The bulging Capitol rotunda crowd of intellectually and developmentally disabled Kansans on Tuesday chanted in unison to support a proposed 2 percent increase in funding for organizations providing community services.
"Two percent! Two percent!" said a chunk of 700 people attending the Interhab Advocacy Day.
Matt Fletcher, executive director of the advocacy group Interhab, urged supporters of the organization meeting with legislators to embrace the Senate's 2 percent increase in funding for service providers and to oppose a 1 percent increase contained in a rival House bill.
In 2018, state lawmakers elevated reimbursement rates to community-based providers by 4 percent. The rate went up 3 percent in 2017.
Fletcher said the state's network of community-based providers for intellectually or developmentally disabled people was insufficient to meet demand.
"The sad truth right now here in Kansas is capacity is crumbling," Fletcher said at the rally. "It is slowly eroding. We know for a fact now that we're not able to serve adequately even the people who are already in the I/DD system."
Interhab represents businesses and individuals providing around-the-clock care for 9,000 Kansans receiving benefits through Medicaid. About 4,000 people in Kansas who qualify for I/DD services are on a waiting list that has existed for decades, Fletcher said.