Action Alert! Tell Congress to Save Healthcare Provisions that are Essential to People with Disabilities
March 9, 2017
Earlier this week the House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce committees unveiled their healthcare legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- Energy & Commerce bill (PDF)
- Energy & Commerce section-by-section summary (PDF)
- Ways & Means bill (PDF)
- Ways & Means section-by-section summary (PDF)
If the bills are passed by the committees they will be combined by the House Budget Committee and sent to the House Rules Committee, and then to the full House for a vote. The legislation repeals or phases out many of the ACA’s major provisions including the individual and employer mandates, the 10 Essential Health Benefits, Medicaid expansion, and importantly, the Community First Choice Option (CFCO). It repeals the ACA’s subsidies and replaces them with age-based tax credits. It also introduces continuous coverage requirements and creates a Patient and State Stability fund that states can use for a variety of activities, including the creation of high-risk pools. The legislation essentially pays for these changes, plus millions in tax cuts, by restructuring Medicaid into a per-capita cap system, which will result in drastic cuts that will increase exponentially over time.
The House of Representatives is moving quickly to push the bills through Committee and vote by the end of March, while the Senate is planning to vote on the House bill before the mid-April congressional recess.
People with disabilities would lose critical healthcare coverage and supports under the proposed replacement legislation for the Affordable Care Act. Under the proposed legislation, Medicaid expansion would end by 2020, a move that would imperil the health, independence, and well-being of the 10 million non-elderly people with disabilities who currently benefit from the program. Without Medicaid people with disabilities would lose the home and community based services that allow them to live in the communities of their choice rather than in institutions. AAPD calls on Members of Congress to not repeal the ACA and to keep the provisions – the individual and employer mandates, the 10 Essential Health Benefits, Medicaid expansion, and the Community First Choice Option (CFCO) – that benefit people with disabilities.
People’s health, services, and lives are at stake! We urgently need advocates to reach out to their Senators and Representative and tell them to stop the repeal of the ACA and the cuts to Medicaid. Advocates need to explain why the ACA and Medicaid are essential to people with disabilities and their families.
Message 1: Do NOT cut and cap Medicaid!
Medicaid is a jointly funded program with matching state and federal funds. Under a Medicaid per capita cap, the federal government would set a limit on how much to reimburse states based on enrollment in the Medicaid program. Unlike current law, funding would not be based on the actual cost of providing services. Much like the proposed block grants, the intent of the per capita caps is to restructure the program and save the federal government money. Inevitably there will be cuts in funding in the states. The negative impacts to Medicaid recipients could include:
- Losing home and community-based services and supports. Waiting lists would quickly grow.
- Losing other critical services such as personal care, mental health, prescription drugs, and rehabilitative services. If funds become scarcer, states may decide to stop providing these services altogether.
- Being forced into unnecessary institutionalization. States could return to the days of “warehousing” people with disabilities in institutions.
- Shifting the costs to individuals or family members to make up for the federal cuts. The costs of providing health care and long-term services and supports will not go away, but will be shifted to individuals, parents, states, and providers.
Message 2: Do NOT repeal the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with disabilities!
The ACA is the most significant law for people with disabilities since the Americans with Disabilities Act:
- Because of the ACA, health insurers can’t deny health insurance or charge higher premiums if you have a disability or chronic condition.
- Because of the ACA, there aren’t arbitrary financial limits to how much health care you can get in a year or in your lifetime.
- Because of the ACA, more people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are able to access health care due to the Medicaid expansion.
Call your Senators and Representative today at 202-224-3121. Now is the time for ACTION, remember every call matters! Don’t let Congress take away health care and services for millions of people and replace it with a plan that CUTS Medicaid.
Call your Governor today – find out how to contact your governor here. Remind your Governor what cuts to the Medicaid would mean for the state budget and why they matter to you. Share that same message with state legislators.
Tweet your Members of Congress and Governor and use the hashtags #KeepAmericaCovered, #CoverageMatters, and/or #SaveMedicaid.
If you need assistance in learning how to get engaged, learn more from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s Civic Engagement Toolbox For Self-Advocates.
What to Say:
- I am your constituent.
- I am a person with a disability or I am a family member of someone with a disability or I am a professional in the disability field.
- Do NOT repeal the ACA without a replacement that maintains or improves coverage and protections.
- Do NOT allow restructuring and cuts to Medicaid to be part of an ACA replacement.
- The ACA and Medicaid helps me/my family member to have health care and community based services.
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