Support the Family Opportunity Act
Dear Editor:I am writing all citizens of the Roaring Fork Valley to please help us sway Colorado to adopt a bill that passed into law in February. Read a snippet from Easter Seals page regarding this issue: http://www.easterseals.com/site/PageServer?pagename=OPA_Family_Opportunity.The Family Opportunity Act would allow low- and middle-income families to access appropriate health care for their child with a disability through the Medicaid program. Medicaid is currently the only health insurance package with sufficient benefits to meet the needs of many children with significant disabilities.Families that can benefit from the Family Opportunity Act have incomes between approximately $17,050 and $60,000 for a family of four and have children with disabilities. These families can buy into the Medicaid coverage by paying a sliding scale of between 5 and 7.5 percent of their gross incomes.Families will benefit in the following ways: Children with significant disabilities can receive health care services they need. Parents can accept raises, promotions or new jobs that increase family income above the poverty line. Parents who have remained single to keep family income under the poverty line can get married. Parents no longer have to choose between paying for the health care for their child and expenses such as food, clothing and shelter. Parents no longer have to place their child out of the home to access appropriate health services. Parents will no longer have to forgo custody of their child to access appropriate health services.The victims in this current policy are the disabled children: They are punished for receiving medical coverage that families could hardly afford to pay for, even on a six figure income. These children, under the current policy, are not allowed by Social Security to have money put away into savings accounts, even for college. Their parents are forced to never have more than $3,000 in savings/checking accounts and have cars with no more than a net worth of $5,000. The family is forced to live on a poverty level income, and if the parents make $.01 over the level any month, Medicaid coverage is dropped permanently. Are the disabled children criminals here taking advantage of the system, or is the current system flawed?Give the disabled children of Colorado two minutes of your time to petition Bill Owens, Jack Taylor, and Kathleen Curry to adopt this policy into Colorado law and you can change lives forever. These families are not looking for charity, to provide something for their children besides basic survival into adulthood. It is a written petition and all you need to do is fill in your name, address, etc. You can personalize it any way you wish. My disabled 6-year-old son, James, will thank you more than I could possibly express.Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!Matt, Katie and James StarbuckGlenwood Springs
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