The Arc Virginia has been featured in two recent newspaper stories about the chapter’s advocacy opposing Medicaid per capita caps proposed in the American Health Care Act. The first, featured in Work It, SoVa, discusses the potential impact on The Arc Southside and their advocacy efforts in fighting it. Tonya Milling, Executive Director of The Arc Southside, described the tough decisions the chapter may have to make: “Do we serve Sally for free or do Sally and her family have to figure something out?” The second article, featured in The Virginian-Pilot, discusses the impact per capita caps could have on the state, including cuts in eligibility, reduced services, lower reimbursement rates, and shifting of funds from other state programs. Jamie Liban, Executive Director of The Arc Virginia explains: “It’s going to fall on the state to implement cuts, leaving the feds off the hook.” Staff members and volunteers from the chapter network throughout the state also recently participated in the “Rally to Save Medicaid” on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
NYSARC, in collaboration with the New York State Association of Community & Residential Agencies and the New York State Rehabilitation Association, recently hosted the fourth annual Community Integration Leadership Institute. The keynote speaker, Deborah Bachrach, former state Medicaid Director, discussed how the per capita caps in the American Health Care Act could result in the state losing $44 billion in federal funding. Since the per capita cap will be based on the 2016 Medicaid Budget, anything added in 2017, such as the increase in DSP wages the chapter fought for, will not be factored in.
The Arc Minnesota, as part of the “This is Medicaid” Coalition, hosted three town halls across the state on the proposed Medicaid cuts in the American Health Care Act. The town halls were held in Bloomington, Northfield, and St. Cloud. Attendance ranged from 20 in St. Cloud to 200 in Bloomington. At each town hall, coalition members discussed the basics of Medicaid and the many supports and services it provides to Minnesotans. Steve Larson, Senior Policy Director of The Arc Minnesota, and Cindy Owen, Executive Director of The Arc Midstate, were panelists at the St. Cloud town hall. Cindy shared her family’s story, and Steve discussed how Minnesotans with a variety of disabilities have benefitted from Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, noting that Medicaid is a “lifeline for Minnesotans with disabilities and their families.” Attendees filled out cards sharing their families’ stories for the Congressional delegation.
Thanks to the advocacy of The Arc Minnesota, the Minnesota Legislature passed and Governor Mark Dayton signed a Department of Health and Human Services funding bill that makes modest progress on several key priorities including:
- A 13% reduction in parental fees for participation in the TEFRA program.
- A 1% increase in the Medicaid spend-down, or about $10 per month
- $496,000 for statewide self-advocacy efforts;
- New services for those seeking competitive employment, pending approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and
- A 1.5% increase for personal care attendants under the SEIU contract, however there was no across the board increase for DSPs.
The Arc New Jersey Board President Bob Hage and Board Member Carolyn Hayer met with U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Congressman Bill Pascrell to discuss the devastating impacts of the American Health Care Act. They discussed the ways in which Medicaid long term services and supports benefit their children and urged Senator Menendez and Congressman Pascrell to do everything they can to stop passage of the American Health Care Act.
The Arc Minnesota, as part of the This Is Medicaid coalition, met with Congressman Tom Emmer to discuss the impact of the American Health Care Act on Medicaid beneficiaries. Specifically, they discussed the potential of the law to limit access to community-based services, increase waiting lists, and limit the ability of schools to bill Medicaid. Mike Gude, the chapter’s Communications Director, shared stories with Congressman Emmer of individuals with I/DD and their families who benefit from Medicaid.
Following the passage of the American Health Care Act in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday, The Arc New Jersey’s board President Bob Hage and incoming board member Carolyn Hayer spoke with U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Congressman Bill Pascrell about the devastating impacts of the legislation and the Medicaid cuts for people with I/DD. Bob and Carolyn talked about their children and explained how Medicaid provides for critical long-term supports and services that keep their children in the community. They urged the representatives to do everything they can to prevent the AHCA from becoming law, explaining that this would have a far-reaching and shattering impact on individuals with I/DD and their families living in New Jersey. This was an important opportunity to meet with high-ranking members of New Jersey’s congressional delegation as well as a chance to arm the state’s elected officials with real-life stories they can bring back to Washington. The chapter will continue to push back against this bill as debate on it begins in the Senate.
The Staten Island Advance recently published a letter to the editor from NYSARC’s President, Laura Kennedy. Kennedy wrote: “The defeat of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is only a short-term victory in a war far from over. We must continue to preserve and support the lifeline that tens of thousands of New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers rely on . . . Medicaid. Cutting Medicaid would be catastrophic for people with disabilities and their families.”
This week, The Arc Virginia sent a strong letter to the state’s Congressional delegation opposing the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and expressing grave concern about the Medicaid per capita cap proposals. The News Virginian published the chapter’s letter, which can be accessed here. “These proposals would cause harm to thousands of Virginians with developmental disabilities who rely on Medicaid for home and community based care and would impede efforts to address the unmet needs of Virginians on the Developmental Disability (DD) Waiver waiting list,” wrote Kim Goodloe, President of the chapter. “On behalf of the tens of thousands of Virginians with developmental disabilities and families who are affected by these proposals, we urge you to oppose the AHCA and speak publicly against the Medicaid per capita caps.”
As part of the Lanterman Coalition, a group of 24 major stakeholders in California’s community based developmental services system, The Arc California sent a letter to California’s Congressional delegation noting its opposition to the American Health Care Act and stating: “Governor Ronald Reagan signed The Lanterman Act into law, calling it a ‘dynamic framework on which we shall build a comprehensive system.’ The American Health Care Act threatens to dismantle that system by proposing sweeping changes to Medicaid, which would result in a loss of $20 billion to California and cause enormous budget pressures on the supports and services people with I/DD and their families rely on. Without these supports and services (e.g. supported employment, supported living, early intervention, respite care, day programs, etc.) people with I/DD will have significantly greater challenges living a fulfilling life in the community, as embodied in the Lanterman Act.”