Update on Advocacy and Policy-- March 10

Update from Amber Smock, Director of Advocacy at Access Living.

This past week has been a whirlwind of activity at the federal level. A recap:

The U.S. Senate passed a bill that would
roll back school accountability measures that also included provisions that held schools accountable for serving students with disabilities. The bill now goes to the President, who is expected to sign it. Learn more by reading this article .

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Ben Carson, has proposed
$6 billion in cuts to HUD programs, including Section 8, Section 811, Section 202 and Community Development Block Grants. These cuts, if implemented, will place the lives of thousands of people with disabilities and seniors in jeopardy. Learn more at this link .

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill passed two U.S. House Committees this week. The bill portions must go through the Budget and the Rules Committee before consideration on the House floor. The debate over the bill remains highly partisan; we at Access Living would urge our members of Congress to look at what makes sense for people with disabilities. The AHCA's severe cuts to Medicaid and reduction over funding requirements will harm services people with disabilities have now. While some expound upon AHCA as an "opportunity." The reality is that it is an enormous proposal to damage the lives of people with disabilities. This saga will continue next week.

Meanwhile, disability advocates across the country are pushing back on all fronts, especially on healthcare. Chicago area journalist David Perry posted an excellent story at this link , looking at the converging interests of multiple disability groups and the need for a unified advocacy front. Access Living is quoted in the article.

Plus,
PolicyLab posted an excellent article about how the AHCA could harm children with complex medical needs. Learn more at this link . These are the types of situations that our members of Congress need to know about and to defend. In Illinois, remember also that we have thousands of people with developmental disabilities on Medicaid who are on a waiting list for home and community based services, and for whom the AHCA's proposed per capita cap formula would mean that they would never see those services, ever.

We must continue our effort to hold our members of Congress accountable for disability issues, especially next week. Expect further action alerts and updates starting Monday.

Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Access Living