Neenah, WI – Winnebago County Supervisor Jef Hall delivered the following remarks to the Joint Finance Committee at the Neenah Budget Public Hearing:
Hello, my name is Jef Hall. I am an elected member of the Winnebago County Board, a proud resident of the city of Oshkosh, a member of the Winnebago County Human Services Board and the Vice-Chair of the Winnebago County Aging and Disabilities Resource Center.
Today I mainly want to talk to you mainly about Family Care, and the freeze in Family Care in the new budget. We in Winnebago County got in the Family Care business just recently, because we were guaranteed an end to waiting lists. In Winnebago County we never really had long waiting lists. We like to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves… because it is the right thing to do.
However, freezing enrolments in for Family Care in the new budget can only increase waiting lists. We have a growing population of frail elderly as well as a growing population overall. When the state dictates there can be no one new in the program, you can only increase waiting lists. Let’s discuss who Family Care covers. It covers poor, frail elderly and adult developmentally disabled people who do not have the financial and physical means to care for themselves.
This budget freezes enrollees to Family Care, only allowing new people to enroll due to attrition. So, let’s define attrition. 83 members of our Family Care District left the program since it was established. 91% of them, 76 were due to death. That’s what attrition is.
This budget sets up a system where one group of poor frail elderly and developmentally disabled people are forced to wait for another group of poor, frail elderly and developmentally disabled people to die before they can get the services they need to survive.
This is not the right thing to do. The budget is a moral statement. And I urge you to look inside yourselves before you make any changes to Family Care, Medicare or any program set up to help those poor frail elderly, developmentally disabled or other people who do not have the financial or physical means to care for themselves.