Metro groups in DC to oppose plans to cut programs that help people with disabilities live independently

Dozens of organizations will be in Washington D.C. Tuesday to deliver a demand, of sorts.

They want Congress to improve healthcare while protecting people with disabilities from proposed Medicaid cuts.

One metro man said those cuts would be devastating.

“I wouldn't be able to come here and work,” said Paul Studebaker, a client of Johnson County Developmental Supports (JCDS).

JCDS is a county agency that supports folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For almost thirteen years, 36-year-old Paul Studebaker has received help from JCDS.

“Just helping folks live their own independent lives just like you and I do,” said Jody Hanson, the Community Relations Manager For JCDS.

Hanson said the agency is joining a small Kansas delegation to attend a rally in D.C. on Tuesday.

Studebaker said he wants to let Kan. Senators Moran and Roberts know what his views are during a scheduled meeting.

“I was going to talk to them about voting 'no' on that new healthcare plan,” Studebaker explained.

Most of the conversation around federal health care legislation focuses on Medicaid expansion, high-risk pools, or pre-existing conditions.

Hanson said that many people aren't aware that Medicaid also pays for long term services and supports that help people with disabilities live independently.

“The whole purpose of this rally is to raise awareness about what Medicaid cuts could do to the people we serve,” Hanson said. “Folks that we serve like Paul, are so excited about working. They want to work; they want to earn income; they want to pay taxes; they want to be members of our community just like everybody else.”

Studebaker is currently receiving job skills training at JCDS with the goal of working in the community.

He said he's very excited to get the chance to talk to Senators Moran and Roberts and about how Medicaid cuts would impact him.

“I need it, otherwise what would I be doing at home all day long?” Studebaker added.

The House version of the proposed healthcare overhaul would cut more than $800 billion in federal funding over ten years.

The Senate is still working on its version.