Act Now to Preserve Health Care for People with Disabilities and Seniors

January 31, 2017

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is joining the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) to organize congressional call-in days on Tuesday, January 31st and Wednesday, February 1st to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid, and Medicare.

The new President and Congress are moving quickly to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and major cuts to and restructuring of Medicaid and Medicare may not be far behind. We must let policymakers know that these changes will hurt seniors and people with disabilities.

 

Take Action

On Tuesday, January 31st and Wednesday, February 1st dial 866-426-2631 to reach your Member of Congress. When you call you will hear a brief overview of the issues and will be asked to enter your zip code before being transferred to your members of Congress.  Thank you to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for providing this toll-free call-in number.

 

Below are talking points you can use for the calls:

No repeal of the ACA without simultaneous replacement

If Congress votes to repeal the ACA, a replacement package that provides equivalent or improved access to affordable, quality health coverage must be included in the same legislation.

 

No cuts to or restructuring of Medicaid

Seniors and people with disabilities rely on the Medicaid program.  It is the primary public source of funding for long-term services and supports. Program cuts, along with block grant or per capita cap proposals would hurt people who have no alternative means of paying for essential services.

 

Preserve Medicare for current and future seniors and people with disabilities

Medicare is a huge success story, with strong support from all Americans. Premium support and other restructuring proposals to shift more costs onto beneficiaries would make health care far less affordable and accessible to seniors and people with disabilities.

 

The Affordable Care Act

There are key provisions within the Affordable Care Act that support the health and well-being of people with disabilities. To name a few:

  • Health insurers cannot deny someone health insurance on the basis of a pre-existing condition, including a disability or chronic condition;
  • There are no arbitrary financial limits to how much healthcare an individual can receive in a year or in their lifetime;
  • More people with disabilities receive supports to live in the community of their choice rather than in an institution;
  • 20 million adults and children have health insurance through Medicaid expansion and health insurance subsidies;The Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration program that helps people with disabilities transition from institutions to the community was reauthorized and expanded;
  • The Community First Choice option (CFCO) was established, which increased the Federal Matching Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for states who provide new or expanded home and community based services (HCBS);
  • The U.S. Access Board was authorized to develop accessibility standards for medical diagnostic equipment (MDE);
  • Millions of adults have been able to stay on their parent’s health insurance plan until age 26; and
  • Health insurers provide more people with the services they need – including mental health services and rehabilitation services and devices.

There are countless other provisions in the ACA that are important to people with disabilities. The ACA has unquestionably improved access to care for people with disabilities and chronic conditions to help them live healthy, independent, and fulfilling lives. Learn more about how people with disabilities benefit from the Affordable Care Act.

 

Medicaid – Block Grants & Per Capita Caps

Currently the federal government covers a percentage of states’ Medicaid costs. Under Medicaid block grants, the federal government would pay the state a specific lump sum (likely based on historical spending), rather than a percentage of the state’s costs. Under per capita caps, the federal government would pay the state a fixed amount for each beneficiary instead. Both options drastically reduce federal funding for state Medicaid programs, with gaps increasing over time relative to current spending. To counter the significant costs that are shifted to states, they are given ‘flexibility’ to make changes to their program. (National Council on Independent Living)

 

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This alert was adapted from content provided by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) and Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO).

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