A Call to Action from NCIL's Executive Director #SaveMedicaid

June 27, 2017

Dear NCIL Family,

 

I am writing to urge you to take action.

 

As you may know, NCIL has been working with ADAPT to organize actions around the country to save Medicaid. Amazing work has taken place over the last week. We have seen actions in several states and in DC. We have seen unprecedented media coverage of those actions highlighting the fact that this bill will harm – and kill – people with disabilities.

 

This is our time! We have to act – and we have to act today! We need disability-led actions all over the country to bring attention to how the attacks on Medicaid will affect us. What we do today and tomorrow will most likely make the difference in this bill passing or not. What we are doing is making a difference, and we have to keep it up.

 

I’m asking you to take action in your local community, take action in your state, and contact your Senators often. Just get out there and make sure our message is heard! There are a lot of groups protesting the bill for a lot of reasons, but our message is different because WE are the ones who will be most affected. Disability-led direct action helps bring focus to the issues of the disability community, and they are also much harder to ignore. This is what we need right now.

 

BACKGROUND

 

Last week, on the 18th anniversary of the Olmstead decision, Senate Majority Leader McConnell released the Senate’s healthcare bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. Read the bill (PDF) and summary.The Senate calls their bill the Better Care Reconciliation Act, but using “better care” in the title is a flat-out lie. As expected, the bill closely resembles the House’s American Health Care Act, and will still result in people losing health insurance, significantly increasing healthcare costs, and people with pre-existing conditions losing the protections we’ve been promised (primarily through continuing coverage requirements and states’ abilities to waive the Essential Health Benefits).

 

But it also makes one major change that will leave people with disabilities worse off. The bill still changes Medicaid to a per capita cap system, but it slows the growth rate of the program starting in 2025. This means that Medicaid will start to experience major cuts immediately, but that those cuts will deepen even more beginning in 2025. This means even less money for states to fund the services and supports we need to stay in our homes and communities. This means more people with disabilities being forced into nursing homes and institutions. This means more members of our community dying.

 

CALL TO ACTION

 

As I write this, I am on Capitol Hill meeting with Senators in an effort to save the lives of people with disabilities. That’s where I was yesterday, and it’s where I’ll be most of the week, because this is serious! Our Senators need to know how serious this is for their constituents with disabilities. Our lives depend on the efforts of our community right now.

 

If you’re on Twitter, make sure to follow and join in at #ADAPTandRESIST and #SaveMedicaid! All of you are amazing, and I appreciate your efforts. As has been said many times, Justin Dart told us to get into politics as though our lives depend on it. This time they absolutely do!

 

Lead on!

Kelly Buckland

NCIL Executive Director

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