On Nov. 4, Louisianans will be asked to vote for or against Constitutional Amendment 1: “Do you support an amendment to authorize the Legislature to create the Louisiana Medical Assistance Trust Fund for the payment of Medicaid reimbursement to the health care provider groups paying fees into the fund?” If approved by voters, it will negatively impact over 13,000 people with developmental disabilities in Louisiana on a waiting list for home- and community-based waiver services who need support to live at home or with their families. The part of the state budget used to fund these waiver services would become even more vulnerable to cuts, threatening the ability for individuals and families to access the services they want and need to remain contributing members of their community.
I am a resident of the greater Baton Rouge area and have a son with multiple developmental disabilities receiving services through the New Opportunities Waiver. The wait to finally receive services seemed like an eternity. These services provided through the Medicaid waiver program are an absolute need to keep my son out of an institutional or group setting. Not only does it cost less to provide him support to live in our family home rather than in an institution, my son is happier, healthier, more independent and included in the community. Voting for Amendment 1 jeopardizes my son’s ability to remain with our family.
If voters approve Amendment 1, the vision of Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge and I, as a parent, to ensure all individuals with disabilities have equal opportunities to be educated, live, work and recreate in their own communities, will not become a reality. Individuals and families who believe “there’s no place like home” will not have access to support services to live at home.
FHFGBR is one in a network of 10 Families Helping Families Centers in our state created in 1992 as a component of the Community and Family Support System and Act 378, in direct response to the outcry of families seeking a “one-stop shop” in their community to link them to the services available to people with disabilities.
On Oct. 21, we will hold a workshop called “Know Your Ballot,” where there will be a presenter speaking about the different aspects of Amendment 1 and its effect on families with children with disabilities. Please feel free to call our office at (225) 216-7474 to reserve your spot, or you can go to our website events calendar at www.fhfgbr.org for more information.
executive director, Families Helping Families of Greater Baton Rouge