Advocate for Disability Rights in Healthcare

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

A great deal of activity is going on in Washington DC even as this email is being written. Today, the U.S. Senate is working on the Cabinet confirmations for several key persons that President Trump has selected to lead different federal agencies. All of these confirmations could have serious impact on the lives of people with disabilities of all ages.

Elaine Chao has now been confirmed as the Secretary of Transportation. A Senate committee voted to advance the nomination of Betsy DeVos to the Senate floor for Secretary of Education. A different committee is also now voting on whether to advance the nomination of Congressman Jeff Sessions to lead the U.S. Department of Justice as Attorney General. Senate Democrats are boycotting the hearing of Congressman Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services, as well as that of Steven Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury. The Senate floor vote for Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is pending.

Make no mistake about it, the Cabinet confirmation process, as well as the series of Executive Orders that have been signed thus far by President Trump, based on the track record of those moving into power, could affect our community in very serious and negative ways. We at Access Living are highly concerned about the possible damage to laws and regulations that protect the civil rights of people with disabilities, from fair housing to access to healthcare to inclusion in education.

If we are not careful, the voices of people with disabilities WILL be overlooked in the federal struggle. It is more important now than ever, whether your members of Congress are Democrats or Republicans, to send them your stories, and to call their offices. The Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities, based in Washington DC, is asking as many people as possible to make calls to members of Congress today to protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid from attacks that would harm people with disabilities and seniors. Here is the info you need to know:

Preserve Health Care and Medicaid for People with Disabilities & Seniors--CALL NOW 866-426-2631

---No repeal of the ACA without simultaneous improved or equivalent replacement

If Congress votes to repeal the ACA, a replacement package that provides equivalent or improved access to affordable, quality health coverage must be included in the same legislation.

---No cuts to and restructuring of Medicaid

Seniors and people with disabilities rely on Medicaid for both health care and long-term services and supports so they can live in their own homes in the community. Program cuts, along with block grant or per capita cap proposals would hurt people who have no alternative means of paying for essential services.

---Preserve Medicare for current and future seniors and people with disabilities

Medicare is a huge success story, with strong support from all Americans. Premium support and other restructuring proposals to shift more costs onto beneficiaries would make health care far less affordable and accessible to seniors and people with disabilities.

If you are not sure about whether your member of Congress will pay attention to your story about the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare or Medicaid, feel free to send your story to me and I will be very happy to forward your story to Congressional staffers. Special note, they are especially looking for success stories from people with disabilities who work but also have Medicaid. Simply reply to this email to send in your story.

Let's go Illinois! Remember: people with disabilities are diverse, in race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, immigration status, all of it. Make no mistake, we are ALL at risk these days and we need to speak out for each other.

Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Access Living