Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Update on Health Care Legislation

The last 24 hours have been incredibly eventful.  
To recap, now that Senators Lee (UT) and Moran (KS) have come out against the bill, Senate Majority Leader McConnell does not have the 50 votes to begin debating the BCRA or to pass it.  Last night, Senator McConnell announced that he would instead try to move a bill that would repeal the ACA (but delay implementation for 2 years).  Like the BCRA, he would use the budget reconciliation process (at least for the ACA provisions that have revenue implications) and therefore he only needs 50 votes. The House and Senate passed a “repeal and delay” bill in 2015 and it was vetoed by President Obama.  The prior repeal-only bill that passed included complete elimination of the Medicaid Expansion and repeal of the enhanced match for Community First Choice. It also resulted in 19 million losing Medicaid coverage (32 million total more uninsured).
We also saw this morning that the House is beginning its FY2018 budget process and that "entitlement reform" -- including cuts and block grants to Medicaid -- are in that mix.  
With everything in flux, we wanted to share a few thoughts:
1.  Your advocacy has made all the difference.  It is because of the incredible advocacy of all of you that the BCRA is off the table, at least for the moment.  People have shown up, rallied, protested, written, and called.  You are the reason this bill has not yet passed. 
2.  We cannot stop our advocacy.  Things are very much in flux.  We cannot assume that this is over, even in the immediate term.  We will be getting more information from the Hill over the next 24 hours.  With the caveat that this is fluid, our current understanding is that Senator McConnell may not be able to move a bill for a few weeks given Senator McCain’s health and some preliminary “no’s” on a “repeal and delay.”  But we need to keep up the message that cuts, caps and block grants to Medicaid are unacceptable.  We understand that everyone may need a day or two to breathe.  So take a short breath, and let's keep up the drumbeat about Medicaid.  There are events planned in DC for next week (including the NCIL march and rally on July 25th) that are great opportunities to continue the advocacy. 
Thank you again for your incredible advocacy.  We have shown the world that advocacy works, and that the disability community is a force to be reckoned with.  
The CCD Grassroots Team
Alison Barkoff, Center for Public Representation, abarkoff@cpr-ma.org
Christine Grosso, Association of University Centers on Disability,cgrosso@aucd.org
Nicole Jorwic, The Arc of the United States, jorwic@thearc.org
Vania Leveille, American Civil Liberties Union, vleiville@aclu.org

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