― 1 ―
I am writing in regard to the recent cutback for personal attendant care and domestic services for the disabled, blind and aged. I am a quadriplegic, paralized from the shoulders down, I have only partial sensation and mobility in my arms and none in my legs. The paralysis is a result of a cervical injury of the spinal cord suffered in an auto accident in Feb. 1966.
I am currently attending the University of Calif. at Berkeley. I am one of fifteen severely disabled students in the educational program at Cowell Hospital here on the campus. The purpose of this program and other educational and/or vocational programs across the state is of course to make disabled persons like myself employable and ultimately self-supporting.
I must tell you that the cutback of 50% in attendant care funds presents a grave set of circumstances to myself and all the other disabled students here. With such a severe cutback in funds I will definiteley not be able to meet the costs of daily living care which my disability makes necessary. This daily care includes dressing, bathing, help into and out of bed, bowel and bladder care etc. Not being able to meet these costs would force myself and the other disabled students here to terminate the educational training which would normally lead to employment.
― 2 ―
If this cutback takes effect or is not repealed I would be forced to return home. The burden of my presence there would produce such a strained atmosphere and possible break-up of the family unit that I would be forced to submit to admission to a county hospital or rest home. This undoubtedly would be the consequence of this cutback for most of the disable students here and for many disabled, blind, and aged throughout the state.
I seriously question the economic practicality of this cutback. First the cutback is for $10 million which means a loss of $15 million of federal funds, since the federal government allocates funds for this program on approximately a one and one-half to one basis. These federal funds have already been paid for by California taxpayers through federal taxes.
The other argument against this cutback is twofold. The human tragedy of people being forced into a rest home or county hospital cannot be measured in dollars. It has been proven that when the aged or infirm are put into institutional "living" situations as opposed to private living situations the mortality rate increases greatly. Also, since the vast majority of aged and disabled living in a private residence recieve much less in terms of dollars than the cost of maintainence in a rest home (approx.$360 to $450) or county hospital (approximately $1200 and up), to force them into an institution would not be an economy but would represent a huge increase in cost to the taxpayer on a state and county(property taxes) basis.
I think this cutback is completely unreasonable and unjustifiable. I plan to explain to as many taxpayers and voters, as do my parents and friends, the human and economic cost of this cutback.
― 3 ―
I, as one of your constituents hope and expect that you will publicly voice your disapproval of this cutback and work on behalf of the taxpayers who would suffer the consequences of such a diseconomy to have this decision reversed. Would you please also write me and indicate your position on this issue. Thank-you.
P.S. My school address is:
Rm 335 Cowell Hospital
Berkeley, Calif. 94720