The Autism Society of America, representing more than 3 million people on the autism spectrum and nearly 12 million family members, strongly opposes proposed changes to Medicaid in the American Health Care Act. These changes would jeopardize services for the nation’s most vulnerable people, particularly those with disabilities. We are urging the House and Senate to preserve the federal-state partnership that has made Medicaid a crucial safety net for them.

We are particularly opposed to curtailing the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which serves as a lifeline for millions of people with disabilities and many of their caregivers. We also oppose the creation of a per capita cap and the elimination of the essential health benefits requirement, both set to take effect in 2020. Tight state budgets will not be able to make up for these changes, leading to a decline in services and supports for people with disabilities.

Slashing federal support for Medicaid by an estimated $880 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office, over 10 years would force states to reduce eligibility and services, placing the health and well-being of people with disabilities at risk. Our grassroots network of nearly 100 affiliates will not stand by and allow these cuts to happen. They could lead to unintended consequences affecting millions of people with disabilities who seek to live as independently as possible in their communities.

The complex and far-reaching changes to Medicaid alone warrant increased transparency and additional legislative hearings, with greater public input. We urge both the House and Senate to slow down and take into consideration the views of those who would be directly affected by these reductions.

As the nation’s largest organization serving individuals with autism and their families and caregivers, we will continue to monitor your actions in the coming weeks and months. We will send our affiliates and members a scorecard informing them how their senators and representatives vote on this or any measure affecting Medicaid eligibility and benefits. We hope Congress makes the necessary changes to this legislation – or votes against it.