What Does Advocacy Look Like in Non-Election Years?

posted Jan 30, 2017, 1:47 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jan 31, 2017, 11:04 AM ]

By Mark Matulka, Vice President of Government Relations

During election years, it’s easy to see how advocacy impacts the lives of people Mosaic supports. We encourage people to vote, share the stories of the people we support who voted, talk about what is important to the people we support with their elected officials and much more. In non-election years it’s just as important to continue our advocacy efforts with and on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Right now, state and federal governing bodies are in session, deciding how to spend your tax dollars in what they believe is the best way. These decisions have a huge impact on the lives of the people Mosaic supports.

The services Mosaic provides are funded almost entirely by Medicaid. The largest part of that funding goes toward paying wages for the valuable service direct support professionals provide.

For years, direct support professionals have been filling the roles of teacher, social worker, and community connector, in addition to providing personal care so that people with intellectual disabilities can live meaningful lives in the community. Direct support work boasts long hours, irregular schedules, and low pay, yet is satisfying, fulfilling, and provides an opportunity to make a significant difference in people’s lives.

Direct support professionals are critical to the success of people with intellectual disabilities. Yet, the rates provided by the state and federal Medicaid partnership have not allowed salaries and benefits for these workers to reach a level to adequately compensate them for their work. Mosaic has no ability to set prices, increase reimbursement rates, or shift cost burdens to non-Medicaid funded constituencies such as private pay insurance. Unlike other industries, Mosaic does not have the ability to raise prices to cover increasing expenses such as health insurance and minimum wage increases.

Without adequate funding, Mosaic cannot ensure the people we support will have the best life possible. We can’t help people travel to the doctor, find a job, and cook a healthy dinner.

Over the next few weeks, we will share how proposed changes to Medicaid and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act could threaten the services Mosaic provides. Please visit the website to learn more about how you can continue to advocate for and with the people Mosaic supports on these important issues.

To help Mosaic advocate for and with people with intellectual disabilities, sign up for Mosaic Allied Voices.

This post originally appeared on Mosaic's blog, www.mosaicpossible.org.
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