CHA Opposes Cuts on Programs for Older Adults and People with Disabilities

CHA Opposes Cuts on Programs for Older Adults and People with Disabilities

Below is a letter submitted to oppose the Governor’s proposed budget cuts that would be devastating for older adults and people with disabilities. California Health Advocates is a member of the California Collaborative for Long Term Services and Support (CCLTSS).

The proposed cuts to Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services (IHSS) would disproportionately impact older adults and force many living in the community into nursing homes where they would be more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS), the Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) and In-Home Support Services (IHHS) provide lower cost alternatives to nursing homes, and increasing the number of people in nursing homes and other institutions will negate any savings intended by eliminating or reducing funding for these programs.

Read the letter below for more details.

_________________________________________________________________________

 

May 19, 2019

 

Honorable Speaker Anthony Rendon
California State Assembly
State Capitol, Room 219
Sacramento, CA 95814

 

RE: Impact of May Revise Cuts on Older Adults and People with Disabilities

 

Dear Speaker Rendon, Assembly Member Ting, and Assembly Member Arambula,

 

The California Collaborative for Long Term Services and Support (CCLTSS) is comprised of over 60 statewide and local aging and disability organizations that promote dignity and independence in long-term living. Our members include advocates, providers, labor, and health insurers, and collectively we represent millions of California seniors and people with disabilities, their caregivers, and those who provide health, human services, and housing.

 

While we recognize that these are unprecedented times where the state’s budget went from having a healthy surplus to a 54 billion dollar deficit in a matter of months, and difficult decisions around cuts to programs will need to be made, we strongly oppose the proposed cuts to programs and services that help to keep individuals in the community and out of institutional care such as nursing homes.

 

The proposed cuts to Medi-Cal and IHSS (summarized below) would disproportionately impact older adults and force many living in the community into nursing homes where they would be more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS), the Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP), and In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provide lower-cost alternatives to nursing homes, and increasing the number of individuals in nursing homes and other institutions will negate any savings intended by eliminating or reducing funding for these programs.

 

Medi-Cal

  • Proposal to eliminate the CBAS and MSSP programs with the effective date for CBAS January 1, 2021 and the effective date for MSSP no sooner than July 1, 2020
  • Elimination of the proposal for Full-Scope Medi-Cal to undocumented older adults
  • Elimination of the proposal for the expansion of Medi-Cal to aged, blind, and disabled individuals with incomes between 123 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level and it proposes not to implement the Aged, Blind, and Disabled Medicare Part B disregard
  • Proposes to reduce adult dental benefits to the partial restoration levels of 2014 and to eliminate audiology, incontinence creams and washes, speech therapy, optician/optical lab, podiatry, acupuncture, optometry, nurse anesthetists services, occupational and physical therapy, pharmacist services, screening, brief intervention and referral to treatments for opioids and other illicit drugs in Medi-Cal, and diabetes prevention program services

 

IHSS

  • Assumes a 7-percent reduction in the number of hours provided to IHSS beneficiaries, effective January 1, 2021
  • Freezes IHSS county administration funding at the 2019-20 level

 

The CCLTSS strongly urges you to consider the unintended consequences of cutting these programs that ultimately result in savings to the state by keeping low income and vulnerable older adults and people with disabilities out of institutional levels of care and in the community.

 

Sincerely,

Eric Dowdy, Chair
Board of Directors
California Collaborative for Long Term Services and Supports

Karen Fletcher
Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.