Last week, Republicans in the House of Representatives released the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a dangerous proposal that puts the health and independence of people with disabilities all around the country at risk. The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) strongly opposes this legislation.
“NCIL fights for the civil and human rights of people with disabilities in this country. We believe that healthcare as a human right, and this bill puts that right in jeopardy,” said Kelly Buckland, Executive Director of NCIL. “The proposed changes to Medicaid and our healthcare system will result in skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs and a drastic decrease in access to the services people with disabilities rely on.” Medicaid is the primary funder of the services and supports that people with disabilities need to live in our homes and communities. Buckland said “the extreme cuts to Medicaid proposed by this bill will result in more people with disabilities being forced out of our homes and communities and into nursing homes and institutions.”
The AHCA is being touted as a “repeal and replace” bill, but in reality it repeals major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without much replacement, and it makes devastating cuts to Medicaid to cover the bill. If passed into law, the AHCA will destroy much of the progress that’s been made by people with disabilities and the Independent Living Movement. Lou Ann Kibbee, Board President of NCIL and Systems Advocacy Manager at the SKIL Resource Center in Kansas, said “the AHCA will put affordable healthcare out of reach for many, and community integration will be set back decades. This bill is an attack on the health and independence of people with disabilities. Our lives are literally at stake, and we will fight it every step of the way.”