National Disability Leadership Alliance and over 200 Organizations from Across the United States Express Opposition to Congressional Efforts to Cut Vital Health Care and Community Based Services for People with Disabilities.
The National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA) today published a letter signed by over 200 disability organizations from around the country, calling on Congress to preserve Medicaid services for people with disabilities, including community-based long term services and supports. The letter identifies several programs that “underpin one of the most fundamental rights that Americans are guaranteed under the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: Liberty.”
“The number of organizations that have signed on shows that the Disability Community is united in opposing any efforts which will reduce services that enable disabled people to live in the community and lead an independent life,” said Gary Arnold, President of Little People of America. “Disabled people have the same right to live in the community as all Americans, and the bill proposed by this Congress guts the programs that secure that right.”
The letter follows upon the release earlier this week of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), introduced by Congressional Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act and passed by the Ways and Means Committee last night.
“As an attendant service user, my freedom and life depend on my personal assistance services. It is appalling that Congressional Republicans are cutting Medicaid services for people with disabilities which will put our freedom and our lives at risk” said Kelly Buckland, Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living, “So many disabled individuals are locked away in nursing facilities and other institutions because they can’t get the care they need now; this plan will only make that worse.”
Buckland continued, “Saying that our lives are on the line isn’t an exaggeration. We – in the Disability Community – all know someone who died because they didn’t get the personal assistance services they needed. Each death – itself – is a tragedy, but the blatant disregard Republicans are demonstrating illustrates their true contempt for the lives of people with disabilities.”
It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans has a disability, and most disabled Americans receive services through Medicaid. AHCA, although characterized as ACA reform, affects Medicaid programs most significantly, reducing income and asset limits and sunsetting funding for programs which support community-based services such as Community First Choice.
The National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA) is a national cross-disability coalition, led by disability groups run by persons with disabilities, with support from allies to build a strong and unified cross-disability movement so that we, as individuals with disabilities, have the power to shape national policies, politics, media, and culture. NDLA is led by 15 national organizations run by people with disabilities with identifiable grassroots constituencies around the country.