Call to Action

Proposed Federal Healthcare Bill

September 21, 2017

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From The President

Hello SCAS friend!

By the end of next week, the US Senate is expected to vote on another proposed Health Care Bill.  This bill is casually known as the Graham-Cassidy Bill.  The South Carolina Autism Society shares the concerns of many other disability organizations about the effect this Bill on individuals with autism and other disabilities.

According to the Center for Public Representation, the following are significant concerns about the Graham-Cassidy Bill:

• Would cap federal Medicaid spending (per capita caps), leading to devastating cuts in funding

• Eliminates the Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies and replaces with an inadequate block grant and then ends them completely in 10 years

• Allows states to waive protections for people with pre-existing conditions

• Allows states to waive the requirement to provide essential health benefits (like mental health and substance use services, rehabilitative and habilitative services, and maternity care)

The National Health Law Program also provides it’s “Top 10 Threats to People with Disabilities under the Graham-Cassidy Bill”, available by clicking here.

Further, in an interview with the Greenville News regarding ongoing oversight of the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN), the Chair of the South Carolina House healthcare oversight committee, Rep. Phyllis Henderson (R, Greer) expressed concern about the possible impact to DDSN if Congress decides to issue future Medicaid funding in the form of block grants.  She said she fears future funding could be an issue for the agency if the federal government changes the way it distributes Medicaid.  “The state is not going to be able to replace the money that goes away,” she said. “That’s a big challenge.” (Greenville Online, September 18, 2017, http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/2017/09/18/ddsns-director-talks-challenges-and-criticism-lawmakers/676203001/)

For more information on how this bill would affect individuals with disabilities, please review the following reports:

• Center on Budget and Policy Priorities statement on effects of the Graham-Cassidy Bill.

• Families USA statement on Graham-Cassidy Proposal.

• The Consortium for Citizen’s with Disabilities (CCD) letter to Senate on behalf of disability organizations.

The US Senate is under a deadline to pass this bill.  According to Disability Scoop, “Under a procedural maneuver, they could pass a bill to change federal health care law with only a simple majority by Sept. 30, but after that, 60 votes would be needed.”

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We Must Act Now!

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We encourage everyone to contact their United States Senators and tell them you oppose this bill and any cuts or caps to Medicaid.

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Here’s how you can Take Action Now!

• Find your legislators at http://www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php.

• South Carolina Residents can contact Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Tim Scott

• Call your United States Senators and tell them to oppose the proposed Medicaid cuts in the Senate Health Care Bill! 

• Call your Governor and State Legislators.  Remind them what cuts to the Medicaid would affect the state budget and why Medicaid matters to you.

• Ask your family and friends to support you and do the same!

What to Say:

• I am your constituent.

• Explain if you are a person with a disability, a family member of someone with a disability, or a professional in the disability field.

• Tell them that you do not want cuts or caps on Medicaid! 

• Explain how Medicaid helps you or your family member to have health care and community based services.

If you need assistance in learning how to get engaged, visit ASAN’s toolkit on basic civic engagement for self-advocates.

Thank you for all your efforts to advocate for those with autism and other disabilities!

Sincerely,

Kim Thomas, President & CEO
South Carolina Autism Society

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