Moving Care for the Disabled Forward
The Affordable Care Act is huge victory for all Americans. Including the over 500,000 Minnesotans whom, according to the 2010 American Community Survey, have a disability.
The Arc’s Director of Public Policy, Marty Ford, said in a news release: “People with … disabilities have been waiting for generations for the insurance reforms put in place by the Affordable Care Act. … It ends discriminatory insurance practices and makes health coverage more affordable and accessible – important protections which too many people with disabilities have been deprived of for too long.”
Furthermore, there are several lesser known provisions that speak specifically to the barriers that persons with disabilities face. For example, Minnesota participates in the “Money Follows the Person” program, which allows 20,000 individuals (nationally) to transition from institutional to community settings, received an additional $2.25 billion from the ACA.
Minnesota received $13.4 million for the first year and $187 million through 2016; more than any other state. As of April 2012, Minnesota’s operational plan has not been approved, according to a GAO report.
It is important that we keep working to provide better care for people with disabilities. A study, conducted by the AARP, Commonwealth Fund, and the SCAN Foundation, examined long-term care services in all fifty states. The good news is that, overall, Minnesota is ranked number one. The bad news: not in every category. If Minnesota improved affordability and access of care to the same level of the top preforming state, as many as 7,895 low/moderate income adults with disabilities could be covered under Medicaid. 4,249 nursing home residents would be integrated into the community; if Minnesota was ranked number one in quality of life and quality of care.
In short, we are leading the race for quality care for persons with disabilities, but we could be so much farther ahead. The Affordable Care Act provides numerous opportunities to do just that. We have to take them because other states surely will. We don’t want to fall behind.