Ellen Baudler, Director of Housing Access for The Arc Minnesota, has been meeting with members of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation to advocate for affordable housing for people with I/DD. She attended the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ “Coffee with Congress” event to discuss housing policy with Sixth District Congressman Tom Emmer. Additionally, she joined members of the Protect Our Homes coalition in a meeting with Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison. Congress is considering massive cuts to housing and it must pass a budget by the end of September.
The Arc Illinois Executive Director Meg Cooch, Ligas Family Advocate Missy Kichline, and her daughter Sam Kichline presented at a press conference with Senator Dick Durbin on the Better Care Reconciliation Act. They highlighted the opportunities Sam has in the community because of Medicaid.
Congressman Tom MacArthur visited The Arc Ocean County in New Jersey to learn about the services the chapter provides. Executive Director Laura Williams gave Congressman MacArthur an overview of the chapter’s programs and explained the ways in which Medicaid is important to individuals the chapter serves. Additionally, Congressman MacArthur had a conversation with individuals with I/DD and their families who are served by the chapter. Photos from the event can be found on The Arc New Jersey’s Facebook page.
Representatives from The Arc Virginia attended a round table with U.S. Senator Tim Kaine to discuss Medicaid cuts proposed by the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Kim Goodloe, President of The Arc Virginia explained: “You cannot balance the health care act on the back of the most vulnerable citizens.”
The Arc New Jersey participated in a press conference with U.S. Senator Bob Menendez on the American Health Care Act. Eileen Stuart, mother of Laurie, who lives in a group home run by The Arc of Essex County, discussed the important role Medicaid played in her daughter’s life. She stated, “I can’t even begin to tell you what it would be like if the funding wasn’t there.” Joann Bergin, incoming President of The Arc New Jersey, penned letters to the editor published in the Times of Trenton, the Jersey Journal, and the Daily Journal discussing the devastating impacts Medicaid cuts will have on people with I/DD and educating the public about lesser-known but equally important aspects of Medicaid. She wrote: “Although many people know that Medicaid covers the cost of medical expenses for low-income individuals, they are less aware that it pays for the long-term supports and services on which people with I/DD depend. Medicaid provides more services than I can possibly list, but to name a few, it’s what allows people in New Jersey to live in group homes, attend day programs and receive behavioral supports.”
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.
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.”
The Arc New Jersey participated in a roundtable with U.S. Senator Bob Menendez held in honor of Autism Awareness Month. They used the opportunity to discuss proposed changes to Medicaid and called on Senator Menendez to fight back against block grants or per capita caps.