Dear Friends and Colleagues,
AAHD firmly believes that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was an important step forward for people with disabilities in providing greater access to health insurance coverage and we also believe that Medicaid is a vital part of providing health care for people with disabilities. We had previously released a statement calling on Congress and the new administration to responsibly address health care reform and not remove vital protections which the ACA provided for people with disabilities. To read the AAHD full statement, click here. As part of our National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC) project, we also further outlined those eight vital protections provided by the ACA which we believe should be made part of any ACA replacement plan. To read the NDNRC statement, click here.
In May, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). On our NDNRC blog, we analyzed what the AHCA would mean for people with disabilities – one post in March when the bill was originally introduced and one post in May on the final version of the bill passed by the House. The final version of the AHCA includes amendments which would threaten many of the protections the ACA provided for people with disabilities. These amendments would make it nearly impossible for people with pre-existing conditions to find affordable plans that cover basic health care services.
The Senate is now working on a version of ACA repeal called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA). The BCRA includes many of the same types of changes which could be detrimental to people with disabilities. Once again, we have done a full analysis on our NDNRC blog of the BCRA and what it means for people with disabilities.
In addition to the amendments which undercut the protections provided by the ACA, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the AHCA would cut $840 billion from Medicaid and the BCRA would cut $772 billion from Medicaid. As a result of these cuts and undermining the ACA protections, AAHD cannot support either the AHCA or the BCRA and is urging Congress to reject both of them.
The Senate is now considering what to do about ACA repeal, where it faces an uncertain future. If you would like to join our efforts in calling on the Senate to reject the BCRA and supporting the important protections provided by the ACA and the vital services provided by Medicaid, here are some recommended activities you can take.
1. Call or Fax your Senator. You can use this toll-free number: 866-426-2631. This number is provided by SEIU. Once you call-in, you will be given a brief overview and then be asked to enter your zip code at which point you will be transferred to your Senator. If you prefer to fax your Senator, faxzero.com has links available to fax Senators. Below are some things you may want to say when you reach your Senator:
- 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 repeal the important protections in the ACA that allow people with disabilities and pre-existing conditions to access affordable and comprehensive coverage and do NOT allow a provision which would allow states to opt out of requiring health plans to cover basic health care and keep it affordable for people with pre-existing conditions, including people with disabilities.
- Do NOT allow restructuring and cuts to Medicaid to be part of an ACA replacement.
- The ACA and/or Medicaid helps me/my family member to have health care and community based services.
- Urge them to vote against the BCRA or any bill that would repeal the ACA and replace it with a law that undermines the Medicaid program by shifting funding to a block grant or per capita cap.
2. Use Social Media. Below are some sample tweets that you can use to highlight the important protections provided by the ACA:
- If Congress wants to protect people with disabilities, they should not allow states to opt-out of #ACA protections #ProtectOurCare
- If Congress wants to protect people with disabilities, they should leave Medicaid and the #ACA alone #MedicaidWorks #ProtectOurCare
- American Journal of Public Health examines effect Medicaid expansion has on people w/ disabilities. #ProtectOurCare http://buff.ly/2k9iVKm
When the CBO put out its analysis of the BCRA, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)released a statement expressing concern over the potentially devastating cuts to Medicaid which would occur under the BCRA. That statement is available here. (AAHD is an active member of the CCD Task Force on Health.)