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)

About this proposal

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.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities posted a summary here. 
It flags both the restructuring and cuts to Medicaid - which will have substantial effects on state budgets - increased out of pocket costs for individual market consumers, and elimination or weakening of consumer protections.

In Washington, 32,424 people with developmental disabilities currently receive services through the state Developmental Disability Administration; these are paid for by Medicaid. Another 12,560 are on the "no services" list - meaning they have qualified for services but there is no funding available. Another 70,000 people with developmental disabilities either don't qualify for home and community based services, or they haven't applied. Many adults with developmental disabilities - even if they aren't getting services through the DDA - rely on Medicaid for health care; 77 percent of those on the no-paid services list are enrolled in Apple Health and/or are receiving food benefits.

The DDA updated its numbers of served and unserved in July. You can see the 2017 DDA caseload data report here.

National call-in day Sept. 25

Advocates are asking people with disabilities, families, and advocates around the country to call senators September 25. You can reach the Senate switchboard at 202.224.3121

If you like, you can use this sample script and talking points.

A KEY MESSAGE: Let Senators know that people with disabilities rely on Medicaid for the services that enable them to live and participate in the community. Any bill that cuts, caps, or "block grants" Medicaid jeopardizes the safety net for people with disabilities.

You can invite others to call in using the Facebook event.

This event is sponsored by: the Center for Public Representation, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), the Bazelon Center for Mental Heath, The Arc of the United States, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Lutheran Services in America Disability Network.

You can also find this information online, here.


Additional Resources