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Category: Public Awareness

Healthcare Vote Expected Next Week

Posted in Advocacy, Disability, Outreach, and Public Awareness

Healthcare Vote Expected Next Week: The Fight Is Not Over!

From the National Council on Independent Living

  • 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.

Take Action!

  • 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.
  • Use to fax your Senators for free.
  • 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!
Priority Senators
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 Ervin Writes in Charleston Gazette-Mail

Posted in Advocacy, Disability, and Public Awareness

Darla Erwin: Medicaid’s future a life/death decision to disabled (Gazette)

By Darla Erwin
Darla Ervin

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.

American Wheelchair Mission in Appalachia

Posted in Disability, Outreach, and Public Awareness

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.

Please call us at (304) 296-6091 or your local CIL for more information.  A list of state CILS can be found at:

Elkins Special Guest

Posted in Public Awareness, and Uncategorized

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.


Shirley and Jennifer visit with the Elkins office
Shirley and Jennifer visit with the Elkins office
Shirley and Jennifer visit with the Elkins office
Shirley and Jennifer visit with the Elkins office


Op-ed: Capito, most important lawmaker in America

Posted in Advocacy, Outreach, and Public Awareness

Our U.S. senator, Shelley Moore Capito, is the most important lawmaker in the country right now, as our democracy faces two questions that will define our politics for a generation.

Question 1: Will our government rip medicine from the hands of 20-plus million of its citizens?

Question 2: Who leads the Republican party?

Sen. Capito is in a unique position to answer those questions in the coming days. Her answers will define her legacy.

Capito is West Virginia’s junior senator, but her influence is real. She is a leader on the powerful Appropriations Committee and a member of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s inner circle. She was vetted for the vice presidency and hails from the state where President Donald Trump is most popular. She has spent decades cultivating relationships on both sides of the aisle.

Take Action: Proposed Medicaid Cuts

Posted in Advocacy, Disability, Outreach, and Public Awareness

Justin Dart urged us to get into politics as if our lives depended on it.”  Today, his words were never more true – or important!  The lives and liberty of disabled Americans are on the line as the US Senate considers massive cuts to Medicaid.  Join NCIL in the fight to protect Medicaid and fight for the lives and liberty of disabled Americans across the country!


The US Senate needs to hear from the Disability Community about the dangers of cutting $800 billion from Medicaid.  We need YOU to call Senator Capito.  Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and asking the operator to connect you.


Say: “My name is (your full name). I am a constituent of Senator (name). I am disabled and I rely on Medicaid to live independently in my community. I am calling to ask Senator (name) to vote NO on any legislation that will cap and cut Medicaid and put healthcare out of reach for millions of Americans, including the upcoming ACA repeal bill. Senator (name) has a responsibility to fight for their constituents, and that includes those of us with disabilities and pre-existing conditions. People (like me/in the disability community) rely on Medicaid for our health and independence, and converting Medicaid to a per capita cap system would be detrimental to people with disabilities in (state). If this bill is passed, I risk losing access to services that I rely on to live in my community. This is unacceptable. This is an extremely important issue to the disability community, and we are following the Senator’s actions closely. I hope we can count on the Senator to do what’s right for people with disabilities in (state) and around the country!”

It is imperative that you call now, and then do it again tomorrow, and every day after that while this legislation is still active! The entire Disability Community is depending on you to make these calls and stop this legislation from moving forward.

STEM Survey Accessibility Research Study

Posted in Disability, Outreach, Public Awareness, and Research


Do you have a physical disability? Were you in a science or engineering laboratory course after high school? If so, you may be eligible to participate in a study to gather information on the experiences of past/present students with physical disabilities using a science or engineering lab. Participants have had a physical impairment while in a STEM laboratory. Involves an online survey.

Please see this link for more details and to see if you qualify to participate.