Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Florida: Governor boasts of helping disabled while decreasing funding and increasing the waiting list

This is from an editorial in the Miami Herald, "Floridians with developmental disabilities need more help " by the President of the Autism Society of America Ven Sequenzia, Jr., 9/25/14.

Rick Scott, the Governor of Florida, claims to be helping people with DD by increasing the state budget to reduce the "critical needs" waiting list for services. The truth is, according to Sequenzia, that:

  • "The Medicaid Waiver budget for 2013-14 was $915 million, or $46 million below the 2008 budget. It was actually the third lowest budget in the last six years.
  • "This while the waiting list grew from 15,648 in Sept. 2007 to 21,140 in June 2014.
  • "Now the final straw. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) returned approximately $80 million 'unspent' from this fiscal year to the state treasury. Yes, you read that correctly. Gov. Scott not only reduced spending, the agency returned unspent money, while 21,000 people are languishing on a waiting list."
Furthermore, to add insult to injury, "[The Governor] allows the wait list to increase by almost 5,000 people in 2014, all the while taking thousands of families to hearings to deny needed services based on the iBudget rules and an algorithm that the District Court of Appeals threw out as illegal. He included $4.5 million dollars in the APD budget for legal fees to fight families, and those funds go to the law firm that his chief of staff is associated with."

Floridians should be fuming.

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