Differing opinions and terminology make it hard to know how the Health Care Bill before the Senate will affect our loved ones with disabilities.
To find the truth, I read the information from this government website: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1628, as well as NPR’s comparison of the Affordable Care Act, American Health Care Act (which passed the House), and the Senate Draft: Better Care Reconciliation Act at this web address: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/06/22/533942041/who-wins-who-loses-with-senate-health-care-bill. I also attended the ARC of Central Kentucky’s event, Save Medicaid Benefits by Sharing Your Stories.
Some people say this Health Care Bill will cause enormous cuts in Medicaid and others say there will just be caps placed on Medicaid and reduction in Medicaid expansion. I have discovered there will be both.
My Greatest Concerns:
- For children ages 6 – 19, family income requirements would change from 133% of poverty level to 100%.
- Mental Health services may no longer be covered.
- The Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) which is the percentage of medical expenses the federal government pays to states, would be cut for home-based and community-based services (which includes group homes) as opposed to facility-based services.
- In 2020, the FMAP will no longer be based on medical expenses, but per capita which would result in large cuts in Medicaid.
- In 2020, the higher FMAP for the current expansion of Medicaid will be cut. However, states will have the option of continuing coverage for those enrolled before 2020.
- States that participated in Medicaid expansion will have their FMAP capped at the 2017 amount. Increases set under the current law will be cut.
- The Medicaid cap may force states to reduce “optional services” such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, respite care, supported employment, prosthetics, and prescription drugs.
- Taxes paid by corporations and the wealthy to fund Medicaid may be cut.
Why This Matters To Me
When my daughter, Hannah, received the diagnosis of autism, she was enrolled in Medicaid. We lived in New York where the treatment of choice for autism was Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) which she received immediately. She is now in college and has been on the Dean’s List three out of four semesters. You can read her story here: http://www.myhopeforautism.com/hannahssuccessinovercomingautisms-effects/.
Even when Hannah had access to the help she needed through Medicaid, it was a long, heart-wrenching road. I can’t imagine how I would feel if we couldn’t get her the help she so desperately needed. Yet, that is what many parents are facing today.
Here in Kentucky, children with autism and have Medicaid are placed on a 10-year waiting list to receive ABA.
I’m sorry, but this makes me angry. On second thought, I’m not sorry. These children can’t wait ten years. Some of them are self-abusive, some are wanderers, some have seizures. They need help now!
This Health Care Bill is much worse for people with disabilities than the Affordable Care Act. In my opinion, if it passes as is, it will be catastrophic to people with disabilities and their families.
This bill isn’t just mean or meaner. It is deadly! Many children who wander into the street or away from home have died. Many children with seizure disorders have died. They don’t have enough services now and we’re going to cut them even further? God forbid!
We Must Act Now
We must educate our legislators on the necessity of these programs. Let’s tell them our stories of how Medicaid has helped, is helping, or could help our children. We must call them and follow up with a letter and a picture, so they can see a face with the story. We must act now. They may vote on this bill next week.
Let’s inform them that we are voters. If you don’t vote, tell them you most certainly will. Let’s tell them if this bill passes, the cost for the government will drastically increase. Emergency Rooms may end up as the only option for treatment in the short term.
Long term costs will be greater. Our children won’t progress as much as they could without these programs. This Health Care Bill could cause them to need life-long services. Also, there will be fewer parents working and paying taxes, because one of them will have to be home their child.
But more than anything else, let’s tell them this is NOT a bill with heart. It’s a bill that will shatter many, many hearts!
If you don’t know how to find your legislators, look for them here: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/.
If you are a praying person, let’s agree together in prayer. Let’s pray for our children, our families, other children and families, and for our country!