Medicaid cuts put squeeze on adult foster care

Bend caregiver testifies before state budget-writers

Bend caregiver seeks to reverse state cuts

BEND, Ore. - Oregon lawmakers made cuts to Medicaid two years ago that have yet to be restored. Those cuts include funding for adult foster care programs -- something Connie Chance of Bend has dedicated her life to.

Last week, Chance testified before the state's budget-writers, where she asked lawmakers to restore money to help at-risk seniors.

In four rooms live four seniors and one woman caring for all of their needs. Chance has devoted her life to caring for her residents. In her five-bedroom home, she offers foster care to seniors on Medicaid.

Chance says, "It's a big job, but I do it with love and kindness."

It's getting harder she says:  "I do everything, I bathe them, I feed them, I do their laundry, I do the housekeeping, and I'm an old country cook. I pick up all the slack for them."

Here's the problem: Chance says the reduction in Medicaid benefits is forcing her to cut back.

"After a while, you have to, because your resources run out." says Chance. "Costs are always going up, every time I go to the market."

She says she doesn't want her residents to be affected by lawmakers' choices, saying, "It's not real fair to them, because they've contributed to this country."

Chance tells us she's not trying to get rich, she's just trying to make a living.

"This is what I do, and this is what I love," she says. "I like to make their lives happy, and each one of them touch my heart."

Further cuts to Medicaid, she says, will hurt her residents and lower their quality of life. She says she doesn't think that's fair, and believes if lawmakers really work at it, they can restore funding.

This was the first time Chance testified before a committee. She hopes she persuaded lawmakers to consider the needs of the special people she cares for.

At the hearings, lawmakers listen to public testimony, but don't make any decisions. Chance says she'll continue to advocate for the quality of life of her residents.

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