AUSTIN, November 20 - A recent news item in the Rio Grande Guardian focuses on Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek visiting South Texas.
The article states that he met with South Texas HMOs, legislators and health care providers. Nowhere in the article does it mention Janek meeting with people who receive managed care services, family members or any advocacy organization representing people who receive services in South Texas.
It is important that we convey to Mr. Janek the importance of the philosophy "NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US!" We are not just "patients" that bureaucrats, politicians and providers manipulate for whatever reasons they believe are for our own "good."
We should let Mr. Janek know, we want to be a partner in designing the system that provides us health and community services. NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US!
Which brings me to the My Medicaid Matters campaign. Now that the elections are over, the budget realities are confronting Texas state legislators. Entitlements like Medicaid are being talked about as being unsustainable. However, little is heard from Real People about the benefits that Medicaid funding provides for children, young adults and older Texans.
The Texas" My Medicaid Matters" Campaign, of over 150 state and local organizations, believe that Medicaid services and supports benefits children, young adults and older Texans and should not be on the cutting block during the 83rd Legislature.
Medicaid funding also means jobs for hundreds of thousands of Texans. Reforming Medicaid should not be a code word for reducing needed Medicaid health and community services. All eligible people should receive needed health and community services.
Click here to watch a short video of individuals who believe “MY MEDICAID MATTERS!
Here are comments from three individuals who believe “MY MEDICAID MATTERS:
Albert ‘Sparky’ Metz is 54 years old and has been using attendant services for 22 years. “I am so thankful for my Medicaid because it pays for my attendant services, my equipment and it allows me to get out and give back to my community! My Medicaid Matters,” said Metz.
Chris Hofmayer has been an attendant for 16 years. She works for four clinics, working 90 hours a week. "Medicaid provides me my job, but who knows, one day I might need it, my mother might need it and Medicaid is a good thing. We need to keep it,” Hofmayer said.
Charlotte Flynn is 93 years old and fortunate enough to have all the resources she needs to maintain her health. Here is her message:
“I am thankful for Medicaid. I am thankful for Medicaid because I know there are millions of seniors who have lost their life savings in the melt down and had jobs where they did not and still do not receive health care. Medicaid is the only option for health care for many seniors. And, for those low-income seniors who required long-term care they must spend down all the assets they have left to qualify for Medicaid.
“Since 1977 when I became a gray panther I have been advocating for healthcare for all. And now adequate funding for Medicaid—no elderly person denied health care. While I was advocating I was talking about advocating for Justice. Since 1980 when we had a change in the political picture the statement was made that government does not need to serve people in need. Charity will do that.
“But I would like to leave you with his statement. Charity is private individual acts. Justice is public elective actions. Charity responds to immediate need. Justice to responds to long term needs. Charity provides direct services such as food shelter and clothing. Justice promotes social change in institutions. Both charity and justice are needed.”
Bob Kafka is a director of ADAPT based in Austin, Texas. ADAPT is a national grass-roots community that organizes disability rights activists to engage in nonviolent direct action, including civil disobedience, to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom.