Action Alert! The American Health Care Act is about to be Introduced in the Senate
Taking Us One Step Closer to Harmful Cuts in Health Care for People with Disabilities
June 20, 2017
We’re still hearing that the Senate’s version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will go to a floor vote before the 4th of July recess. We expect the bill to come out later this week, leaving less than a week to react before the bill goes to a vote on the Senate floor.
Now is the time to contact your Senator’s to oppose this legislation! While the public has not seen the Senate’s version of this bill, we expect it to be similar to the House version, which would result in adverse cuts to health care programs and services that people with disabilities rely on.
The AHCA will significantly hurt people with disabilities through higher health care costs, less coverage, and a greater risk of institutionalization. The promise the United States made over 50 years ago to provide needed health care to adults and children with disabilities through the Medicaid program can not be broken. We urge the Senate to reject the callous action of their House colleagues, preserve decades of progress, and ensure all adults and children with disabilities will have access to the health care, supports, and services they need to go to school, work, and live in their communities by voting NO on the AHCA.
-Helena Berger, President and CEO of AAPD
Before the AHCA reaches President Trump’s desk, the Senate must pass their version of the bill and then reconcile it with the House of Representatives. NOW is the time to make sure your Senators understand the life-saving coverage that people with disabilities receive thanks to Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as the services and supports provided by Medicaid that enable people with disabilities to go to school, work, and live in their communities. All of which are currently threatened by the AHCA!
The Senate’s version of the AHCA is expected to be similar to the House of Representatives’ bill with some changes.
Impact of the AHCA
- Decimates Medicaid with $834 billion in cuts over the next decade (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities)
- By ending the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, the AHCA will reduce Medicaid enrollment by 14 million people by 2026
- Of the 70 million people who currently rely on Medicaid, 10 million are non-elderly people with disabilities
- Results in 23 million people losing their health care by 2026
- According to a recent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities article, there are 11.2 million children with disabilities, or 15% of all children, and 44% of them rely on Medicaid
- Does not protect people with pre-existing conditions
- According to a recent Center for American Progress article, there are over 130 million people with pre-existing conditions
- Increases the likelihood of more people with disabilities going into nursing homes and institutions
- According to a recent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities article, as of 2013, there are approximately 3 million people who use home and community-based services
- Reduces or eliminates essential health benefits including: prescription drugs, mental health services, rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, and more.
- Before the ACA, many health insurers did not cover these basic services (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
Since the Senate bill could be introduced anytime over the next few weeks, you should connect with your Senators as soon as possible. Sharing personal health care stories can be particularly impactful.
Contact your Senators
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be directed to your Senators.
Contacting Congress allows you to easily search for your Senators and access information on their offices.
- Civic Engagement Toolbox for Self-Advocates – Autistic Self Advocacy Network
- How to Set up a Meeting with your Member of Congress – Families USA
Key states and targeted Senators we (the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities) are focusing on are:
- Alaska: Murkowski and Sullivan
- Maine: Collins
- Nevada: Heller
- West Virginia: Capito
- Alabama: Shelby
- Arizona: Flake
- Colorado: Gardner
- Florida: Rubio
- Georgia: Isakson
- Indiana: Young
- Louisiana: Cassidy
- Missouri: Blunt
- Montana: Daines
- Nebraska: Fischer and Sasse
- Ohio: Portman
- Pennsylvania: Toomey
- South Carolina: Graham
- South Dakota: Rounds, Thune
- North Dakota: Hoeven
- Wisconsin: Johnson
Use the hashtags, #ProtectOurCare, #SaveMedicaid, #NoCapsNoCuts, #KeepAmericaCovered, and/or #CoverageMatters
[insert your Senator’s Twitter handle] Over 10 million people with disabilities rely on #Medicaid for healthcare coverage. Please – #ProtectOurCare & #SaveMedicaid.
[insert your Senator’s Twitter handle] Don’t allow insurers to discriminate against people w/ disabilities because of pre-existing conditions. #ProtectOurCare
[insert your Senator’s Twitter handle] The #AHCA would leave people w/ disabilities & millions of others without healthcare. #ProtectOurCare & #KeepAmericaCovered
- A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Medicaid
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) recently released their third plain language advocacy resource: A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Medicaid. This guide has six parts: Medicaid introduction and background, Who Can Get Medicaid?, What Does Medicaid Pay For?, Medicaid funding, What Could Happen to Medicaid?, and a summary and glossary explaining the terms used in the toolkit.
- Join the Fight to Protect Medicaid
The Center for Public Representation developed this website to help people with disabilities, their families, and advocates/allies understand the impact of AHCA and give them the tools to advocate.
- Protect Our Care Initiative
Families USA hosts and action center on their website that provides updates on the status of the American Health Care Act as well as an Action Kit to help advocates contact their Members of Congress.