AAHD firmly believes that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was an important step forward for people with disabilities in providing greater access to health insurance coverage and we also believe that Medicaid is a vital part of providing health care for people with disabilities. Last month, we released a statement calling on Congress and the new administration to responsibly address health care reform and not remove vital protections which the ACA provided for people with disabilities. To read the AAHD full statement, click here. As part of our National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC) project, we also further outlined those eight vital protections provided by the ACA which we believe should be made part of any ACA replacement plan. To read the NDNRC statement, click here. Earlier this month, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was introduced in the House of Representatives. On our NDNRC blog, we have posted an analysis of what the AHCA would mean for people with disabilities. That post is available here. For the reasons stated in that post, AAHD cannot support the AHCA and is urging Congress to reject it.
Yesterday, it was announced that in order to pass the AHCA, an amendment could be introduced today that would repeal the Essential Health Benefits (EHBs). The EHBs were an important step forward as it guaranteed that people with disabilities would have access to comprehensive coverage and that insurance companies would not be allowed to charge more just because someone requires a certain prescription medication, mental health treatment, durable medical equipment or other medical device, or rehabilitation and/or habilitation benefit, among others.
Please join our efforts in opposing the AHCA and supporting Medicaid, the essential health benefits (EHB) and other important protections provided by the ACA, here are some recommended activities you can take.
- Call or Fax your Representative/Senator. You can use this toll-free number: 866-426-2631. This number is provided by SEIU. Once you call-in, you will be given a brief overview and then be asked to enter your zip code at which point you will be transferred to your member of Congress. If you prefer to fax your member of Congress, faxzero.com has links available to fax members of the House or Senators. Below are some things you should say when you reach your member of Congress:
- I am your constituent.
- I am a person with a disability or I am a family member of someone with a disability or I am a professional in the disability field.
- Do NOT repeal the ACA without a replacement that maintains or improves coverage and protections.
- Do NOT repeal the ACA’s requirement of the essential health benefits as I have special health care needs and need to be sure that insurance companies will provide coverage for services I need without charging me more
- Do NOT allow restructuring and cuts to Medicaid to be part of an ACA replacement.
- The ACA and/or Medicaid helps me/my family member to have health care and community based services.
- Urge them to vote against the AHCA or any bill that would repeal the ACA and replace it with a law that undermines the Medicaid program by shifting funding to a block grant or per capita cap.
- Use Social Media. Below are some sample tweets that you can use to highlight the important protections provided by the ACA:
- If Congress wants to protect people with disabilities, they should leave Medicaid and the #ACA alone #MedicaidWorks #ProtectOurCare
- If Congress wants to protect people with disabilities, they should leave the #ACA essential health benefits alone #ProtectOurCare
- American Journal of Public Health examines effect Medicaid expansion has on people w/ disabilities. #ProtectOurCare http://buff.ly/2k9iVKm