Thursday, September 21, 2017

Activist toolkit for Medicaid

This toolkit was shared by the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities

Continued Threat to Medicaid


Senators Cassidy and Graham introduced a bill last week to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  This bill, like previous proposals, would make huge cuts to and place caps on the Medicaid program, end the Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies in the ACA, and allow states to waive consumer protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Analysis indicates this bill would be devastating to people with disabilities and their families, women and children, seniors, and low-income Americans. And for the developmental disability community in particular, it threatens access to community living, employment opportunities, and educational supports. These services are available through home and community based waivers; they are also part of Medicaid and they are administered in Washington through the Developmental Disability Administration. 

#SaveMedicaid #ProtectOurCare

Spread the Word: No Cuts! No Caps! Save Medicaid!
Flood social media, call your members of congress starting today!
Primary hashtag: #SaveMedicaid
Secondary hashtag: #ProtectOurCare

See below for date-specific action, sample messaging, who to tag, resources and more.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hearing and national call-in day Sept.25 for Medicaid


HEARING AND PUBLIC COMMENT: The United States Senate Committee on Finance will hear the Graham-Cassidy health-care proposal Monday, September 25, at 2 pm EST (11 am Seattle time). You can view the event here. 

How to submit your story/testimony: Clearly state your position on the Graham-Cassidy bill. Please also note the title and date of the hearing, as well as your name and address. Statements cannot exceed 10, single-spaced, typewritten pages.

Monday, September 25, 2017, hearing of the United States Senate Committee on Finance
re: Public comment on the Graham-Cassidy health care bill
Position (state your position here)
Name (type your name here)
Address (type your address here)

Comments (type comments here)

Public comments for the hearing must be submitted by Monday at 9 am EST (6 am Seattle time). Senate staff will check this email address and submit the entries.

CALL-IN DAY: Advocates are also organizing a national call in day. (Please see information, below)

This is the latest proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It also would end Medicaid as we know it. Medicaid is a state-run program paid for with state funds and federal matching funds. In Washington, Medicaid includes home and community based services, which enable people with developmental disabilities to live and participate in the community. It also includes Apple Health, which provides preventative care like cancer screenings, treatment for diabetes and high blood pressure, and many other health care services.

Economic impact "staggering"

A bi-partisan governor's letter came out September 19 opposing the bill. Governor Inslee and Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler also sent a letter urging opposition.
Earlier, the Consortium of People with Disabilities also sent a letter in opposition. According to analysis by Avalere:
  • The bill would lead to reduction of federal funding to states by $215 billion by 2026, and a reduction of more than $4 trillion over the next 20 years
  • The bill would result in a 15 percent decrease of traditional Medicaid spending for people with disabilities 
  • The bill would result in a 31 percent decrease of traditional Medicaid spending on children
You can read the bill here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

WA set to lose billions in latest effort to cut Medicaid

Disability rights advocates are putting out a red alert on the latest federal bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This bill is called the "Graham-Cassidy" bill, after its two Senate sponsors Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.


For Washington, it is a matter of numbers and lives.

  • A loss of $3.3 billion in non-expansion Medicaid funding by 2026, and a total loss of $7.5 billion by 2027, according to analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
  • As of 2016, Washington had 1,825,000 people enrolled in Medicaid; 586,500 people enrolled as part of the state's expansion, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The non-expansion Medicaid funds pay for therapies and other supports for people with developmental disabilities, as well as health care for the traditional Medicaid population, which includes people with disabilities as well as impoverished seniors, children and mothers.

The total loss reflects loss of funding for Medicaid expansion introduced with the Affordable Care Act.

The Graham-Cassidy bill eliminates Medicaid as we know it and ends the entitlement by placing a per-capita cap on the traditional Medicaid population. It also block-grants for the expansion population until 2026. After 2026 there will be no funding at all for the expansion population.

The block grants will also redistribute existing allocations. Starting in 2021, money will be pulled from states that expanded Medicaid and pledged matching funds (such as Washington) and reallocated using a new formula to states that didn't.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Medicaid targeted ... again

There is another bill in Congress that targets Medicaid. Concerns that disability advocates have include:

  • Per capita caps, leading to devastating cuts in funding
  • States penalized for investing Medicaid systems; rural states getting an advantage over urban ones
  • Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies phased out
  • Elimination of consumer safeguards
Here is an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Here is an analysis from FamiliesUSA
Here is a recap from Vox

In short, analysts looking at the bill through a disability filter say it would be devastating to people with disabilities and their families and threaten access to community living.

Here is an alert from The Arc if you would like to use it as a model.

If you choose to act, please do so quickly. The bill could pass with fewer votes if acted on by September 30.
"The complex funding formula used to divvy up the big pot of money would tilt more funding toward sparsely populated states. It advantages rural states that have fewer people per square mile than those with denser, more urban populations.
"Cassidy-Graham would also take the current Medicaid expansion spending from the 30 states that participate in the program and divvy it up among all 50 states. For a place like Texas, which has not expanded Medicaid, this would be a windfall — it might see its overall health funding rise under Cassidy-Graham. But a state like California would be dramatically disadvantaged, as it would see some of its Medicaid expansion funds sent elsewhere." - Vox

"Under current law, federal funding for the Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies automatically adjusts to account for increases in enrollment or health care costs.
"In contrast, the Cassidy-Graham block grant amounts would be fixed, no longer adjusting for increased enrollment due to recessions or higher costs related to public health emergencies, new breakthrough treatments, demographic changes, or other cost pressures.
"Faced with a recession, for example, states would have to either dramatically increase their own spending on health care or, as is far more likely, deny help to people losing their jobs and their health insurance." - Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Cassidy-Graham Health Care Block Gran Shrinks Over Time, Then Ends

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Paid family leave = Security and stability

Employment/Family Support - The Arc Releases Report, Video on Paid Family and Medical Leave

From The Arc's national staff:

Last week, The Arc and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality released a first of its kind paper outlining why paid family and medical leave is a necessity for the economic security and stability of people with disabilities and their families.

The Arc also released a video featuring one family's paid leave story, and a set of stories profiling several workers whose paid leave stories highlight the disability perspective.

Learn more at:

Federal Paid Leave Legislation Endorsed by The Arc:

Weaken ADA? Bill clears committee

Rights - House Committee Approves Bill Limiting Enforcement of Americans with Disabilities Act


From The Arc's national staff:

On September 7, the House Judiciary Committee approved the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R.620) by a vote of 15-9. This bill prevents lawsuits over architectural barriers violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) unless an individual provides "specific enough" notice and allows 120 days for a business to correct that barrier.

The bill was introduced on the belief that the ADA has led to "frivolous lawsuits" where plaintiffs and attorneys intentionally seek barriers in order to extract funds. However, the ADA does not allow courts to award monetary damages to plaintiffs. Where those damages are available, it is through state law. Furthermore, there are already laws on the books that allow punishment of attorneys who represent clients in frivolous lawsuits.

This bill effectively eliminates incentives for businesses to comply with federal law until 120 days after a person with a disability asks them to do so. See this fact sheet from Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund for more information.

  • Call Congress: 202-224-3121

Friday, September 1, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: Helping The Arcs in Texas

Dear Friends in our Arc Community,

So many people have reached out to us, concerned about families in Texas struggling to cope in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and wondering what they can do to help. 

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are often among the most vulnerable when natural disasters strike. During rescue attempts, many people may be forced to evacuate without necessary medical equipment; they may be separated from their families; need medications and special supplies; others may need special accommodations not available in shelters. Some 394,000 people who have a disability live in Harris County.

Friend of the court brief: Students with disabilities left out

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The Arc of King County's amicus brief


Children’s Advocates Urge Supreme Court too Protect the Education Rights of Children with Disabilities

OLYMPIA, WA (September 1, 2017) – The Legislature still is not paying the true costs of educating 130,000 students with disabilities in Washington, The Arc of King County and other advocacy groups said in a “friend of the court” brief filed today in the landmark case of McCleary v State of Washington. 

Advocates joining in the brief include The Arc of Washington State, Teamchild, Seattle Special Education PTA, Bellevue Special Needs PTA, Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy, and Open Doors for Multicultural Families. Three individuals also signed on, including state Rep. Gerry Pollet of North Seattle.

“By excluding children with disabilities from reforms, the state is denying a particularly vulnerable group of children the opportunity to obtain the knowledge and skills needed for college, employment and citizenship,” the advocacy coalition’s brief says, adding, “This continued underfunding of special education, a component of basic education, is unconstitutional.”

Friday, August 25, 2017

Creating Connections: Fall 2017 lineup

Helping you be the change you want to see

We’re happy to announce that we are expanding our training and networking opportunities for The King County Parent and Family Coalition and inviting Parent to Parent families and self-advocates to explore new civic engagement opportunities.

Please join us! We have three great classes lined up for September, including Special Needs Financial Planning (Sept. 11), Advocating for the Individual (Sept. 12), and Let's Talk: Into Adulthood (Sept. 23).

Each month, we will host three events - one each in Federal Way, Bellevue and North Seattle. And each month, we will offer three types of classes: An Access workshop to help you learn about services; a Skills class to build your civic engagement toolbox; and a Let’s Talk event where we explore issues by sharing expertise and identifying advocacy areas.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

1-2-3 … Next up on the federal front

We have a reprieve on the Affordable Care Act and cuts to Medicaid... But now what?

Here are three federal issues you should have on your advocacy to-do list:

1. Keep educating people about Medicaid

The House budget committee is looking for $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid. It is important that your elected leaders understand the role Medicaid plays in the developmental disability community. Medicaid provides access to health care AND access to home and community based services so people can live in the community.


2. Ask your Congressional representatives to protect the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000

(Also known as the “Developmental Disabilities Act” or “DD Act”)

We are hearing about proposals to scale back the act, or cut funding for its programs. Community participation is at the core of this federal legislation. Its programs empower individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to help shape policies that impact them, and they conduct important research and test innovative service delivery models. They work to bring the latest knowledge and resources to those who can put it to the best use, including self-advocates, families, service providers, and policymakers. DD Act programs also investigate cases of abuse and serve as advocates for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
DD Act programs in Washington State include:

3. Ask your Congressional representatives to sign on to the Disability Integration Act of 2017

The Disability Integration Act is bipartisan, bicameral legislation that ensures Americans with disabilities have a right to live and receive services in their own homes. As of August 15, no one from the King County Congressional delegation has signed on, nor have Senators Murray or Cantwell. This bill would give community-based services extra protection should Medicaid cuts go through. Right now, funding for institutions is required; funding to offer the same care or support in a community setting is not.