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Medicaid cuts would be devastating

| Monday, July 17, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are thriving members of our communities. The behavior and employment supports provided to them by Milestone Centers and similar providers are paid for by Medicaid.

The U.S. Senate's proposed overhaul of health care could prove devastating to these individuals, along with those treated for behavioral health challenges and substance addiction.

If passed, states would receive a set amount of money from the federal government for each beneficiary — no matter the actual costs. States would then determine how, or if, they would make up the difference.

Home and community-based services are optional and often the first to be cut. Can we let that happen?

Congress has made strides by increasing access to care for mental illness and addiction. But, as the National Council for Behavioral Health stated, it's shocking to think that members of that same Congress — all of whom represent constituencies that would be harmed by these cuts — would consider a bill that negates those strides.

Individuals with developmental and behavioral health challenges are not “pre-existing conditions.” Just as you want what's best for your loved ones, we want what's best for those we serve.

Contact your senator today and demand the preservation of these Medicaid-funded services. You may find contact information for your senator here: www.senate.gov/senators/contact/.

Gary Bell

Wilkinsburg

The writer is executive director of Milestone Centers Inc.

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