Congress has moved quickly in the past few weeks drafting a new federal health care law.
The House of Representatives recently introduced new legislation called the American Health Care Act. The proposed legislation would repeal or phase out many provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including the individual and employer mandates, the 10 “essential health benefits,” Medicaid expansion and the Community First Choice Option.
The American Health Care Act would also repeal the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies and replaces them with age-based tax credits.
Click these links below for more information about the legislation:
- Energy and Commerce Committee (bill text) (PDF)
- Energy and Commerce Committee (section-by-section summary) (PDF)
- Ways and Means Committee (bill text) (PDF)
- Ways and Means Committee (section-by-section summary) (PDF)
Under the American Health Care Act, Medicaid expansion would end by 2020, which would drastically impact the health, independence, and well-being of the 10 million non-elderly people with disabilities who currently benefit from the program. The American Health Care Act would also restructures Medicaid into a per-capita cap system, which would result in drastic cuts that will increase exponentially over time.
Under a Medicaid per-capita cap, the federal government would set a limit on how much to reimburse states based on enrollment in the Medicaid program. Unlike current law, funding would not be based on the actual cost of providing services. States would have to decide if they would pay to make up the difference, institute wait lists (which Missouri recently eliminated for individuals with developmental disabilities) or change eligibility requirements.
The proposed legislation would continue to allow children to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until they turn 26 years old. Like the Affordable Care Act, the American Health Care Act would also prohibit discrimination on the basis of a pre-existing condition and continue to prohibit caps on annual and lifetime limits.
The Congressional Budget Office recently released its cost estimate report on the American Health Care Act. The report found that 24 million people would lose their health care coverage and nearly $900 million would be cut from the current Medicaid system.
Because of this, people with disabilities are at risk of losing critical health care coverage and long term supports under the proposed replacement legislation for the Affordable Care Act.
Congress has the goal of passing the American Health Care Act in April before it goes on recess. Act now to tell your members of Congress that people with disabilities need access to quality affordable health care. Call your senators and representative today at 202-224-3121. Don’t let Congress take away health care and services for millions of individuals with disabilities.
Here’s what other disability rights organizations are saying about the American Health Care Act:
- American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
- American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR)
- Arc of the United States: Medicaid: The Outlook in 2017: Cuts, Block Grants or Per Capita Caps?
- Joint Statement from Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) and National Disability Rights Network (NDRN): Concerns about the Proposed Changes to Medicaid in the House Republican Policy Brief
- Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)
- Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)
- National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
Photo credit: Geoff Livingston