Effects of Health Care Bill on People with Disabilities

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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!



  1. // Reply

    Well said, again another outstanding job

  2. // Reply

    Yes, we do need to pray fervently for God’s wisdom and direction on the entire health care bill. Your points are all right on target and Medicaid needs to be fully funded for those in need. The healthcare crisis is huge, and I believe it is totally beyond the puny ability of humans to figure it out. God bless you, Marlene, as you get your anointed portion of the word out there.

  3. // Reply

    I agree, health care is a glaring issue that, when not managed wisely, can easily become a sort of death sentence for many. Early on in your post you stated, (and I quote) “To find the truth I read the information from this government website.” May I be bold in saying that quite possibly, the words “truth” and “government” in the same sentence might be an oxymoron.

    You also encouraged us to vote and contact our legislators. I couldn’t agree more. Action needs to be taken. If we do nothing but sit back and hope for the best I doubt that that “best” is going to satisfy.

    Then you have situations like this. Several years ago the state of Vermont faced a glaring issue. Civil Union. There were many Vermonters for it and many against. When the vote took place the majority of the people voted against civil union. But instead of honoring the voice of the people, Vermont legislators decided that (and I quote) “we know better than the people what is best for Vermont.” (end of quote) So the decision was made to allow Civil Union in Vermont.

    Please do not misunderstand my example. I am not stating whether I think Civil Union should have been allowed or not. I am saying that, in this case, the voice of the people didn’t matter. Our government overrode the people. Hence my previous statement about the words “truth” and “government” belonging in the same sentence.

    Good work Marlene! Your post is a definite call to action. ♥

    1. // Reply

      Thank you, Debbie, for sharing your honest thoughts with us! If more people would have open and honest conversations about issues like this, the United States might be more united!

      Wow! I knew Vermont had allowed civil union, but I hadn’t heard that quote. Did Vermont vote those legislators out of office?

      As far as the government web site goes, it shows the bill that the House passed, actions taken on it, etc. It isn’t anyone’s “spin” on what the bill says.

      However, I totally understand what you’re saying about “truth” and “government,” which is why I went to NPR’s site. They really try to stay objective. I also listened to reporters from both FOX News and CNN. And, of course, I attended the ARC meeting in Lexington.

      Even so, I know that politicians do not always vote for what the majority of the people they “represent” want. Although, that quote from Vermont legislators is the most blatant I’ve heard.

      That is why I’m asking people to not only contact their legislators, but to pray. Since the Father knows what it’s like to watch your child suffer and since His Son died to bring us life, I know the Father will honor our prayers for life for our loved ones.

  4. // Reply

    This was a great article raising a lot of awareness. Quite frankly people don’t always take the time to do the research they need in order to make an appoint decision. (Me). You provided a good summary of the concerns you have. I have some concerns too. I can’t believe prescription drugs are considered optional.

  5. // Reply

    Thank you, Shannon! It’s amazing what they consider “optional” – such as speech therapy! When Hannah lost all her language skills, if someone told me that it was “optional,” I would have been devastated!

I would love to hear from you!