The Senate released their updated version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (PDF) yesterday, and all of our concerns remain the same. Read the Senate summary (PDF). The new version will still cut Medicaid by $772 billion, with an even more restrictive growth rate and deeper cuts starting in 2025. Fifteen million people will lose Medicaid. The bill also still eliminates the enhanced match for the Community First Choice Option, removes protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and allows waivers to eliminate essential health benefits, on top of adding a new provision to create separate insurance products for people with higher and lower health needs.
This new version of the bill has made NO improvements. Despite that, we’re hearing that Republicans who were undecided or even opposed to the previous version of the bill are now leaning toward voting YES. Republicans are reportedly becoming more unified around this new version, and we cannot let that happen!
The vote is expected to take place next week. That means that we have less than one week to fight this dangerous bill, and every single day counts. We need to make sure our Senators understand how dangerous this bill is for their constituents with disabilities. We need them to understand that we are literally fighting for our lives. And we have less than one week to make sure they hear us.
Call your Senators by dialing the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
Use Resistbot to have your texts turned into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters.
Find your Senator’s email address, Twitter handle, and other information through Contacting Congress.
Please see our previous alert for additional ways to take action. Every single one of us needs to keep the pressure on our Senators! Call often, send emails, keep protesting, and Tweet at GOP Senators; take action in every way you can!
We encourage everyone to reach out to their Republican Senators, but we have compiled a list of top priority Senators, including phone numbers for all of their offices, fax numbers, Twitter handles, and contact pages, as well as information for their healthcare staffers. Please utilize as many of these options as possible! If these are not your Senators, please make sure to reach out to everyone you know in their states!
Darla Erwin: Medicaid’s future a life/death decision to disabled (Gazette)
By Darla Erwin
I am — like thousands of others in West Virginia — a person with a disability. I was born with cerebral palsy and need a power wheelchair to get around. I’m also a mother, a widow, and a daughter. My handsome son, Wesley, is in the military and serves in Iraq.
Like many other people with disabilities, I have created a full life for myself: I am becoming a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children; I serve on several boards for disability organizations; and I am the co-coordinator of West Virginia ADAPT, a grassroots disability rights organization.
Also like so many other people with disabilities, I am only able to live this full, active life because of Medicaid. Medicaid pays for my wheelchair, for my medications and for the attendant who helps me get up in the morning and go to bed at night. Without these supports, I would be in a nursing home. Or, I would be dead.
The current congressional proposals to fundamentally change — and slash — Medicaid leave me terrified. The home- and community-based services that Medicaid funds for me — and 13,000 other senior and disabled West Virginians — could disappear. Completely. We will be left with no choice but to abandon our jobs, our families, our volunteer work. Many of us might be forced into nursing homes. Others would have family members who quit their jobs to care for us. Still others would die.
Three West Virginia Centers for Independent Living received 75 manual wheelchairs of various sizes for distribution to those in need. Brynn Hochman and her family from Los Angeles have been working with American Wheelchair Mission as part of a humanitarian Bat Mitzvah project. Initially they focused their efforts to bring wheelchairs to Vietnam, Africa, and Israel. They are now bringing their humanitarian efforts to Appalachia and have partnered with the CILS to identify individuals who need these chairs.
The Elkins office had a special guest! Former consumer, Jennifer, and her mother, Shirley, stopped by to say hello to the wonderful women of Elkins. Jennifer and Shirley came all the way from Wisconsin, where they moved a few years ago. Look at the smiles all around.