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URGENT: Tell Senators Not to Cut or Cap Medicaid

Congress plans to hold hearings Monday on a health-care bill that makes massive cuts to Medicaid, which includes funds for Innovations waivers, EPSDT services, and many other health and disability services.

Analysis of previous health-care bills estimated that billions of dollars would be cut from Medicaid and 32 million people would lose health coverage, resulting in people losing access to services. The Graham-Cassidy bill includes cutting and capping Medicaid, as well as changes to health care that go beyond previous bills. Health-care analysts believe that these changes would result in even more people losing health and disability services. (You can read more about the bill here, here, and here.)

The Congressional Budget Office has not yet issued a report on the impact of the bill; hearings are moving forward despite this.  Time is very short to stop these changes: your calls are more important than ever!

 

DO NOT WAIT: Call your US senators now!

Senator Richard Burr

Senator Thom Tillis

 

Also email the Finance Committee!

Email the Finance Committee at GCHcomments@finance.senate.gov between now and 1 p.m. Monday with your opposition to bill. Let the committee members know devastating impact cuts will have on people, you, and/or your own family. The hearing on the bill begins at 2 p.m. Monday, so act now! (Please note that statements/testimony made to the committee become part of the public record. Your comments should include your full name and address at the start of the statement.  As always, be brief and respectful.)

 

What to say

Share a brief version of your story: who you are and how Medicaid cuts and health-care changes would affect you and/or your family. If you write, limit it to three short paragraphs or less.

  • I live in [your NC city] in North Carolina.
  • I am a person with autism, or I am a family member of someone with autism, or I am a professional in the autism field.
  • I care deeply about health care and supports for people with autism, including Medicaid.
  • [If you or your family gets Medicaid funded services] I/We depend on Medicaid services/long term supports to live in our community. Briefly share your personal story of how Medicaid or other health care services help or could help; that is what will make a difference.
  • Ask them to:
    • Oppose the Graham-Cassidy Bill
    • Oppose bills that make cuts to Medicaid
    • Work in a bipartisan way to improve access to health care, including autism services and Medicaid.

Thank you for taking action. Your call, your email, your voice matters. Congress is noting the stories coming into their offices, and the committee testimony will be noted as well. We know that all of our advocates made a big, and effective, push to stop recent bills that would have cut and capped Medicaid. Please keep up the effort!

To learn more about how to advocate with your legislators, see our website.

 

How Medicaid cuts would hurt those with autism

Medicaid home- and community-based waivers, such as North Carolina’s Innovations and CAP programs, allow people with serious disabilities to live in their own or family homes, hold jobs, and participate in communities. Costs for vital treatments and supports could shift to individuals or their family members, possibly putting those services out of reach. This would affect those who are currently getting Medicaid, those on the waiting list, and those who may need these services in the future, as well as people with private health care coverage.

For families that have loved ones with autism, the consequences of these plans could include:

  • Already lengthy waiting lists of 8-10 years for disability waiver services will grow to record levels, and services may be severely limited. General Assembly legislators are moving to reduce NC waiting lists; these changes at the federal level could stop this from happening.
  • If funds become scarcer, states may decide to stop providing behavior and other therapy services, personal care, mental health treatment or other optional Medicaid services.
  • Coverage for intensive behavior services (including ABA) for children under Medicaid’s EPSDT could end.
  • Schools may no longer be reimbursed for services. This would only increase the burden on schools.
  • People could lose health care protections for pre-existing conditions, as well as coverage for habilitative services, mental health services, and other health care.

The proposed changes to health care and the budget recommendations all highlight the importance of understanding the complexities of Medicaid. Our friends at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network developed a great plain-language resource guide to Medicaid.

 

The Autism Society of North Carolina will continue to monitor federal policy changes and post updates and links to resources about health-care proposals. Please be on the lookout for our action alerts so that you know when the autism community needs you to advocate with your elected representatives. Sign up for public policy emails on our website.

 

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