Health Care/Medicaid – The Arc Continues Advocacy to Preserve Medicaid

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continues to seek Senate passage of the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), which passed the House of Representatives in May. News reports continue to indicate that the Senate may vote on the bill as soon as the end of June. While the Majority Leader has not released proposed Senate changes to the bill, reports continue to indicate that Medicaid per capita caps will remain in the bill, jeopardizing the availability of Medicaid home and community-based services for people with I/DD.

The Arc is continuing its efforts to preserve health care and long-term services and supports under the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. On June 16, The Arc hosted a Facebook Live briefing (part 1part 2) with Nicole Jorwic, Director of Rights Policy. On June 19, The Arc co-hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill on “Understanding the Devastating Impact of Medicaid Per Capita Caps on People with Disabilities” with Marty Ford, Senior Executive Officer for Public Policy, as a panelist. Additionally, The Arc released a fact sheetdetailing Medicaid’s optional and waiver services that are at risk if per capita caps are enacted.

Health Care/Medicaid – Senate Plans Vote on Health Care Act by End of Month

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has placed the American Health Care Act on the Senate calendar with a vote planned by the end of June. The Senate is planning to skip the committee process. The bill is expected to be substantially similar to the version that passed the House. Very few details of the bill have been made public. One likely change is extending the time frame for phasing out the Medicaid expansion. However, Medicaid per capita caps are likely to remain in the bill, jeopardizing the availability of services for people with I/DD. The Arc is continuing its efforts to defeat the bill, and recently released a new video.

Javi, a man with autism and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and his mother Linda have benefitted from Medicaid. Linda became a single parent when Javi was just seven years old, and was able to work full time because of the support Javi received through Medicaid. Last week, The Arc released their story, the sixth in a series featuring people who rely on Medicaid and/or the Affordable Care Act. Please share this video widely with your networks to show the impact of cutting Medicaid and repealing major health care protections. For an especially easy option, retweet The Arc of the US and share our Facebook post.

If you missed The Arc’s first five videos, check them out & share them now:“If I could say one thing”“Calvin’s Story”“Meet Thelma”“Meet Bryan.”, and “Meet Soojung & Alice”

Please Share! New Videos on the Importance of Medicaid, Affordable Care Act to People with Disabilities and their Families

Soojung’s daughter, Alice, was born with Rett syndrome and relies on Medicaid to get the health care and services she needs to survive and thrive. Last week, The Arc released their story, the fifth in a series featuring people who rely on Medicaid and/or the Affordable Care Act. Please share this video widely with your networks to show the impact of cutting Medicaid and repealing major health care protections. For an especially easy option, retweet The Arc of the US and share our Facebook post.

If you missed The Arc’s first four videos, check them out & share them now:“If I could say one thing”“Calvin’s Story”“Meet Thelma”, and “Meet Bryan.”

Health/Medicaid – Congressional Budget Office Releases New Estimates on American Health Care Act

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new analysis of the House-passed American Health Care Act. The CBO estimates that the number of uninsured people will rise by 14 million by 2018, 19 million by 2020, and 23 million by 2026, all relative to current law. The number of Medicaid beneficiaries will fall by 14 million, most of whom will become uninsured. States that use waivers are likely to see more healthy enrollees join the market, while more people with chronic health conditions will likely be unable to find insurance. Overall, the bill cuts more than $830 billion out of Medicaid over a decade.

“We are at a critical juncture in our history as a disability rights movement. Now more than ever, people with disabilities, families, professionals in the field, and the general public need to rise up to protect the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live a life like anyone else,” said Marty Ford, Senior Executive Officer, Public Policy, The Arc. Learn more in The Arc’s full statement on the CBO analysis.

Health/Medicaid – New Report: Medicaid Per Capita Caps Would Devastate HCBS

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report detailing the likely impact of the Medicaid per capita caps in the American Health Care Act on home and community based services (HCBS). The report notes HCBS are optional, but are a large share of overall state spending and therefore they are likely targets for cuts. Additionally, the report notes that per capita caps would exacerbate direct care workforce shortages by limited federal funds available for provider reimbursement.

The Arc continues its efforts to fight this harmful proposal. To watch the latest in The Arc’s video series, see Meet Bryan and Meet Soojung and Aliceabout the critical importance of health care and Medicaid to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Please share with your networks.

Health/Medicaid – Senate Forms Working Groups to Revise American Health Care Act

With the House passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the bill is now being reviewed in the Senate. The Senate has formed a 13-member working group composed of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), and Senators John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Pat Toomey (R-PA). Major areas of disagreement between Senate Republicans include the structure of tax credits, Medicaid per-capita caps, Medicaid expansion, essential health benefits, and pre-existing conditions. The Arc has released a fact sheet on the harmful impact of the AHCA on people with disabilities. The Congressional Budget Office is expected to provide cost information on the AHCA early in the week of May 22.

 

Click here to watch the latest in The Arc’s series of videos on the critical importance of health care and Medicaid to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Please share with your networks.

Health Care/Medicaid – House Passes Bill to Repeal the ACA, Cut Medicaid

On May 4, the House of Representatives narrowly passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by a vote of 217-213. The Arc strongly opposed the bill for many reasons, the most critical being the deep cuts and radical restructuring of the Medicaid program. Over $800 billion will be cut from the program over 10 years and millions of people may lose coverage, based on the analysis of the original version of the bill by the Congressional Budget Office.

The AHCA will let states opt to allow insurance companies go back to charging more for people with pre-existing conditions. Over 50 million people have pre-existing conditions including many people with disabilities. States would also have the option of eliminating the requirement that health plans cover essential health benefits such as prescription drugs, therapy services, mental health services, and other basic health care services. The combination of these changes makes it more difficult for people with disabilities to access affordable health insurance that meets their health care needs.

The Senate is expected to develop legislation and has a workgroup of Senators to re-work portions of the House bill. Because the Senate plans to also use the special budget rules known as budget reconciliation, they will only need 51 votes to pass the bill. Medicaid restructuring will likely be considered in the Senate because the cuts to Medicaid in the House version pay for the removal of the taxes on drugs, health plans, devices, and the other costs of the AHCA. The Arc will work to persuade the Senate not to cut and cap the Medicaid program.

Click here to watch the latest in The Arc’s series of videos on the critical importance of health care and Medicaid to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Please share with your networks.

Health/Medicaid – The Arc Seeking Reports of Activity During Congressional Recess

The Arc is seeking records of how its constituents engaged their Members of Congress during the April recess. If you engaged your Member of Congress on the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid, whether in the form of calling or emailing their offices, meeting directly with them or their staffs, or attending a town hall, please share your experience using our action alert. We thank you for being part of our efforts.

Health/Medicaid – The Arc Seeking Reports of Activity During Congressional Recess

The Arc is seeking records of how its constituents engaged their Members of Congress during the April recess. If you engaged your Member of Congress on the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid, whether in the form of calling or emailing their offices, meeting directly with them or their staffs, or attending a town hall, please share your experience using our action alert. We thank you for being part of our efforts.

Medicaid – HHS Secretary and CMS Administrator Write Letter to Governors Regarding Medicaid Changes

On March 14, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Thomas Price and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma sent a letter to Governors expressing the Administration’s priorities in Medicaid policy. Among the topics mentioned were speeding up the review of state plan amendments and waivers, allowing more premiums or contributions from beneficiaries, the use of alternative benefit plan designs such as health savings accounts, and waivers of retroactive coverage and presumptive eligibility. The letter also referred to the Administration’s openness to using demonstration authority to develop health care plans that focus on training and employment. This has been widely interpreted to indicate that the Administration will consider work requirements for adults applying for Medicaid, a proposal that a number of states had included in demonstrations but the previous Administration would not approve. The letter also indicated the Administration would be pursuing additional time for states to implement the Home and Community-Based Services settings rule and looking at ways to engage with states on the implementation of the rule. The Arc has expressed concern about the letter.