Thursday, May 11, 2017

Action Alert: Medicaid is at Risk

Dear Medicaid and ACA Advocates: 

As you know, the House passed, by a 217-213 vote, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) (H.R. 1628) which would significantly cut and cap federal funding for Medicaid and repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Kaiser Family Foundation created this summary which describes key provisions of the AHCA. A CBO score of the bill is expected during the week of May 22nd.

Medicaid is truly at risk right now.  We need you to make our voices heard about how people with disabilities will be devastated by the caps to Medicaid proposed in the AHCA.   

Senate Update:
The AHCA has now moved to the Senate where a 13-member working group (see attached) has been established to draft a Senate health care bill that will draw 51 votes of support.  We’ve heard that the Senate hopes to pass its bill by the end of June.  A delay is, of course, possible.

The next several weeks are critical. It is during this time period that Republican senators will discuss what should be in their health care bill and will gauge which provisions will draw support or opposition. This matters because the Senate only needs a simple majority to pass this bill.  Senate leadership can only afford to lose 2 senators; anything more than 2 and the bill fails.  So now is the time that senators must make clear to their colleagues that they oppose Medicaid cuts and per-capita-caps.  While several senators have expressed concern about the Medicaid expansion or the scope of Medicaid cuts, to our knowledge, no Republican senators have said that they will not support a health care bill that cuts and caps federal spending for Medicaid.   This is very concerning news and makes our work even more important.

We need you to focus on making sure that Medicaid per capita caps are not included in any Senate bill, like they were in the House bill. Funding caps for the Medicaid program will be devastating to people with disabilities. We need at least 3 Republican senators to state their opposition to per capita caps.  If a Senate-passed bill includes Medicaid cuts and caps, it will be difficult, and perhaps impossible, to stop it from becoming law and forever fundamentally changing the Medicaid program.

We can’t let this happen.

Actions Steps:  
·         Meet with your senators in DC, back home (during the Memorial Day recess from May 29-June 4), or go to their local offices to educate them about the devastating impact of per capita caps/cuts to Medicaid on people with disabilities. If you can’t get a meeting with the senators, meet with staff but keep trying to get a one-on-one with the senator. 
·         Call your senators every day; especially those on the target list. Use this number:  in English: 866-426-2631 and in Español: 877-736-7831 (both only connect you to Republican members of Congress).  You can also just call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or look up your senators’ phone numbers online.
·         Email your senators every day and tell them your story and why Medicaid matters; recruit others to do the same.
·         Attend town hall meetings ( ask your members of Congress where they stand on capping and cutting Medicaid.
·         Organize “No Cuts, No Caps for Medicaid” rallies and protests outside your Senators’ offices.
·         Engage with your senators on Facebook and Instagram (if they have accounts).
·         Tweet your senators every day about how devastating Medicaid caps and cuts will be for people with disabilities and their families and caregivers. Use these hashtags: l #MedicaidMatters #SaveMedicaid #NoCutsNoCaps
·         Reach out to reporters and journalists to make sure they’re covering this issue and that they’re aware of the devastating impact of Medicaid caps and cuts on state budgets and citizens.  Write op-eds and letters to the editor.
·         Contact your governor and ask him/her to raise alarms about the impact of Medicaid cuts and caps.
·         Connect with other local advocacy activities in your state (Indivisible, MoveOn, etc.) and encourage them to raise their voices against Medicaid caps and cuts.
·         Draft and circulate a coalition letter and recruit dozens of state organizations to sign and express their opposition to Medicaid cuts and caps and email it to your senators as well as local newspapers, journalists, and reporters.
·         Send postcards to your members of Congress:

Thank you for your incredible advocacy!

The CCD Grassroots Team, 
Alison Barkoff, Center for Public Representation (CPR),
Julia Bascom, Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN),
Christine Grosso, Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD),
Nicole Jorwic, The Arc of the United States,
Vania Leveille, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

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