The AHCA Creates the “Perfect Storm” for People with Disabilities

DREDF Statement on the American Health Care Act

Paul Ryan conducting a presentation in the HouseThe American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill unveiled last week by Republicans in both the House and the Senate, tells middle and low–income people with disabilities and their families a simple, brutal message: “You’re on your own.”

Key provisions in the bill that affect the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and even the Public Health Act, threaten to cut off people with disabilities from healthcare insurance, comprehensive coverage, and irreplaceable long–term services and supports for children and adults with disability, and seniors who depend on them for help with daily living tasks to stay in their homes and out of nursing homes.

As the bi–partisan Congressional Budget Office reports, the AHCA will:

  • Over the next decade, cut $880 billion, 25 percent of Medicaid’s current budget, from a 51–year old federal–state partnership that serves over 10 million Americans with disabilities
  • Replace individual insurance subsidies that give greater financial assistance to those with the least resources with a capped tax credit that does nothing to help the lowest income earners who have little to save
  • Allow insurers to sell plans with actuarial values below 60 percent, which will attract younger, healthier enrollees and discourage enrollment by anyone who has more comprehensive healthcare needs
  • Eliminates $9 billion by 2026 from Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control – forcing drastic reductions of key programs that get vaccinations to people who can’t afford them, prevention efforts aimed at heart disease, the first cause of death in Americans, and efforts to respond to disease outbreaks ranging from Measles to the Zika virus
  • Permanently cuts funding to Planned Parenthood clinics that provide essential primary and preventive services to Medicaid–eligible women and men in clinics that often offer same–day appointments, longer hours, and week–end services that many people with disabilities need as accommodations. The CBO projects an increase in Medicaid costs due to a substantial increase in pregnancies and children among low–income women and families left without access to contraceptive services in their area, just as Medicaid funding is being drastically reduced

The Cumulative impact of the AHCA Will Fall on the Backs of Low–Income Children and Adults with Disabilities

  • Those who have long–term care needs and who will inevitably be subject to Medicaid service cuts and waiting lists
  • Those working people with disabilities who will lose Medicaid expansion coverage by 2020, and with it the capacity to earn a modest income or preserve a few assets while keeping access to needed healthcare services
  • Those who will be forced into high–risk individual insurance pools to buy expensive insurance that offers limited benefits and scope
  • Those children and individuals with compromised immune systems who will be further restricted in how much they can be in the public when vaccination is neglected
  • Those aging Americans who will be subject to costs up to 5 times the average premium as they age into the 15 years before Medicare eligibility, a time when anyone who with a lifetime of physical labor behind them is especially prone to developing disabilities and chronic conditions
  • Those seniors, who rely on Medicaid even after Medicare eligibility because Medicaid is the country’s primary source of care to meet the needs of people with chronic conditions. Medicaid pays for 2 out of every 3 residents in a nursing home, is the major payment for mental health and behavioral services for all Americans, and is the only public source of home and community–based services in the U.S.

By design or hubris, the AHCS creates the “perfect storm” for people with disabilities who struggle to escape a cycle of poverty, which is both a cause and a consequence of disability. It threatens key economic and employment gains that people with disabilities have made over the past several years of the Affordable Care Act’s full operation.

The AHCA will make it that much harder for people with disabilities and their families to get affordable comprehensive healthcare, and the impact of that consequence on the quality and length of our lives, is immeasurable. DREDF asks you to join with us in opposing the AHCA.

4 thoughts on “The AHCA Creates the “Perfect Storm” for People with Disabilities

  1. Walter S Wenger

    Home and Community Based services are a fraud. My developmentally Disabled son fot whom I am the Court Appointed Sole Guardian of his person and property, has had a HCBS Waiver for 25 years. He receives nothing. No therapies, not even PROM. No res hab. No day hab. No sensory srimulation — nothing. The staff doesn’t even talk at him. Bed time is 8pm to 8am, then to recumbent wheelchair for 4 hours to sleep because he is soooo tired. Then to lounge chair for 4 hours to nap. Rhen back to wheelchair for 4 hours to sleep before bedtime at 8pm. The staff doesn’r even talk to him. On July 8 he got maggots in his trach, went to the hospital then to another hospital and is still waiting to go back home to the state run group home. And this is a “person-centered” system! The whole thing is a fraud and should be abolished and the nurses imprisoned.

  2. Courtney

    Are you a woman Veronica? You go to teach a lesson by tubing peoples faces in their past mistakes. Prescription birth vontrol is a very necessary tool, jut like anything we cannot rely on it, as a stand alone means of prevention of preventing pregnancy. Different things work for different women. I recccomend looking up the statistics on deaths and disabilities caused by reactions to oral contraceptives, and Hormone infused IUDs. Horrifying!

  3. veronica

    Planned Parenthood only performs abortions. Most disabled do not need abortions. If they do most insurance covers it at a medical center. Planned Parenthood is a for profit business. We do not need to give them anything. Abortions should not be covered 100 percent anyway so that people will learn to use birth control. If they have to pay for this or do the right thing and give the child up for adoption they will then learn to use birth control.

    1. KR

      Planned parenthood is a non-profit that performs multiple types of care for both women and men. Check your facts!

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