Idaho is an emblem of independence. It’s time to share the emblem with Idahoans with disabilities who want independence and the joy and satisfaction of contributing to our communities. This state values freedom and hard work. Because I share these values, I am asking our legislators to reinvest $35 million that was cut from Medicaid. I have a disability and need Medicaid to be independent. For countless Idahoans with disabilities, independence has been compromised by devastating budget cuts. Some had to leave their homes. Others lost the community supports that kept them employed. Idahoans with mental health issues went to the ER or were jailed because more effective and humane solutions were unavailable.
This loss of opportunity and freedoms contradicts our values. We want communities where support keeps hardworking Idahoans on the job. We’d rather our neighbors have home health aides to allow them to live independently instead of in the isolation of a nursing home. I personally received a leg brace through Medicaid that helped me to walk without falling, allowing me to keep a retail job when I needed it. It’s time to restore funding to Medicaid so that all Idahoans can be free and independent. The responsible alternative to the executive budget shows we have the funds. We just need to do it.
Lance Pounds, Nampa