Senate Releases Better Care Reconciliation Act: Cuts Medicaid More than AHCA
Senator McConnell released the Better Care Reconciliation Act yesterday. The critical thing to know is that it is very similar to the American Health Care Act that the House passed which cut more than $830 billion…. Only it is worse. The BCRA proposes that states can either take a block grant or per capita caps. The growth of Medicaid over time would be attached first until 2025 to the medical consumer price index (CPI) plus one (similar to the House) but would then switch to the general CPI, which is lower than the medical. That would mean after 2025, the growth in Medicaid spending from the federal government would be ratched back and it would most likely mean significant cuts over time to benefits and populations of people.
The Congressional Budget Office is expected to have a score (which will tell us how much the bill costs over 10 years and how many people will be covered or lose health insurance) early next week. There is a vote expected on Thursday of next week before the July 4 recess.
THIS IS THE BALL GAME – WE NEED TO PROTECT MEDICAID!
- Call your Senators. For Illinois, call Senator Durbin at (202) 224-2152 and Senator Duckworth at (202) 224-2854. If you do not know your legislators, you can find your House member here and your Senators here.
- Call the Senate HELP Committee and Senate Finance Committee to demand both committees hold hearings on the Senate version of the American Health Care Act. Senate HELP Committee – 202-224-5375, Senate Finance Committee – 202-224-4515.
- Call Governor Rauner to ask that he speak up against cutting and capping Medicaid. Call him at (312) 814-2121.
- Use Social Media to share information and engage your friends and families using #SaveMedicaid
Illinois will be among those hit the hardest by the Medicaid cuts. Because of our state’s historically low spending on Medicaid enrollees, putting a cap on our federal funding is an especially bad deal for Illinois. If the Medicaid per capita cap went into effect, Illinois would have to find savings in our program to make up for the loss of funding.
Below are more things that you can do or ask others to do from the Arc of the US:
- State Letters and Fact Sheets to deliver to your Senator: The Georgetown University Center for Children & Families and NHelp developed 50 state (and DC) specific fact sheets on how Medicaid caps will harm people in your state. Print and edit this cover letter, bring a few volunteers and deliver it with your state’s fact sheet to your Senators office (you can look up the address for the office here). Take pictures to post on social media and consider writing a press release to generate media attention. Please let us know if you do this activity and would like The Arc of the United States to drop off a similar letter at your Senator’s Washington DC office. Please contact Julie Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Medicaid Fact Sheet: The Arc released a new fact sheet detailing Medicaid’s optional and waiver services that are at risk if per capita caps are enacted.
- Social media share graphics: Social media is an important tool for advocacy. Post these graphics on your Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about the importance of Medicaid in the lives of people with disabilities. Tag your U.S. Senators and encourage your chapter members and coalition partners to share these images and tag your U.S. Senators as well. Here are sample posts:
People with disabilities rely on Medicaid to live in their communities. Share now to spread the word. #HandsOff [INSERT GRAPHIC]
Medicaid matters to people w/ disabilities. RT to Tell Congress #HandsOff [INSERT GRAPHIC]
RT to tell @YOURSENATOR @YOURSENATOR #HandsOff Medicaid [INSERT GRAPHIC]
- Sample letters to the editor: Legislators care what is written in their state and local newspapers. For this reason, letters to the editor are an effective advocacy tool for sharing opinions because they have the authority to educate and ignite readers into action as well as hold the attention of your elected officials. Please take a few minutes to submit this sample letter to the editor to local papers. If you need any assistance or have questions, please contact Sarah Bal at email@example.com.
- Resources reminder: Constituent calls to Senate offices are incredibly powerful, particularly at a high volume. Please continue to direct your networks to make calls through this link: Tell Your Senators: NO Cuts to Medicaid, so that we can track the number of calls being made across the country.
Additionally, please share The Arc’s videos featuring personal stories about Medicaid. If you missed any check them out now: “If I could say one thing”, “Meet Thelma,” “Meet Bryan”, “Meet Soojung & Alice,” and “Meet Linda & Javi.”