The House and Senate Republicans and Democrats are meeting at the end of the month to determine their respective caucus' legislative priorities for 2018. The disability community must remind Congress that we support the Medicaid program and that they should not take steps to cut or cap the program. Over 10 million people with disabilities, including a great many of those with Down syndrome, rely upon Medicaid for their health care, employment and access to community life. In addition to covering medical care, state Medicaid programs cover a wide-range of services and supports for people with disabilities. The potential loss of these services through funding cuts and restructuring will be devastating to the Down syndrome community.
Key House and Senate leaders have indicated that they would like to cut spending on federal programs, such as Medicaid, in response to the 1.5 trillion dollar loss of revenue due to the tax cuts. Some leaders have been careful to say that Medicare and Social Security are off the table for possible cuts, but Medicaid, food assistance, Supplemental Security Income and others remain targets. This is a continuation of the fight in 2017 except they are using different messaging. Medicaid is at risk whether they are calling it "welfare reform," "entitlement reform," "opportunities" or "jobs for people", the end result is reducing enrollment in Medicaid and spending less on the program.
The only feasible way for Congress to enact major cuts or caps to Medicaid this year is through special budget rules (known as reconciliation) that allow the Senate to pass budget-related legislation with a simple majority. But reconciliation cannot proceed without first passing a budget resolution that includes instructions that would allow the Senate to use special budget rules. We must remind Congress that we want to protect Medicaid and other programs. Insist that Congress refuse to include reconciliation instructions in any budget legislation and instead seek bipartisan efforts to strengthen Medicaid and other social programs people with disabilities rely on.
Call your Representative and Senators today-202-224-3121 (voice) or 202-224-3091 (TTY) or use this Action Alert to send an email to your Representatives and Senators. EVERY call matters. They must hear that the disability community strongly opposes cuts and caps to Medicaid. Act NOW as Congress will be deciding what direction to take by next week.