After spending a week at VOR's annual meeting and Washington Initiative (more on this later), I am catching up with all the things I didn't do while I was in Washington, D.C. One of the looming deadlines is July 2, 2012, when comments are due on the most recent attempt by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to narrow the definition of community and limit spending with Medicaid waivers to services that the CMS finds acceptable.
I followed some links from e-mails I received this morning and found one that is especially interesting to everyone caught in the Medicaid dental dilemma - dental coverage by Medicaid but few dentists who are willing or able to provide the services needed.
According to the NPQ Nonprofit Quarterly, "Sarrell vs. ADA Dental Drama Topic of PBS Documentary", this case and other problems with Medicaid dental care will be featured on Frontline on most PBS stations on June 26th, 2012. A preview of the program called "Dollars and Dentists" is posted in the article.
Another article is a New York Times Op-Ed by Mike Ervin called "Will the Reformers Come for Me, Too?". In the op-ed, the author recounts events in Illinois:
"Last week, here in Illinois, the governor signed into law $1.6 billion worth of Medicaid 'reform.' The ax came down on disabled children and young adults who are M.F.T.D. — medically fragile, technology dependent — those who have tracheostomies, are ventilator-dependent or need central intravenous lines. New co-payments and income caps could mean that many of these young people will no longer be able to receive care at home and will have to be institutionalized. No more free lunch for them!"
The author is himself severely disabled and he describes how he and his wife make ends meet with Medicaid waiver services allowing him to live at home. He always thinks common sense, justice, empathy, etc. will eventually prevail but now he is not so sure:
"But that’s gotten harder to believe after this latest round of cuts. It’s a nightmare: the vicious, man-eating Reformasaurus has gone berserk. Even holding up M.F.T.D. kids as human shields can’t ward it off these days. If it will swallow them up, what chance is there for a bearded, sarcastic, unsympathetic character like me?"
Here is a sample on Mike's giving up the use of the "r" word on his blog:
"Fair enough. We’ll not use the word “r” here at Smart Ass Cripple. Consider the word stricken, in spite of its element of comic allure. I am not 'r' so who am I to tell them what they have to call themselves? And I can kind of see their point. Some people referred to the 'r' kids at the cripple elementary school I attended as 'delayed.' That’s a helluvan identity to have to carry around. 'Hello, I’m delayed.'"