Easter Seals Meets with White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and Other Top Leaders to Make Sure Families Can Continue to Access the Critical Services and Supports Medicaid Provides

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Budget Decisions could be Devastating for Millions of Children and Adults with Disabilities and their Families

Representatives from Easter Seals visit the White House

Representatives from Easter Seals visit the White House

Today, Easter Seals and three families living with disabilities from Arkansas, Ohio and Texas visited the White House to meet with several senior leaders—including Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, John Carson, Deputy Assistant to the President, Jeff Crowley, Senior Advisor on Disability Policy, and Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President. The group discussed the positive outcomes for children with disabilities, their families, and society through access to health and developmental services provided by the Medicaid program, as well as reaffirmed why Medicaid must not be cut in current budget negotiations.

President Obama continues to convene budget talks at the White House with a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders to negotiate a compromise on deficit reduction measures that could include cuts to Medicaid. Medicaid and other federal programs provide critical – often life-saving – services to millions of Americans living with disabilities. Members of Congress are considering budget proposals that would slash funding and restructure these important programs, potentially eliminating the safety net they provide.

“We’re here to discuss the essential role Medicaid plays in the lives of children with disabilities and their families. Each year, Easter Seals serves more than 1.2 million people with disabilities, all of whom will likely rely on the Medicaid program at some time in their lives,” said James E. Williams, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, Easter Seals. “Medicaid has already been cut and children with disabilities will be harmed by any additional cuts to benefits or provider reimbursement rates. Our families want to help put a human face on Medicaid by sharing their personal experiences, how they’re lives have been forever changed because of the program.”

During today’s White House meeting, three working families that have children with disabilities who directly benefit from Medicaid and Easter Seals disability experts shared how individuals and their families rely on Medicaid for stability and basic heath needs and spoke to what the loss of Medicaid could mean for millions.

Meet Shannon
Shannon, age 12, and her mother, Roxanne Eaton (Columbus, Ohio). Support from Medicaid helped Shannon, who has Cerebral Palsy, receive therapies to be more independent, which in turn made it possible for Roxanne to return to work.

Meet Al
Al, age 8, and his parents, Dr. James Hunt and DeAnn Hunt (Little Rock, Arkansas). Born with Down syndrome and a heart condition, Al received physical, occupational and speech therapy through Medicaid when their private insurance ran out. He is now attending public school.

Meet Chelsy and Rebeka
Rebeka, age 5, and Chelsey, age 3, and their parents, Joselyn Martinez and Jorge Escobedo (McAllen, Texas). Medicaid helped them meet their many medical needs, including Rebeka’s feeding tube and therapies to learn to walk and chew.

Medicaid offers the stability families living with disabilities need to survive. Without it, Shannon’s mom couldn’t have gone back to work, Al wouldn’t be in a mainstreamed classroom and Rebeka would not be hitting the developmental milestones she is today.

About Easter Seals
Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical and mental disabilities, and other special needs. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work, and play in their communities. To learn more visit http://www.easterseals.com or http://www.MaketheFirstFiveCount.org.

Media Contacts:
Kristen Barnfield, Easter Seals
kbarnfield(at)easterseals(dot)com
P: 312.551.7147

Rachel Talen, Easter Seals
rtalen(at)easterseals(dot)com
P: 312.551.7246

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Kristen Barnfield

Rachel Talen
Easter Seals
312.551.7246
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