Congress is moving quickly on legislation to repeal and replace major provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to radically restructure Medicaid (see more information in our alert from earlier this week). The House Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means Committees both held long markups last week and eventually passed their portions out of committee. Uncaptioned videos of those markups are archived at the Committees’ websites: Energy & Commerce archived livestream; Ways & Means archived livestream.
There has been public opposition to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in both the House and the Senate by Democrats as well as Republicans. And just yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their report on the AHCA, which projected that as a result of the AHCA, 24 million people would lose their health insurance and there would be almost $900 billion in cuts to Medicaid. This report confirmed many of our fears, but it is unclear whether this information will present hurdles to the bill’s passage. Either way, we know that Congress’s ultimate goal is to vote the bill out of both chambers before the April recess.
Our action now is CRITICAL! The AHCA will result in higher out-of-pocket costs, fewer choices, and loss of coverage for people with disabilities. Under Medicaid per capita caps, states will see drastic cuts to their federal funding, which will result in people with disabilities losing access to critical community-based services. Without those services, people with disabilities around the country will be forced into nursing homes and institutions, turning back decades of progress our community has fought for. If the AHCA is passed into law, not only will affordable coverage once again be out of reach for many people with disabilities, but our independence and our lives will be at stake.
CONTACT YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES NOW!
We need NCIL members around the country to reach out to their Senators and Representatives and tell them that this bill will be disastrous for people with disabilities! We need YOU to explain to your members why the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid are essential to the disability community. You can get in touch with your members of Congress by calling the Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121), and they can direct you to the offices of both your Senators and your Representative.
HOLD A LOCAL EVENT!
We need local people to hold local events telling Republicans in Congress that they were not elected to cut vital Medical and community-based services for people with disabilities. NCIL is working with ADAPT to coordinate these events. Please organize a press conference, public accountability session, or public leafleting of the office. To make your event more effective, contact the media and try to get press coverage of your event. We have sample media alerts and press releases in an online Toolkit. It includes a letter from the National Disability Leadership Alliance that was signed by more than 200 organizations. The Toolkit is being updated regularly. If you are organizing an event, contact Ericka Jones, by phone (585-546-7510) or email.
TWEET AT YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS!
You can also tell your members of Congress how unhappy you are with the AHCA by Tweeting directly at them. See a list of Twitter handles for the House and Senate. When Tweeting about Medicaid, make sure to use the hashtag #SaveMedicaid. Also, the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has put together a week of social media action to fight against the proposals to cut Medicaid. You can join in the efforts to #SaveMedicaid by participating in this week of action and by following NCIL’s Tweets at @NCILAdvocacy. You can find information about the week of social media action along with sample tweets in CCD’s Social Media Toolkit, and the schedule is as follows:
- Tuesday – ‘HCBS are Best’ Day: Share how important HCBS waivers and services are to you and your family.
- Wednesday – ‘Impacted People’ Day: Share stories of how cuts to Medicaid will have severe impacts to people with disabilities, seniors, children, and low-income Americans.
- Thursday – Thunderclap / Medicaid Call-In Day: Sign up for the Thunderclap by 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, and call your Members of Congress and tell them to oppose the AHCA because the caps on Medicaid funding will be extremely damaging to people with disabilities and many others.
- Friday – ‘Don’t Cut My Services’ Day: Tweet and Facebook and call your Members of Congress and tell them not to cut services provided under Medicaid!