Friday, May 12, 2017

For your daily dose of health care advocacy ...

A toolkit to protect Medicaid and access to health care

What does the new federal health care bill actually say?

What is the impact for Washington State?
The governor’s letter
The governor’s fact sheet on impact
DSHS Impact on Seniors and Adults with Disabilities
DSHS: Impact on Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities
How does it differ from the Affordable Care Act?

If health care and Medicaid are key issues for you, the next few weeks are critical as a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act gets a do-over in the U.S. Senate.The timeline for Senate action appears to be by the end of June. Please see suggested daily action steps, below.

BACKGROUND: On May 4, the House of Representatives narrowly passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by a vote of 217-213. The Arc strongly opposed the bill for many reasons, the most critical being the deep cuts and radical restructuring of the Medicaid program. Over $800 billion will be cut from the program over 10 years and millions of people may lose coverage, based on the analysis of the original version of the bill by the Congressional Budget Office.

People are concerned for various reasons. The version that passed the U.S. House ended certain protections that people with disabilities rely on to get access to affordable insurance that meets their needs. For  instance, the rule that people couldn't be denied or charged more for pre-existing conditions.

The AHCA also cuts and caps Medicaid. Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that funds the services people with intellectual and developmental disabilities rely on. When advocates call for more services here in Washington to reduce waitlists and ensure people aren't institutionalized, we are asking for INCREASED funding for Medicaid. So this move is counter to years of advocacy efforts in our state.

Many individuals with developmental disabilities and their family caretakers also rely on Medicaid for their health care insurance. In Washington, Medicaid health insurance it is called Apple Health.

MISSION CRITICAL: Medicaid restructuring will likely be considered in the Senate because the cuts to Medicaid in the House version pay for the removal of the taxes on drugs, health plans, devices, and the other costs of the AHCA. The Arc will work to persuade the Senate not to cut and cap the Medicaid program.


Senators Murray and Cantwell need to see and hear you ... daily

Senator Murray:
Call: Seattle office: (206) 553-5545; DC office: (202) 224-2621
Connect on social media: Twitter and Facebook handle @PattyMurray; Sen. Murray Facebook page;
Email Senator Murray

Senator Cantwell: 

Call: Seattle office: (206) 220-6400; DC office: (202) 224-3441
Connect on social media: Twitter and Facebook handle: @SenatorCantwell; Sen Cantwell Facebook page; Email Senator Cantwell  


Recruit a friend or two and jump in:

  • Meet with your senators, or go to their local offices to educate staff about the devastating impact caps and cuts to Medicaid will have on people with disabilities. 
  • Call your senators every day. Use their direct line, or all the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. 
  • Email your senators every day and tell them your story and why Medicaid matters; recruit others to do the same.
  • Attend town hall meetings (see for a list) and ask your members of Congress where they stand on capping and cutting Medicaid.
  • Engage with your senators on Facebook and Instagram (if they have accounts).
  • Tweet your senators every day about how devastating Medicaid caps and cuts will be for people with disabilities and their families and caregivers. Use these hashtags: l#MedicaidMatters #SaveMedicaid #NoCutsNoCaps (Suggested talking points and tweets.)
  • Reach out to reporters and journalists to make sure they’re covering this issue and that they’re aware of the devastating impact Medicaid caps and cuts will have on state budgets and citizens.  Write op-eds and letters to the editor.
  • Contact your governor and ask him/her to raise alarms about the impact of Medicaid cuts and caps.
  • Contact your state representatives and make sure they understand the fiscal impact on our state, and the personal impact on you and your family.