President-elect Trump on Disabilities, what now?

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What does the election of Donald Trump mean for people with disabilities such as multiple sclerosis?

Yes, two days ago the people of the U.S.A. decided who they wanted as their next President. They were faced with a difficult choice between a candidate with no experience of holding an elected public office and one who had served as a senator and Secretary of State. Ok, they could have ignored the two main candidates and voted for another candidate but, realistically, it was a choice between Trump and Clinton.

Now, before I go any further, it is essential to point out that I am not American and so am commenting from the position of an observer.

So, let’s take a look at what President-elect Donald Trump said about disabilities and social security payments.

Back in 2013, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, in Washington, Trump said: “As Republicans, if you think you are going to change very substantially for the worse Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in any substantial way, and at the same time you think you are going to win elections, it just really is not going to happen.”

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President-elect Donald Trump.

In Time to Get Tough he said; “Social Security faces a problem: 77 million baby boomers set to retire. Now I know there are some Republicans who would be just fine with allowing these programs to wither and die on the vine. The way they see it, Social Security and Medicare are wasteful ‘entitlement programs’.

“But people who think this way need to rethink their position. It’s not unreasonable for people who paid into a system for decades to expect to get their money’s worth – that’s not an ‘entitlement’, that’s honoring a deal. We, as a society, must also make an ironclad commitment to providing a safety net for those who can’t make one for themselves.

“Social Security is here to stay. To be sure, we must reform it, root out the fraud, make it more efficient, and ensure that the program is solvent.

“Same goes for Medicare. Again, people have lived up to their end of the bargain and paid into the program in good faith. Of course, they believe they’re ‘entitled’ to receive the benefits they paid for – they are!”

Tackling the issue of fraud itself, in Time to Get Tough, he said: “The top estimates are $2,340,000,000 in Medicare fraud over a decade – or 16% of America’s entire national debt!

“Then there’s the disability racket. Did you know that one out of every 20 people in America now claims disability? That adds up to $170 billion a year in disability checks. Between 2005 and 2009, it is estimated that $25 billion were eaten up in fraudulent Social Security Disability Insurance filings. On and on, scam after scam it goes; as always, taxpayers are the ones getting stiffed.”

What next, I wonder?

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ian profile50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who is Managing Editor (columns division) of BioNews Services. BioNews is owner of 50 disease/didorder-specific news and information websites – including MS News Today. Ian has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.

MS Brothers Able to Remain at Home Thanks to Caregiving Support

 Continuing to live in your own home when you can no longer look after yourself is an ideal many people seek to aspire to – but it’s not easy. Outside help is often needed.

Alex Camarillo is one perfect example of this. He is 35 years old, has severe multiple sclerosis, and lives at home in South Bend, Indiana, where he is cared for by his brother Danny, who is in his late 30s.

The brothers could not live in the way that they do without the benefit of the support they receive from a dedicated care team from Caregiver Homes.

Danny told me: “I was put in contact with Caregiver Homes through Real Services. I think this is a very valuable company with a lot of resources.  It is extremely helpful to someone as myself, who does not have any medical experience.

“The services I have used the most have been the resources the company has helped set me up with.  For example, getting Alex set up with a therapist to see, and also just the support they offer Alex when they come to our home.  They are always a listening ear for him, which is very helpful.”

I asked how long Alex had been diagnosed. Danny’s reply was heartbreaking: “Alex has been diagnosed with MS since 2012.  I myself have been diagnosed since beginning of 2015.”

Yes, both brothers have MS.

Fascinated with the services provided by Caregiver Homes, I spoke with Dr. Jay Patel, the clinical transformation officer of its parent company, Seniorlink.

Care at home achievable with right support

“Caregiver Homes is a caregiving-focused organization that provides training and support to Medicaid recipients — support to allow them to stay in their own homes,” Dr. Patel said.

Dr. Jay Patel.
Dr. Jay Patel.

“Every client has a care manager and nurse who identify needs, create a care plan to achieve goals, overcome obstacles and make regular visits. They also work with hospital discharges, medications and so on.”

He continued: “Over time, regular family caregivers can become stressed. In these cases, we can provide an alternative caregiver who can step in to give the regular one a break. We can also find an adult day care facility in some communities. We find the most appropriate places and can provide help with transport if needed.”

The company currently has 3,500 families as active clients across six states, but demand for its services is growing. “We will not only be expanding in those states but, in the next few years will be launching in three others,” he said.

I was keen to know how his company’s services are funded. Dr Patel said: “Caregiver Homes is not a charity; we are a ‘for profit’ organization, but all the services we provide to a client are paid for by Medicaid. We only work for Medicaid recipients.

So, how do the Camarillo brothers rate the support they receive?

“Caregiver Homes has helped me in numerous ways in caring for Alex,” Danny said. “They are always very supportive and there if I have any questions or concerns. It is also very nice that they come and do in-home meetings, because sometimes it is hard to get Alex out of the house.

“At the same time, they are very respectful of our time and privacy and never come without arranging something beforehand. This company has allowed me to properly care for my brother and give him sense of independence rather than having nurses/home health aides come in and care for him.”

This article,written by me, first appeared in Multiple Sclerosis News Today.

 

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Ian FranksIan Franks is Managing Editor of the Columns division of BioNews Services, owner of 5o disease-specific news and information websites, including Multiple Sclerosis News Today. He has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media; during which he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain and uses his skills to write his own flourishing specialist MS, Health & Disability blog at http://www.50shadesofsun.com. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.