Action Alert! The Healthcare Battle is Not Over Yet
May 10, 2017
Last week the House of Representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) – legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and eliminate or reduce many of the services and supports that people with disabilities depend on to live independently.
The bill now goes to the Senate where it is expected to be revised or rewritten before going back to the House for reconciliation. As such, we need to keep up the pressure and make sure Members of Congress understand the very real impact this healthcare legislation has on people with disabilities and their families.
While the legislation is expected to change in the Senate, the current form of the AHCA:
- Cuts over $800 billion from Medicaid
- Makes 24 million people lose their health care
- Increases the number of people going into nursing homes and institutions
- Reduces or eliminates essential health benefits (including prescription drugs, mental health services, rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices, and more)
- Charges more for those who have a pre-existing condition
We need to double our advocacy efforts to the 217 US Representatives (all Republicans) that voted ‘Yes’ on the AHCA to help them understand why this bill is a bad deal for people with disabilities. This legislation will lead to higher health care costs, less coverage, and a greater risk of institutionalization.
We also need to thank our allies, the 213 US Representatives (193 Democrats and 20 Republicans) that voted ‘No’ on the AHCA. They need to know that the disability community appreciates their support and backs their decision. It will be important to underscore our support of these Members’ decision if this legislation returns to the House for a reconciliation vote.
Participate in town halls or other events
You can find public events for Members of Congress all across the country thanks to the Town Hall Project. The House of Representatives is on recess now until May 16th. Make sure that Medicaid and health care concerns for people with disabilities are raised during these events. Sharing personal health care stories can be particularly impactful.
Contact your Senators and Representative
Contacting Congress allows you to easily search for your Member of Congress and access multiple methods to contact them (phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
Call your Senators and Representative through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Despite multiple methods of communications, congressional offices respond best to in-person meetings and phone calls.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) recently released their third plain language advocacy resource: A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Medicaid. This guide has sis 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.
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.
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.