Medicaid is Saved for Now. So What Happens Next?

From the Center for Public Representation

Once again, your advocacy made the difference.  Your voices stopped [the Graham-Cassidy] bill—the visits, calls, letters, emails, rallies and protests.  THANK YOU for your incredible work.

BUT, we know that the attacks on Medicaid and other crucial programs on which people with disabilities rely are on the horizon.  We all need to vigilantly watch a number of brewing threats:

  • The 2017 budget reconciliation vehicle expires this week (this is what allows the Senate to pass certain legislation with only 50 votes). But Republican talk about the 2018 budget reconciliation vehicle and whether to use it for tax reform, ACA repeal or both, has already begun.  Here is a good article on the topic.
  • Medicaid or other critical programs (like SSI) could be a target for cuts to pay for tax cuts.
  • Medicaid or other critical programs could be targeted in the 2018 budget (the Continuing Resolution on the budget currently expires on December 15, 2017).
  • HHS could allow states to restructure, cut or weaken Medicaid through waivers to states (article describing the concerns here and NHeLP 1115 waiver page here).
Use this week’s victory as motivation! Our advocacy has impacted lawmakers and has improved the public’s already positive view of Medicaid. This will help in future fights:
  • The vast majority of the public has supports and has a favorable view of Medicaid (see this Kaiser poll)
  • It is becoming harder politically to target Medicaid for cuts.  From an article today, “Conventional political wisdom used to hold that Medicaid, unlike Medicare, would be relatively easy to cut. It might be time to rethink that.”
  • We are cultivating new disability champions in Congress.  At a rally focused on disability issues, eight Senators spoke about the importance of Medicaid for people with disabilities and gave positively glowing reviews of our community’s commitment and advocacy.  (Those Senators were Casey, Schumer, Wyden, Stabenow, Booker, Van Holen, Hassan and Duckworth)
We have built a strong rapid response system nationally.  The Graham-Cassidy bill started gaining steam quickly about 10 days ago, and we fully activated grassroots disability advocates from across the country quickly.  This is a critical success that will help us with our future fights. Make sure your Senators and Representatives keep hearing from you. Tell them:
  • That access to health care should be a non-partisan issue addressed through bi-partisan negotiations, starting with reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and then passing marketplace stabilization legislation;
  • That Congress should abandon partisan efforts to repeal and replace the ACA and gut Medicaid (this is important because we know some of the opposition to Graham-Cassidy was about process concerns not substance);
  • How critical Medicaid is to people with disabilities and to oppose any legislation that would block grant, cap or cut Medicaid;
  • That Congress needs to continue to find innovative solutions to expand access to home and community-based long term care, such as reauthorizing the Money Follows the Person demonstration that helps older adults and people with disabilities to move from institutions back into the community.
Again, thank you for your incredible advocacy.  We won this fight and will keep fighting together to protect Medicaid.  Look for updates as we learn more.


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