Today Senate leadership released its long-awaiting proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare. The plan, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, was drafted quietly among a select group of senators with no public input and stands to fundamentally alter the health care landscape in America for generations to come.
What We Know
Make no mistake – this bill is devastating to people with disabilities. Similar to the House version, the plan guts Medicaid spending and relaxes state waiver requirements for essential benefits coverage, including vital services for people with disabilities. The bill calls for steep cuts to Medicaid and a complete funding overall of the health care program. The proposal aims to change Medicaid’s open-ended federal/state funding partnership and converts the program to block grants and per capita caps, beginning in 2020. The bill ultimately eliminates the Medicaid expansion in 31 states and Washington, D.C., prompting millions of low-income Americans, including those with disabilities, to lose access to health care. The new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score is expected early next week.
What Happens Now
The bill is slated to hit the floor for a vote late next week, following several hours of debate beginning Monday or Tuesday. Under budget reconciliation rules, only a simple majority is required, meaning only 51 YES votes are needed to ultimately pass the bill. In the event of a 50/50 split, the vice president of the United States casts the deciding vote.
What You Can Do
Stop the bill in its tracks. Advocates need to act NOW. We need to keep up the momentum as critical services and supports for people with disabilities hang in the balance. Call your Senators today (202-224-3121) and tell them to oppose cuts to Medicaid. We need all hands on deck, especially if you live in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, and West Virginia! If phone lines are busy, please keep calling. We especially need Tag your senators on social media and urge them to #SaveMedicaid. Share stories about how Medicaid affects your life and the lives of your loved ones impacted by autism. Make your voice heard! Visit the Congressional Directory to locate your elected officials.
- Do NOT allow Medicaid to be gutted. Caps would destroy the program of which people with disabilities rely for critical healthcare and community services.
- Restructuring Medicaid to a per capita cap system will undermine states’ ability to provide America’s most vulnerable populations access to vital health care
- Changes to the funding structure of Medicaid could limit the availability of critical and cost-saving preventative care
- Do NOT allow states to opt out of requiring health plans to cover essential health care benefits