I am a concerned health care consumer. Our governor and Legislature have initiated a human services block grant trial program that combines seven line items of social services together. The most disenfranchised citizens of this commonwealth depend on these services. The block grant program will put the most vulnerable people at risk, as it will force service agencies to compete with one another for funding that was otherwise expected in the past.
The block grant will cover funding from child welfare and community mental health programs to drug and alcohol services and homeless assistance. Programs that would have otherwise worked together will now have to go to battle with one another for the funds they need.
My life, as well as the lives of others, depends on the critical services I currently receive from state-funded programs. I do not know what services will be continuously funded. How will I know which programs my local officials will choose for specific amounts of funding? How do I know that the same services will be there for me tomorrow that I had access to today?
For us, the consumers, there is not any transparency within the limits of the block grant, so how will we know which services we can depend on? For those who need these services, things are bad, but how much worse will they be when there is no accountability and too much competition for the resources we so desperately rely on?