Protect Disability Programs in End of Year Budget Decisions
Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other programs that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) rely on are at risk for harmful cuts during end of the year budget decisions.
In the last year and a half, with your hard work, The Arc succeeded in helping to protect Medicaid in last year’s deficit reduction law, the Budget Control Act (BCA). Now there is mounting pressure to find an alternative to cuts mandated by the law. And the clock is ticking, as many tax provisions expire at the end of the year. The expiring tax cuts, coupled with BCA mandated cuts, may put the country over what is called the “fiscal cliff”. Learn more about the fiscal cliff by reading Deficit Reduction: What Disability Advocates Need to Know.
How Can You Protect Critical Programs for People with I/DD?
The Arc’s network needs to make its voice heard in the next few weeks. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families cannot afford more cuts to the critical programs that support them, particularly Medicaid. Congress must include raising revenues (including higher taxes for the top 2%) in the negotiations. Call your Senators and/or Representative and tell him/her that people with I/DD are counting on them to do the right thing. Click on the “take action” link at the top of the page to get started.
1) Reach out to your elected officials and tell them why Medicaid is important to you and how it has helped you or the people you work with. In addition, emphasize:
- Raising revenues is critical to achieving deficit reduction that does not harm people with I/DD;
- End tax cuts on the top 2% of earners; and
- The Medicaid program is a lean and efficient program that cannot sustain cuts without causing substantial harm to individuals and families who rely on its lifeline to health and long term services and supports.
2) Share your story with The Arc. Put your face on Medicaid, SSI, and Social Security by telling your story to help us protect these programs in Congress.
Major Events Last Week
Health Care – Proposed regulations regarding The Affordable Care Act
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a number of proposed regulations and guidance regarding the Affordable Care Act. The regulations address the essential health benefits that must be included in the health insurance plans sold in the private state exchange insurance market place. The Arc is very concerned about the lack of definition of habilitation in the proposed rule and will carefully review the regulations.
HHS also released proposed rules on the health insurance market reforms that will take effect in 2014. The reforms include guaranteed availability of coverage, fair health insurance premiums, and guaranteed renewability of coverage. Comments on these critical rules are due December 26, 2012.
Health Care – Supreme Court sends case challenging both the individual mandate and the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act back to appeals court
The U.S. Supreme Court sent the Liberty University v. Geithner case back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Liberty University had been challenging both the individual mandate and the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) based on claims of violation of religious freedom and claims that it was beyond Congress’s powers under the Constitution. The Fourth Circuit had previously ruled on procedural grounds that Liberty could not sue to stop the mandates. The Supreme Court’s order means that the Fourth Circuit must review the case given the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year that the individual mandate was constitutional. The Supreme Court has not addressed the employer mandate.
Autism – House to Hold Hearing on the Federal Response to Autism
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep Darryl Issa (R-CA), will hold a hearing entitled, “1 in 88 Children: A Look Into the Federal Response to Rising Rates of Autism” on November 29. The hearing will also explore the costs of treating autism. For more information, see the Committee website
Major Events This Week
This week, the House and Senate will both be in session. Private negotiations between the House and Senate leadership and President Obama began two weeks ago on how to deal with the expiring tax cuts and pending across-the-board automatic spending cuts and other policies commonly called the “fiscal cliff”. The fiscal cliff issue is expected to dominate the lame duck session of Congress. The target date for adjournment is December 14th, though many expect that Congress may stay in session even longer to try and reach agreement on these difficult issues.
Put a Face on Medicaid, SSI, Social Security
As Congress reconvenes for a post-election session where potential changes or cuts to programs like Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Social Security may be put on the table, we need your help to put a face on the importance of these programs by sharing lifeline stories about individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
The Arc’s national office needs stories from self-advocates, parents, and other family members, chapters of The Arc, other service providers, and friends. We have to put a face on programs like Medicaid, SSI, and Social Security in order to convince Congress to protect these programs from devastating cuts during budget negotiations. More than 200 stories have been submitted from 22 states. This is a great start, but it is critical that we receive sufficient stories from across the country.
Please share this survey with your members, the families you serve, and other organizations in your community so that we can gather as many stories as possible, and quickly, so that The Arc can help protect these lifeline programs.