Federal bureaucrats want to handicap the disabled

September 24, 2014

by Nick Novak

Originally published by The Washington Times.

Government works best when it is small, limited and closest to the people it represents, but we cannot eliminate it entirely. This may shock some people, but as a conservative I believe there is a proper role for government. And one of the main roles government has is to take care of the people that simply cannot take care of themselves.

Right now, however, the federal government – specifically the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – is failing to keep its promise to support these exact individuals. A rule change handed down by bureaucrats at CMS will have a dreadful outcome for people with disabilities if it goes into full effect.

CMS recently decided to change the definition of what qualifies as a home- and community-based service (HCBS) for people with disabilities. Under the umbrella of HCBS, Medicaid currently offers funding to non-profits all across the country to provide services, support and jobs for people with physical and developmental disabilities. With the new proposed rule, these organizations will lose that funding and thousands of disabled workers will lose their jobs.

In my home state of Wisconsin, there are more than 50 community rehabilitation programs that provide these exact services, including Opportunities Inc. in Fort Atkinson and Kandu Industries in Janesville. Both organizations are very much a part of the community.

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