Here are three federal issues you should have on your advocacy to-do list:
1. Keep educating people about MedicaidThe 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:
- The Developmental Disabilities Council
- DisabilityRights Washington
- Centerfor Excellence in Developmental Disability at University of Washington (UCEDD)
- There are also local Projects of National Significance that support people with developmental disabilities to speak for themselves and contribute to all facets of community life.
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.