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 previoiusly 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. Last month, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was introduced in the House of Representatives. On our NDNRC blog, we posted an analysis of what the AHCA would mean for people with disabilities. That post is available here, but since then amendments have been proposed which would threaten many of the protections the ACA provided for people with disabilities. These amendments would allow states to opt out of the essential health benefits and the prohibition against individual under-writing. These amendments would make it nearly impossible for people with pre-existing conditions to find affordable plans that cover basic health care services. Therefore, due to these amendments and the $880 billion that would be cut from Medicaid under the AHCA, AAHD cannot support the AHCA and is urging Congress to reject it.
If you would like to join our efforts in opposing the AHCA and supporting the important protections provided by the ACA and the vital services provided by Medicaid, here are some recommended activities you can take.
- Call or Fax your Representative/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 member of Congress. If you prefer to fax your member of Congress, faxzero.com has links available to fax members of the Houseor Senators. Below are some things you should say when you reach your member of Congress:
- 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 AHCA 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.
- 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
Another helpful resource has just been released from our NDNRC partner, The Arc. They have just released a video entitled “If I could say one thing to Congress or the President…” which highlights personal stories about the importance of the ACA and Medicaid in the lives of people with disabilities and families. It can be highlighted in a social media post as well:
- ACA & Medicaid are vital to people w/ disabilities. Here’s their message to Congress: http://ow.ly/9NbS30baf98 #ProtectOurCare #MedicaidWorks
AAHD is an active member of the Consortium for Citzens with Disabilities (CCD) Task Force on Health and join with CCD (www.c-c-d.org).