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What the new healthcare bill means and how it will hurt people with disabilities

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The following points are a summary from the Healthcare Task Force of the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, a broad-ranging disability advocacy coalition based in Washington, DC. They have been part of the "hidden army" of disability advocates that have come out in force to fight for real Medicaid change (such as access to home services) and protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
 
Key points:
 
Medicaid expansion:  
 
*  There has been virtually no change to the Medicaid expansion provisions (only substantive change we have identified is states allow state to include Medicaid expansion population in block grants)
 
Per capita caps:  
 
*  There has been no change in the Medicaid per capita caps.  The bill still has the same initial growth rate and the more restrictive growth rate beginning in 2025.  
 
*  There have been no changes to the carve out from caps for "blind and disabled children."  (We had heard some talk about it being expanded). 
 
*  That means that the revised bill still will have, based on the recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score, $772 billion in cuts to Medicaid, and will cut Medicaid by 35% by 2036, and 15 million people with lose Medicaid.  
 
Home and community based services (HCBS) provisions:
 
*  The bill still cuts the enhanced match for 1915(k) Community First Choice.
 
*  The bill creates a new 1915(l) HCBS program.  It is a four year demo from 2020-2023, with a limited amount of attached funding ($8 billion), meaning only a few states could take advantage of it.  The 15 states with low density populations are given priority. 
 
*  The new 1915(l) program at best could assist a small handful of states' HCBS programs for a short period of time.  It does nothing to address the likely reduction, elimination, and growing waitlists for optional HCBS programs that will occur in every other state across the country.  And for all states, this demonstration ends right as the Senate's even more restrictive caps kick in and does nothing to address the estimated 35% reduction in Medicaid funding by 2036.
 
*  This new 1915(l) program is only a fraction of the cut in funding to Community First Choice and doesn't even make up for the loss of that program's enhanced match.
 
There are a number of changes to private market side (which are included in the summary linked above), including changes that could impact people with pre-existing conditions.  We still expect a CBO score on Monday and, at least at this point, for the bill to move forward to a motion to proceed shortly after that.  

Take action:

The U.S. Senators from Illinois have been very outspoken about opposing the BCRA, so please be sure to encourage and thank Senator Durbin 
at this link  and Senator Duckworth  at this link  for their opposition to the BCRA.  If you live OUTSIDE Illinois,  please use this link  to contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to oppose the BCRA.