As is the case in many states, legislators are grappling with difficult budget concerns. Oregon is no exception. At the moment, Oregon’s lawmakers are grappling with ways to trim their budget or find alternative ways of increasing revenue. This is causing a great deal of consternation, frustration and anger among its citizens, including those who provide home care support services.
Oregon’s current proposed budget would actually be a $2 billion increase over its previous budget, but that does little to assuage the concerns of citizens. That’s because significant cuts may be coming to a wide range of programs essentially due to increased spending requirements in other areas.
Elderly and disabled residents of the state who depend on Medicaid reimbursement for home care support could be directly impacted by some of the proposed cuts in this new budget. Recently, these residents voiced their opposition to budget cuts to home care and other services, but it’s unclear whether lawmakers have other viable options on the table.
As reported by New Channel 21, KTVZ in central Oregon, in the blog, Legislative budget-writers get an earful in Redmond, written by Barney Lerten:
“Heidi Turner, a home care worker in Redmond, brought her son, Michael, who survived brain cancer and a host of illnesses and just last week was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.
She pleaded that the home care program not be cut, saying she goes to food banks twice a week and that her landlord says she must move in August so he can raise the rent. She said her only choice may be to move to John Day, hours away from her son’s needed medical facilities.
“Oregon has a choice,” she said. “Please choose to make real investments in people like my son, Michael.”
Other touchy policy issues before lawmakers arose, including the recent debate over legislation to halt non-medical exemptions for vaccinations of students.”
One of the most significant challenges facing states with limited budgets or running budget deficits involves maintaining various programs. Medicaid reimbursements for home care services is an important way to help residents remain safe at home and also avoid more costly options like nursing home care.
However, states that continue to increase taxes are finding it difficult to attract new businesses and residents to the state, thus placing more pressure on their budgets. If home care reimbursement is cut, that will likely mean fewer hours of service to those who need home care most.
It’s a difficult circumstance and one that more than just Oregon is struggling to deal with at this time.