Medicaid vital for people with disabilities to have full lives

By: 
Darren Larson
Guest commentary

Medicaid services mean so much to me. I’m Darren Larson. I enjoy watching sports, hanging out with family and friends and going to work to make a positive impact. I grew up in the small town of Eureka, Mont., with a big and loving family and moved to Missoula to go to college and make something of myself.
My background, goals and aspirations are fairly typical. My situation is not. I have a physical disability and caregivers help me three times a day with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, eating and transportation. The support I receive from Medicaid dollars allows me to live independently, pursue goals and lead a typical Montana life.
Right now at our State Capital, $93 million of Medicaid dollars are being cut from the Department of Health and Human Services budget. This will negatively affect services for people like me with disabilities and older Montanans. It’s already difficult to hire and maintain caregivers and nurses at current wage levels. Thousands of nursing hours across the state are not being filled due to workforce shortages. Montanans like me are experiencing challenges from the current budget. I can only imagine what this will mean with $93 million less.
Please call the legislative information desk at 406-444-4800, ask to speak with your legislator, and ask them not to gut Medicaid funding because our Medicaid services mean everything to us.

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