People with disabilities ask for more long-term living options

    Advocates say service cuts will cost Pennsylvania money.

    People with disabilities and their advocates were at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg Thursday to tell lawmakers that service cuts could force independent tax-payers into dependent living situations. (Photo: Flickr/itspaulkelly)

    Linda Anthony is policy director for the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania. She wants lawmakers to protect funds for care attendants and other services that keep people with disabilities out of nursing facilities

    Anthony: For people with physical disabilities like myself we use personal assistants, hands on someone comes to our home, helps us get out of bed, get dressed, prepare meals and get out the door and go to work.

    Governor Rendell says he’s revisiting his budget proposal to trim several hundred million dollars. Residents of all stripes are waiting to see what will be slashed.

    Philadelphia resident Cassie James Holdsworth uses a wheelchair, and is also an organizer for the advocacy group Adapt.

    Holdsworth: Most people want to be in the community as long as they possibly can. But there’s a Medicaid bias that forces people into nursing homes. And if we have service cuts that forces people into nursing homes.

    Holdsworth joined other people with disabilities and their allies in a Harrisburg rally Thursday.

    Adapt wants to re-balance Medicaid funding so that 50 percent of disability dollars support people living in the community, or their own homes, instead of long-term care in institutions. Holdsworth says the split is about 80-20 now.

    Holdsworth says the state Senate has considered cuts that would leave people without the care attendants that help them lead productive lives.

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