that were targeted to be cut by the Governor.
Due to their concerns and that of many other advocacy groups, it looks like the services may be saved. The Senate is expected to release its budget this week and the two chambers must agree on a final budget before the Legislature adjourns on March 8, but the House budget is a positive development for people living with MS.
There are some proposed cuts in the House budget that are still of concern to the MS community. In particular, adult day health is slated to be cut by 20% - a deep cut that puts this valuable service at risk for many people living with MS. Adult day health allows people to receive daily care in a group setting while providing a break for care givers. It has been proven to keep people in their homes longer, avoiding more expensive placements in an adult family home or a nursing home. A second cut of concern would restrict access to some medications for people on Medicaid. The Society is monitoring this proposal to see how it might impact people living with MS.
At a recent budget hearing, MS Activist Veronica Chase thanked the House for saving Basic Health and Disability Lifeline. Veronica was able to access treatments for her MS because of Disability Lifeline and she is now a strong advocate for its continued funding. Watch her testimony at our new advocacy blog: We Move MS. The blog will also provide you with continued updates of our advocacy work.
To get involved in the Society’s advocacy efforts to save services important to people living with MS, please contact Jim Freeburg, advocacy director at (206) 284-4254, press 1 and ext. 40237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.