Monday, February 10, 2014

HJ 40: Medicaid Transportation We Could Do Without...

Virginia House Joint Resolution #40 calls for a detailed audit of Virginia's Medicaid transportation providers. This is so long overdue.

I'd like the Commission to investigate, particularly, the impact these "public-private partnerships," which have no clear chain of command and are fully accountable to nobody, have on local economies and on the transportation needs of people who don't use Medicaid. My experience has been that paratransit providers that try to replace local taxicab companies are harmful to the local economy and do not, whatever they claim, provide adequate service to people who would be using locally owned taxi service it we had it.

Specifically, I've been reminding everyone who's driven me to or from Big Stone Gap this winter (and so far only two people have done that more than once) that Mountain Empire Older Citizens actively discriminates against working persons who want to pay the full fare instead of begging for subsidized fare. M.E.O.C. has a bus that runs past my home and past the computer center; it takes a long time, it's crowded with obnoxious welfare-cheat types, and it leaves far too early, but I have tried to work with them just to spare friends from having to drive thirty miles. M.E.O.C. has refused to work with me. They "haff to" pack these bloated dog-ticks-upon-the-body-politic onto the bus and don't want to squeeze in one full-fare-paying customer. Especially one who doesn't participate in the gossip and trash-talk with obnoxious welfare cheats.

M.E.O.C. has disappointed so many people I know in so many ways, not limited to their ludicrous attempt to substitute for a legitimate bus or cab service...I know Marilyn Maxwell talks a good line, and may even honestly be trying to do everything she says she's doing, but I'd be delighted to testify about discrimination, about failure to send home health aides to the homes of qualified disabled senior citizens whom their employees didn't like while at the same time failing to place qualified home health aides who would have taken those jobs, about the alleged paratransit transportation provider whose "service" could easily have injured me as a healthy twenty-year-old so we know wheelchair dwellers weren't safe on his bus. The Commission should audit the everlovin' daylights out of M.E.O.C.

Here I stand to testify: I'm here this morning--afternoon, actually, it was almost 3 p.m. when I got here but I left the house at 9 a.m.--by a combination of walking more than three miles and sharing four different people's cars. "Anybody can ride the bus" for a dollar, the full fare for responsible adults. I have a dollar, but M.E.O.C. has refused to let me ride the bus because they want to run only one bus which is crowded to an unhealthy degree with welfare cheats. I passed five M.E.O.C. buses on the way here. Many of those buses spent most of the day parked behind the bank in Gate City. I see waste. I see discrimination. I see a need to restore the public transportation business in Scott and Wise Counties back to private people.