Health Care/Medicaid – Senate Version of Health Care/Medicaid Bill Released, Drawing Condemnation from Disability Advocates

On June 22, 2017, the Senate Budget Committee released a discussion draft of health care reform legislation, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.”  Some Senators are claiming that provisions have been added to this bill to protect people with disabilities. However, provisions related to people with disabilities are wholly inadequate.  Click here to see key points on why the disability provisions fail to provide any meaningful protections for people with disabilities.

The Senate draft is substantially similar to the harmful bill (H.R 1628) passedby the House in May.  Among other things, both measures radically restructure the financing of the Medicaid program to pay for the repeal of the tax provisions and other revenue producing provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  As a result, deep cuts to health care and community living supports for low income people would be used to fund tax breaks that largely benefit corporations and wealthy individuals.

Reactions to the Senate draft were swift and overwhelmingly negative from the disability community and others, evidenced by a highly-publicized protest in the Senate. Click here to watch MSNBC’s coverage of the protest which included numerous arrests and an extensive analysis of Medicaid’s significance to people with disabilities.

As The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns noted in his statement on the day the Senate draft was released, “This bill will have a devastating impact on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Make no mistake – people’s lives and independence are on the line.”

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