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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

GOP Fumbling on Healthcare – Thank you! Please Keep It Up!

Two more Republican Senators announced on Monday that they oppose the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). Senator Mike Lee from Utah and Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas both issued statements expressing their opposition. Because Republicans can only afford two no votes, and Senator Collins (ME) and Senator Paul (KY) already confirmed their opposition, the Senate does not have the support needed to pass the BCRA and will not move forward with the vote.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingFirst, thank you for all of your calls, emails, meetings, protests, and other forms of action! The failure of this bill was a direct result of your work all over the country! As has been said before, the disability community has been leading the advocacy efforts against this bill and has been building momentum in nearly every state. Congratulations on a big win!

That said, while the bill may be dead, the efforts to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and cut Medicaid are not over. Senate Majority Leader McConnell said Monday night that instead they will vote on a “repeal-only” measure next week that would repeal the ACA with a two-year delay. While a straight repeal vote is highly unlikely to pass – in fact, Senators Capito, Collins, and Murkowski have already expressed their opposition – it’s important to note that repeal without a replacement would be a disaster. All it would do is kick the can down the road, and it would likely still have the same (or very similar) results. It would eliminate the enhanced funding for community integration used by the Community First Choice Option and other incentives and protections included in the ACA. Additionally, since a straight repeal would not restructure and cut Medicaid, which we’ve seen is a GOP priority, we can expect that to be on ongoing effort outside of the repeal vote.

The Senate may be at a standstill for now, but we need to keep up our advocacy efforts. Moreover, even if we stop efforts to cut and cap Medicaid and repeal the ACA, disabled Americans will continue to be forced into unwanted and unnecessary institutionalization where they are denied their most fundamental rights. Now more than ever, we need Congress to pass the Disability Integration Act (DIA), S. 910 and H.R. 2472.

We need to keep up our advocacy efforts on Medicaid and ACA repeal, but we also need to focus on urging both Republicans and Democrats to co-sponsor DIA!

Take Action!

Look at the links provided above to see if YOUR Senators and Representatives are co-sponsoring the DIA. If not, contact them! When speaking to Democrats and progressives, highlight the critical role the disability community played in stopping this healthcare bill. Now, we need Democrats and progressives to support OUR efforts. When speaking with Republicans, focus on the fact that life and liberty are guaranteed under the Constitution, and that this bill ensures that disabled Americans don’t have those rights taken away from them by states or managed care companies.

And remember, this fight over ACA and Medicaid is not over. We will continue to keep you updated as healthcare and Medicaid efforts in Congress evolve and move forward, and in the meantime, keep telling your Senators how vital Medicaid and/or the ACA are to you! Until Republican members of Congress say that they will work in a bipartisan way on healthcare and the ACA, and until they say they will vote NO on any measures that would cap and cut Medicaid, we need to keep up our efforts!

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