[Nfbnet-members-list] Legislative Alert - Medicaid - 6/28/2017

Pare, John JPare at nfb.org
Wed Jun 28 22:39:48 UTC 2017

Dear Fellow Federationists:

I know you have already been busy contacting your 
representatives and senators about our 
legislative issues, but I want to add one more 
item to the list of topics you should discuss 
with them. I am sure you are aware of the debate 
that is currently taking place regarding our 
nation’s healthcare system. The House has voted 
on its proposal, called the American Health Care 
Act,  but the Senate has not yet done so. A vote 
was scheduled for this week, but it was announced 
yesterday afternoon that it would be postponed. A 
vote on the Senate healthcare proposal, the 
Better Care Reconciliation act, will take place 
following the July 4 legislative recess.

The healthcare proposals currently being 
considered would devastate the Medicaid program, 
upon which thousands of blind people rely to meet 
their healthcare needs. Since we now have the 
opportunity to speak to our senators while they 
are in their districts over the July 4 recess, 
prior to them voting on the Better Care 
Reconciliation Act, we should urge them to vote 
against any cuts to Medicaid and to protect the 
blind Americans who depend on this program.

President Riccobono wrote an excellent op-ed 
about this issue, which was published in The Hill 
recently. At press time, the details of the 
Better Care Reconciliation Act were not known, so 
the piece only specifically mentions the House’s 
American Healthcare Act and the budget that has 
been proposed by the White House. However, we now 
know that the Medicaid cuts proposed in the 
Senate bill are every bit as bad as those 
proposed in the House bill and the 
administration’s proposed budget. Please read 
President Riccobono’s  op-ed for a thorough 
explanation of the devastating impact these 
proposed cuts would have. It is pasted below for 
your convenience. Then call or email your 
senators and tell them to vote against Medicaid cuts.

The best way to contact your member of Congress 
is to call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 
224-3121 and ask for the office in question. 
Emailing your member of Congress is also a good 
idea. If you do so, please copy <mailto:JPare at nfb.org>JPare at nfb.org.

Saving Medicaid is critical to America’s blind
Mark A. Riccobono
The Hill – 6/23/2017

For more than fifty years Medicaid has provided 
much-needed security and stability to some of 
America’s most disempowered people. Especially 
for people with disabilities, Medicaid has been 
and remains an essential lifeline. That lifeline 
is under attack in the form of Draconian cuts 
proposed by both the American Health Care Act 
(AHCA) and the current administration’s proposed 
budget. These cuts would, without exaggeration, upend millions of lives.

One community in particular – the blind – would 
be disproportionately and negatively affected if 
the more than $1 trillion in proposed Medicaid 
cuts came to fruition. According to an analysis 
of the cuts, upwards of seven hundred thousand 
people with disabilities would lose access to 
health insurance as a result of cuts to Medicaid. 
Based on the ratio of blind people currently 
using Medicaid relative to the total population 
of disabled people using Medicaid, more than one 
hundred thousand blind people would lose 
insurance, making these proposed cuts a potential 
catastrophe for blind people everywhere.

The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest 
and largest nationwide organization of blind 
people in the United States, strongly and 
unequivocally opposes cuts to Medicaid. These 
proposed cuts would undermine the security, 
stability, and prosperity of more than one 
hundred thousand blind people in this country. 
This is an untenable prospect and we categorically reject it.
Whether it is a poverty rate twice the national 
average or an employment rate less than half the 
national level, the blind already face 
significant challenges in attaining the American 
dream. To strip health insurance from so many 
blind people would serve only to erect additional 
barriers and obstacles to our efforts to achieve 
that dream. Blind households would suddenly face 
drastically higher costs and strained budgets, 
exacerbating the preexisting challenges of high poverty and low employment.

Medicaid, which provides insurance to an 
estimated 1.4 million blind people, is a vital 
component of our continuing effort to promote 
opportunity and prosperity in our community. We 
thus call upon members of the United States 
Senate to oppose any bill that proposes cuts to 
Medicaid of the type contained in the AHCA and 
the current administration’s budget. We 
especially call upon the senators from the eleven 
states in which at least 40 percent of people 
with disabilities rely on Medicaid for health 
insurance to vote no on any legislation that 
would imperil the economic stability and family 
security of their blind constituents. Namely, 
senators from the states of California, 
Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, 
Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, 
Vermont, and West Virginia should join us in 
opposing any cuts to Medicaid. To vote in favor 
of such cuts would be to resign tens of thousands 
of blind people to a life of economic uncertainty and hardship.

When President Lyndon B. Johnson and former 
President Harry S. Truman stood alongside each 
other to commemorate the passage of the Social 
Security Amendments Act of 1965, the legislation 
that established both Medicare and Medicaid, it 
was clear that something historic and 
revolutionary had just happened. By extending 
access to health insurance to those who may not 
have access to it otherwise, Congress codified 
the idea that health insurance is an 
indispensable element of economic security and 
made it a reality. As a result, since 1965, 
millions of blind Americans have been able to 
live more stable and productive lives. To 
fundamentally undermine the Medicaid program 
would be to substantially roll back much of that 
progress. We sincerely hope that the Congress of 
today, and the Senate will not dishonor the 
legacy of its forbearers and in doing so, make it 
harder for we in the blind community to live the kind of lives we want.


John Paré
(410) 659-9314 x 2218
National Federation of the Blind

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://nfbnet.org/pipermail/nfbnet-members-list_nfbnet.org/attachments/20170628/b9030a44/attachment.html>

More information about the NFBNet-Members-List mailing list