This bill is the clearest threat to disabled kids and adults that I have seen in a long time. The bill would end Medicaid as we know it, prioritizing tax cuts for individuals making over $250,000 over health care for Americans with disabilities. Amendments to the bill have so far made it worse for disabled Americans, not better.
Why all the fuss about Medicaid? Medicaid is typically the only health insurance plan for persons with disabilities who have limited income, including the majority of autistic adults.
However, there is still hope. Politicians across the political spectrum are still calling for changes to this bill. The bill will be amended before it moves forward.
Our community needs to be heard during this debate. We must speak with a unified voice and tell Congress that they cannot take health care coverage away from autistic adults or children. Here are the action steps all of us need to take:
- I have drafted a letter template drafted for you to use as a base for writing to your representatives: here. Copy the text into an email and modify it as necessary to fit your circumstances.
- Send the letter to both of your Senators: here.
- Send the letter to your Representative: here.
Too much work? Send your letter to me, including your full address, and I'll deliver it for you, in person, with one of my autistic children. Just paste the letter into an email, modify it and include your address, and email it to me: here. I'll handle any printing or delivery costs. Any letters I get by noon on Thursday, March 30 will be delivered in person.
Here are some additional talking points you can use in your letter:
- This is not a "left vs. right" issue. Medicaid is incredibly cost-effective. As noted in the article linked above, Medicaid is far more efficient than any other part of the American health care system. Medicaid costs 22 percent less per adult beneficiary than does private insurance.
- Medicaid is the most important disability benefit program in the country, by far. Medicaid is typically the only or primary health insurance plan for persons with disabilities who have limited income.
- Medicaid waiver programs have expanded coverage to disabled children who have working parents, diverting costs that would otherwise need to be borne by the private insurance market. Medicaid’s supports are essential for parents preparing their disabled children to be productive members of society.
- They are even more essential for autistic individuals who will never work. For these individuals, Medicaid provides essential support to ensure that disabled individuals continue to receive care in the community where they live, rather than in the more restrictive and much more costly institutional setting. The current Republican health care bill would take that support away.
- Despite Medicaid's incredible efficiency, covering more expensive conditions at a lower cost than private insurance, Congress continues to under-fund the system. Many parents of severely disabled children have been on a Medicaid waiting list for years, in most cases missing out entirely on coverage during those critical "early intervention" years.
One more thing. Tomorrow I'm going to be reminding you to call your Senators and Representatives. Even after you send the letter, you still need to call. Your child's access to health care may well be at stake. Don't let Congress mess this up.