Governmental Affairs Action Alert ~ June 13, 2017 (updated June 20)
NDSC attended a meeting on June 13 on Capitol Hill with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and key staffers who are working around the clock to try to save Medicaid. Since then we have continued to meet with Republican and DemocraticCapitol Hill staff and the latest information is that a vote could take place in the Senate as soon as June 26. Here is the resounding message:
“We are no longer in fire drill mode, we are in fire mode!”
The Senate version will not be made public until at most 24 hours before it comes to the Senate floor for a vote. At this point, it will be too late.
The Senate version will mirror the House version of the AHCA in many respects, including fundamentally changing the Medicaid system to cap and cut funding that the federal government will provide to the states.
Once the Medicaid structure is changed in this way, there will be no turning back. This will mean that states can decide who will receive Medicaid services and what services they will receive, and waitlists will grow exponentially. This means that the services that individuals with Down syndrome rely on to live and work in the community could disappear. It will greatly diminish funding available to pay for early intervention, therapy and other services in schools.
Changing the Medicaid structure will also mean that both Congress and the Administration can start to siphon off Medicaid funds every year, leaving the system in shambles.
The whole process of getting this “invisible bill” passed is set to start on June 26. That means we have 10 days to band together to prevent this “travesty of justice.” (as one staffer put it).
Here is what you need to do:
Call, email, tweet your Senators. Include a photo of you or your loved one who relies upon Medicaid and a brief explanation of how these cuts will hurt you or your family. Use the hashtags #NoCapsNoCuts and #SaveMedicaid
Go to your Senator’s local offices. Meet with staff. Print out your story and leave it with them.
Call your relatives and friends in other states and ask them to take action on your behalf. Main target states are: Alaska (Sen. Murkowski, Sen. Sullivan), Nevada (Sen. Heller), Maine (Sen. Collins), West Virginia (Sen. Capito).
Additional targets are Arizona (Sen. Flake), Colorado (Sen. Gardner), Ohio (Sen. Portman), Pennsylvania (Sen. Toomey), Louisiana (Sen. Cassidy), Arkansas (Sen. Cotton). ALL Republican Senators should be blanketed with calls and emails, though. We only need a handful of Republican Senators to break with party lines and vote against this bill.
One call or contact is not enough. Call them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for the next 10 days.
This is not a false alarm. As Senator Casey emphasized this morning, “This is one of the most important periods in history to band together to stop a terrible result for the American people.”
Ten days are all we have left to save the services that give people with disabilities true independence, productivity and a chance to have the opportunities that people without disabilities have.