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Reader: Cutting an American lifeline 

Medicaid is a lifeline for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the U.S. Congress is attempting to cut that lifeline.

In May, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act that would radically restructure Medicaid resulting in less funding and fewer services for people with disabilities.

In June, the Senate revealed their version of the proposed legislation, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Though it had a different name, it would do the same damage to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Members of Congress are trying to portray this proposed legislation as reining in spending, cutting taxes and giving new flexibility to states. The truth: Funding is directed away from people with disabilities, the elderly and the poor; taxes are cut only for the wealthiest among us; and more flexibility means that states will have to make the hard decisions about who will no longer get the services they need once federal funding is diminished.

As executive director at Mosaic in Colorado Springs, I see firsthand the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I am concerned about what would happen to them if the proposed legislation were to pass. Denial of services? Longer waiting lists? Move from communities and back to institutions?

In the name of the people I serve, I ask people to call Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet and ask them not to vote for any legislation that cuts or places caps on the funding for Medicaid that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities need.

The health care system does need reform. But it should not come at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens.

— Cheryl Wicks, Executive Director, Mosaic of Colorado Springs

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