"Medicaid services disability across the lifespan - it is a safety net for those who need it now and in the future."
Kathleen Kelly, Executive Director of Family Caregiver Alliance (July 14, 2017)
CAREGIVER SIGN-ON LETTER
Dear Tennessee Senators and Members of Congress:
As caregivers of family members who have to rely on Medicaid, we are writing to ask you to vote against health bills that will cut care for our loved ones.
Proposals to cap federal support for Medicaid will leave Tennessee officials no choice but to cut the TennCare program. This is terrible for families like ours, who have family members who cannot care for themselves. We do all that we can for them, but they have needs that we cannot meet by ourselves. That is why TennCare is so important. TennCare helps us with in-home services that enable us to keep our loved one at home. And when that is no longer possible, TennCare helps pay for their care in a health care facility.
Without TennCare’s long terms services and supports, our loved ones – and tens of thousands of other frail adults like them – will be in great danger. If TennCare cuts back, we cannot possibly pay for the services the services required to keep them safe. In fact, the only reason TennCare has agreed to help in the first place is because the state’s nurses have made an independent determination that our loved ones cannot be safe without TennCare’s aid.
Because long term care is beyond the means of ordinary families, TennCare covers nearly two thirds of all nursing home care in Tennessee. TennCare pays for an even larger share of home and community based services that care for frail adults at home.
Even if federal Medicaid cuts don’t result in our loved ones losing care completely, funding cuts will inevitably lead to a deterioration in the quality of nursing home care, which is an ever present worry of all families. Experts warn that many nursing homes will close. In rural communities, displaced residents will have to move to facilities far from the families and friends whose love and support make their lives worth living.
A vote to cut Medicaid doesn’t just endanger people who are vulnerable. A vote to cut Medicaid tells families like ours that Congress does not value the lives of people whom we hold dear.
We are counting on you to do the right thing. Please vote against any bill that caps or cuts federal funding for Medicaid.