A Quarterly Newsletter for Our Community Members with Disabilities

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Summer 2011 CommunicAbility Vol. 11, Ed. 3

New Horizons Un-Limited Inc. (NHU) is a non-profit organization based in Milwaukee with a mission to make information and life experiences accessible to people with life-long disabilities, their families and caregivers. To learn more about our mission and activities, please visit the New Horizons Un-Limited website at www.new-horizons.org or e-mail horizons@new-horizons.org.

Lawmakers call for Bipartisan Medicaid Reform

In the article "Modernize Medicaid to better support people with disabilities," published on The Hill, an online legislative news source, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) suggest improving Medicaid to better serve people with disabilities in the community. The legislators believe that "our continued heavy reliance on outdated and expensive institutions to serve people with disabilities reflects inertia and politics rather than the needs of people with disabilities."

Despite the significant cost savings, community services are often the first to be cut, as states work to reign in their budgets. The authors acknowledged this trend by stating, “These cuts have typically been short-sighted. Rather than taking steps to reduce wasteful spending on institutional settings, many states have cut the services that keep people with disabilities in their own homes and communities.”

At a time when Medicaid is facing intense scrutiny, this bipartisan call for thoughtful, cost-effective reform is a welcome change from politics as usual.

Contact your Legislators and encourage them to work with Senator Harkin and Representative McMorris in designing a Medicaid program that will deliver cost-effective community-based care!

the article in its entirety.

Locate and contact your elected officials: United States House of Representatives | United States Senate

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Tips for effectively communicating with your Representatives

Your elected official is your voice, and you are their eyes and ears. Despite the common misperception, politicians do care about what you have to say. It is you, after all, who determines their fate in public office.

Following are a few tips to ensure that your concerns are effectively delivered:

  • Make it clear that you live and VOTE in their district
  • Be courteous and respectful - even if you disagree with your elected official’s position
  • Stick to one issue
  • Be concise - if writing a letter, stick to one page
  • Explain how a particular piece of legislation or issue will personally impact you/your loved one
  • Provide facts and statistics that support your position
  • Make the ask - specifically ask the elected official to support an issue and state what action you would like the official to take
  • If you are writing a letter or e-mail, be certain to include your full name and address, as this identities you as a voting constituent

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    White House Virtual Town Hall Answers Disability Policy Questions

    The White House hosted a Virtual Town Hall on Disability.gov on Thursday, July 14th. During the meeting, White House staffers answered questions submitted by disability advocates concerning health care, housing, education, and employment.

    This is your chance to see how the White House plans to address the issues that impact you!

    The one-hour event is available for viewing via the Disability.gov website.

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    Wisconsin Interest

    Summer fun in Wisconsin

    Looking to get out and enjoy the remaining 2 months of sunshiny warmth in Wisconsin? Check out the following programs for some summer fun!

    Milwaukee Center for Independence Express L.I.F.E
    (414) 937-2100

    Goodwill On the Move
    (262) 970-6042

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    Wisconsin Voter ID Update

    With the recent passage of the 2011 Wisconsin Act 23, voters will see a few changes to the voting process in Wisconsin in 2012.

    Following are a few key changes that will take effect for the 2012 Elections:

  • You must have lived in your district for 28 days prior to the election

  • If you register to vote, you will be asked to provide your former address on the registration form

  • You will need to present a valid photo ID at your polling place (those residing in a retirement home, nursing home or institution will be exempt)

  • You must sign the poll book prior to being issued a ballot (those with physical disabilities will be exempt)

  • If you vote absentee, you will need to include a photocopy of your photo ID along with the ballot (some exceptions apply)

    NHU has written a guide to help you navigate the new voting requirements.

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    Governor Walker to reevaluate Family Care caps in coming months; delivering much needed community-based services

    The biennial budget that Governor Walker signed into law in June includes a freeze on long-term care programs for adults with disabilities, including Family Care/IRIS.

    The freeze will block additional applicants and will halt the rollout of Family Care and IRIS in counties that do not yet offer the program. The freeze will force many Wisconsin citizens with disabilities onto waiting lists for essential community-based services, and analysts predict, could lead to an increase in costly and unnecessary nursing home admissions.

    In a recent interview posted by JSOnline, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has acknowledged that community and client-directed care are priorities for the state of Wisconsin.

    The Governor went on to explain that the caps on Family Care are in place while an audit reveals the program's effectiveness at delivering care in the community. The Governor contends that some counties were not meeting the objectives of the program by directing clients towards more costly institutional care rather than home-based care.

    The Governor supports lifting the caps so long as counties comply with the program's objectives and clients’ needs and wishes.

    Check out the JSOnline video interview.

    Contact the Governor’s office to encourage swift action:

    Governor Scott Walker
    PO Box 7863
    Madison, WI 53707
    (608) 266-1212

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    NHU Highlights

    Thank You Sponsors & Golfers for Making Our 8th Annual Golf Outing a Success

    A warm June day, a championship caliber golf course, nearly 120 golfers, and a team of eager volunteers, makes for one spectacular golf outing!

    We are very fortunate to have dedicated corporate supporters that continue to round up foursomes and sponsor our event, year after year. As a small, grassroots organization, this support goes a long way in serving our community members with disabilities.

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    Annual Fundraising with Flower Bulbs Sale

    Beautify your yard and neighborhood while supporting programs for your community members with disabilities through the New Horizons Un-Limited 9th Annual Fundraising with Flower bulbs Sale.

    Our supplier, VanBourgondien, has been providing quality flower bulbs for more than 100 years. Beauty and quality is guaranteed!

    Our sale will run through Friday, September 16th, with bulbs being delivered in early-mid October.

    Order online via the VanBourgondien website or call to request a catalogue and order form, 414-299-0124.

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