The United States Senate released their version of the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) last week. It is unfortunate that much like the House design of this Bill, the Senate’s plan will also eliminate Medicaid expansion, endangering more than 20 million people and taking away coverage for up to 750,000 people in Ohio alone.
As the Executive Director of United Rehabilitation Services (URS), an Agency that serves thousands of children and adults with disabilities each year, this is a frightening prospect. This is particularly true considering the fact that the majority of our participants use Medicaid to access our programs as well as health services, personal care attendants, assistive technologies and even residential services. Restricting Medicaid funds for States where the demand for services continues to grow will leave many in a desperate situation and limit their ability to live independently and access the community. It is also important to know that schools utilize Medicaid to pay for occupational, physical and speech therapies, communication devices and more for students with disabilities. Without access to Medicaid funds, how will schools accommodate the needs of these children? More than 10 million people with disabilities rely on Medicaid to live and work in their communities. Let’s be sure we don’t leave them without the ability to continue this.
It is important to note that the Senate’s health care bill attempts to “carve out” children with disabilities from the Medicaid per capita cap program to protect them from the cuts to the program. However, once they turn 19, they are no longer exempt and could then lose their benefits. It is critical that the bill is amended to include protections for both children AND adults with disabilities from the health care bill. If you share my concerns, I encourage you to reach out and let the Senate know. We want a strong healthcare plan that includes everyone.