I am concerned as a father of a child with a developmental disability and an advocate for many others throughout the state of Louisiana about the effects of the Jindal administration’s reluctance on participating in the Medicaid expansion for those citizens and constituents in our great state with developmental disabilities who will be directly affected.

Our children did not ask for their disabilities, yet there is a great chance that they will be affected by the refusal of the governor to actively look for ways to provide quality preventative and life-sustaining care for all Louisianians with disabilities. There is already an anticipation of massive cuts to DHH’s budget in the 2013 legislative session.

As parents and caregivers, we are scared — and rightly so. It seems the long journey we have taken to shine a light on the atrocities, labels and mindset toward individuals with disabilities is starting to reverse to a day where those citizens are pushed into a corner or put in a room “with their own kind” and left to die. I encourage you to share this letter so that other citizens without disabilities can see that friends, family members, people they encounter on a daily basis are all affected by the largest minority group ever to have graced the Earth — the disability community.

At one point in our own individual lives, we will become disabled. It is no respecter of sex, color or socioeconomic status. We will all be disabled at one time. I encourage this governor to think people first, not privatization. People first, not potential stature later. People first. Louisiana citizens ... first.

Jason Durham

creative director