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Congress is back in session and health services for people with disabilities are in jeopardy. Currently, Congress is going down the path to take away health insurance coverage from people with disabilities by repealing the Affordable Care Act and restructuring the Medicaid program.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created insurance market reforms that protected families with children with disabilities or other pre-existing conditions from having their coverage dropped. Before the ACA, a child with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or autism could be dropped from their family’s plan simply because they have a disability.
If Medicaid is cut or restructured, millions of children and adults with disabilities will lose essential health and support services they need to be healthy and independent.
The ACA and Medicaid are not perfect and we are open to exploring policies to improve them. However, any repeal or replace proposal must do no harm to children and adults with disabilities and their families.
On January 11, the U.S. Senate passed budget legislation that is the first step on a path to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and related health programs that provide people with disabilities health care. The U.S. House of Representatives followed suit on Friday, January 13, 2017, to move the process forward of repealing the Affordable Care Act.
The next step is for the relevant House and Senate Committees to develop an actual legislative proposal for repealing the ACA. It will then need to be voted on by both the full House and Senate and finally sent to President Trump for his signature.
Nearly 3,000 Easterseals advocates sent messages to their Members of Congress in support of health care for people with disabilities.
Easterseals advanced many of the policies in the ACA because of their importance to individuals with disabilities. The ACA includes insurance market reform that protects health insurance coverage for children with disabilities and other pre-existing conditions. This provision came into effect on September 23, 2010 and covers upward to 17 million children with a pre-existing condition. For children served by Easterseals, this provision can transform a family. Prior to the ACA, families would lose coverage of their child with autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or another condition. The only way that the family could get the services their child needed was to pay out of pocket. For many families, they had no choice but to take out a second mortgage, declare bankruptcy, or have their child go without the services he or she needs to be healthy and strong.
Easterseals will continue to advocate to protect access to healthcare for people with disabilities as this process moves forward.
Each day, decisions are being made in Washington, D.C., that will affect people with disabilities and Easterseals' ability to provide services to them, as well as to meet Easterseals' mission today and for years to come. The unmet needs of people with disabilities will continue to go unaddressed if Easterseals is not engaged in educating public policy makers about people with disabilities' disproportionate reliance on government for health, education, employment, transportation and other needed services. Sign up to receive Easterseals advocacy alerts.
People with disabilities and Easterseals have a significant stake in government programs. For many children and adults with disabilities, their ability to get an education, earn a living and live independently in the community is dictated by the availability of services and supports, many of which come only from the federal government.
This chart, developed by Easterseals Office of Public Affairs, tracks the funding history of federal disability programs. The chart divides the information by agency, listing underneath each agency specific programs that matter to children and adults with disabilities.
Easterseals has been active in public policy advocacy since our founder, Edgar Allen, lobbied the Ohio Legislature to fund appropriate services for children with disabilities in the 1920s. We continue to actively support and promote federal legislation that helps people with disabilities achieve independence.