Dear Access Living friends and allies,
Congressional alert! Despite all our work over the last nine months to save Medicaid, we are facing a new attack on Medicaid home and community based services.
We have reports that Rep. Bobby Rush will be introducing an amendment at this afternoon's U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee Markup to freeze implementation of the Home and Community Based Settings (HCBS) Rule. The HCBS Settings Rule is an important federal initiative that requires states to make sure people getting HCBS have their rights respected. It took five years of persistent advocacy by PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES to create this rule.
The rule is about self-determination for people with disabilities, and ensuring that Medicaid dollars go to real community settings. The rule prevents providers from deciding when people living in residential settings get to eat or go to sleep or have visitors in their own homes. The rule also makes it harder for states to use HCBS funding to support institution-like settings, such as segregated villages and "gated communities". Again, the rule was crafted with significant input from disabled people stating what is important to them.
If Rep. Rush introduces and passes his amendment, states will face more pressure to take scarce HCBS dollars and spend them on institution-like settings rather than supporting people in the real community. We've fought long and hard to move resources into the community - and people with disabilities deserve better than segregation.
Call Rep. Rush's office ASAP today at (202) 225-4372. You can use the following script:
"Hi, my name is _________. I'm calling to urge you not to introduce an amendment at today's CHIP Markup to stop implementation of the Home and Community Based Settings Rule. People with disabilities deserve the right to live in the true community, not segregated campuses or villages that only house people with other disabilities."
The markup is today at 12 PM Central/1 PM Eastern - please make your call ASAP to help us preserve an important disability rights protection!
Residents of Illinois especially encouraged to call, but everyone should call.
Director of Advocacy, Access Living