ACTION ALERT: Historic Disability Protest; Stop the Senate Healthcare Bill

A note from Amber Smock, Access Living’s Director of Advocacy, about the Health Care legislation introduced by Senate Leadership on June 22.

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

Yesterday, we wrote you about the power and the flame of the disability movement; and yesterday, that flame exploded all over national television!

As many of you know, Republican leadership in the U.S. Senate had been working on updates to the American Health Care Act. Yesterday morning, that bill was released, and the details are even worse for people with disabilities than the House version was. It's called the better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, or BCRA. The BCRA increases the attack on Medicaid and on seniors, reduces subsidies for health insurance, gives states even more leeway to change Medicaid waivers, and on and on. Fortunately, you know who was on site in Washington to react immediately? ADAPT , of course!

Health advocates have known for some days that the BCRA would be released yesterday. ADAPT chapters across the country mobilized to send 60 disability advocates to be on site to take immediate action. When the BCRA was released, the ADAPTers moved immediately to occupy the offices of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Majority Leader. Within the hour, the Capitol Police moved in to bodily remove the ADAPTers. Global news media was on site to capture the whole thing, and as a result, yesterday the news exploded with footage of ADAPT carrying the message: "No cuts to Medicaid, save our liberties!" ADAPT's focus was on the BCRA's unimaginable potential damage to Medicaid home and community based services. Needless to say, the action shook the Hill at a critical time in the healthcare debate.

Here is some media coverage of the ADAPT action included:

A 20 minute segment on the Rachel Maddow Show , including an ADAPT history lesson

National magazine coverage at TIME magazine

ADAPT clearly stepped up at the right moment in time, speaking to the millions of people with disabilities, our families and friends, about why Medicaid is so important, especially home and community based services. This morning, we at Access Living and our colleagues nationwide will continue to take action to ask the Senate to do the right thing and stop the BCRA. Access Living President & CEO Marca Bristo is scheduled to speak at a health advocates press conference this morning with US Senator Dick Durbin. You can help us by using this easy action alert link to ask our US Senators to say no to the BCRA, and to keep fighting for a health care system that actually serves people with disabilities and seniors.

The BCRA is asking people to die. This is not an overstatement. Our state, Illinois, is already in such deep fiscal trouble that there is no way that we can push back against even a little reduction in federal funding for Medicaid. No state has the ability to withstand losses of federal funding. As we know, cutbacks here and there, such as to dental care, home and community services, mental health, can have catastrophic consequences for people. WE DESERVE BETTER. Take action today and THANK YOU to ADAPT for leading the way!