Monday, March 20, 2023, Marc Molinaro hosted Walton’s town hall meeting at the fire hall in Walton, NY. This would make it Marc’s ninth town hall meeting on his district tour. A variety of topics were discussed, and questions answered. Topics such as H.R. 140, abortion, funding for a leaky sewage line, and protecting farmland. The topic that was addressed specifically for Delarc was brought up from Jessica Baldi, the topic of funding.
Baldi addressed the need for more funding for Delarc to help ensure people with developmental disabilities are provided with a place where people can learn, grow, and function within their capabilities.
People with disabilities rely on Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) to live independently in their communities. HCBS help people with disabilities with everyday support, like getting around the community, employment supports, dressing, bathing, taking medication, and much more!
But due to the fact that Medicaid must fund institutions, and home and community-based services are optional, states don’t have the funding to support everyone in the community. This means that:
- Over 650,000 people are stuck on waiting lists,
- Direct care workers are underpaid due to stagnant wages, and
- Too often unpaid family caregivers are filling in the gaps in service – it’s a crisis!
We need Congress to act NOW.
The Better Care Better Jobs Act (S.100/H.R. 547) would provide a permanent increase in federal Medicaid funding to states that increase access to HCBS and strengthen the direct care workforce. This bill will add over $300 billion towards expanding and improving HCBS.
Molinaro stated, instead of heavily investing in assisted-living facilities, dollars should be invested into implementing early-intervention programs and other supporting resources. He stated that the government needs to use federal dollars to pay direct-support professionals an adequate wage in order to keep our qualified and committed employees in the industry.
This is a topic that hits home for the congressman, his daughter was born with a brain injury. He is aware of the difficulties friends, family and community face when it comes to living with developmental disabilities.
“America should be embarrassed for the way we treat those with disabilities in 2023.” stated Molinaro.
He included that it isn’t a lack of funding, but where the funding is being spent.
Molinaro was then presented with a gift from Sarah Barreto, the Self-Advocacy Group President of Delarc. She presented a “Catching Kindness” card as well as a unity bloom magnet, created by the artists at Studio 190.
“He [Marc Molinaro] is a big supporter for people with developmental disabilities” – Erin Balcom, Delarc Self-Advocacy Vice President, stated when recalling her take away from the town hall meeting.
Erin and other members of the self-advocacy group would love to mention to the congressman that our community needs help making more businesses wheelchair accessible.
Tina Cawley, the self-advocate Secretary added “Can you [Marc Molinaro] please come to our self-advocacy meeting?”
Delarc would love for the Congressman to see first-hand where funding is going, and the positive impact it is making on your community.