The Senate Finance Committee heard testimony from disability advocates who are raising the alarm over the House passed budget that would place deep cuts in healthcare starting July 1st, including the slashing of programs for the disabled. Ville Platte Senator Eric LaFleur says the cuts would eliminate services for over 45,000 developmentally disabled patients.

“I guess the heartless about this is the process whenever you have to notify 41% of developmentally disabled people that they will lose their services, children’s waiver at 55%, and long term care at 81%."

ARC of Ouachita representative Tina Holly says without these services, her family and friends would be broken up, and forced to move into nursing homes, if any would be available after the cuts kick in.

“If y’all cut that, I won’t have no more family. Please will y’all do y’alls best to keep our services and programs going.”

Emotional testimony was presented on behalf of the disabled, this man said it was a life or death situation.

“What would I do if I needed service? What would my family do? How would I survive?”

Amy Duplechain of Lafayette receives assistance from the Long Term Care Special Income Level program, which allows people who earn under $2,250 a month to get access to some Medicaid services. She says the cuts would force her into an impossible decision.

“The scary part is even if I quit my job, which I don’t want to, my social security would still put me $130 over the $750 threshold and I would lose services.”

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to approve a budget later this week, but approving additional funding will have to wait until a special session.

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