Disability Rights California issues statement on ACA repeal proposal
(Sacramento, CA – March 9, 2017) This statement is from Catherine Blakemore, Executive Director of Disability Rights California, on the American Health Care Act:
“Disability Rights California is deeply disappointed in the newly unveiled American Health Care Act (AHCA), which attacks essential programs for people with disabilities. One of the most troubling aspects of the proposed plan is that it places per capita funding caps on the Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal in California. For more than 50 years, this entitlement has successfully enabled people with disabilities to receive critical health benefits and other long-term services and supports even when their needs increase or the state’s economy falters. The proposed AHCA could force the state to eliminate or restrict important benefits such as mental health services, prescription drugs, and home and community-based services including services provided by regional centers.
In addition, the AHCA freezes expansion of Medicaid. With the expansion of Medi-Cal, the number of Californians receiving vital health insurance has gone from 7.9 million in 2012-13, to a projected 14.3 million in 2017-18 – covering over one-third of the state’s population. Ending this expansion in 2020, would, at best, leave those individuals in limbo and at worst, without access to any health insurance. The proposal over time will not provide the state with enough funds to meet the health and long-term care needs of Californians with disabilities and may force California to cut health care, restrict eligibility, or establish waitlists to cover the loss of federal funding.
The rush to approve the AHCA, without sufficiently analyzing its impact, will further harm the people whose very lives depend on access to affordable and appropriate health care. Disability Rights California will continue to work to protect access to essential health care services for Californians with disabilities. We can and must do better.