The Arc Responds to House Republican Leadership Plans to Repeal the Affordable Care Act and Decimate the Medicaid Program

Washington, DC – The Arc released the following statement following the release of the House Republicans’ new plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act:

“Politicians are being very cavalier with peoples’ lives as they attempt to pay for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act by slashing Medicaid funding for states. Regardless of how this is packaged, it doesn’t change the reality that this proposal will have a dire impact on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who rely on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act for their health care, community supports, and as a way to live independently in their communities.

“This proposal suggests paying for the ACA repeal by changing the way Medicaid is funded. Giving states a choice between per capita caps and block grants would be devastating for people with disabilities and would also negatively impact already cash-strapped states. The talking points sugar coat it, but the reality is simple – less money would be available despite the fact the needs of people who rely on Medicaid have not decreased. Inevitably, what we will see is a decline in services for those reliant on Medicaid as the financial burden is passed on to states.

“A per capita cap is a financing tool that would result in significant cuts to Medicaid. As it works today, Federal Medicaid funding is based on the actual costs of providing services to Medicaid beneficiaries. Currently, as costs go up or numbers of people needing services increase, funding grows as well. A per capita cap or block grant would limit the Federal government’s payment to states with a preset formula that does not take into consideration growth in cost or need. The bottom line is that people will lose vital benefits and services that support their basic human right to a life in the community. That is a fact that elected officials need to understand and it is exactly why they must oppose this proposal.

“It is morally reprehensible to use Medicaid to pay for the repeal of the ACA. People who have serious health conditions and disabilities require more than the bare bones coverage being proposed. For those reliant on Medicaid, the ability to access appropriate quality care could mean the difference between life and death.  There is too much at stake for us to stand by while politicians show complete disregard for the needs of low income constituents with disabilities, adults, older Americans, and children.  We oppose the plan on the table and will work with Members of Congress to find a solution that actually takes into consideration the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Peter Berns, CEO of the The Arc.

The Republican plan leaves many questions unanswered. It is not addressed whether insurance companies will be able to return to insurance policies that discriminate against people with disabilities and/or pre-existing conditions.  It does not address whether insurance companies will be able to cap health care services or use health status to increase premiums.  It does not address whether the critical health care services such as rehabilitative and habilitative devices and services, prescription drugs, mental health services, maternity coverage, and others will be available in the health plans. These protections, and many other critical provisions in the ACA, helped people with disabilities gain access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance. The meager solutions in the Republican plan that rely on high risk pools and limited tax credits are insufficient to help people with disabilities meet their healthcare needs

The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 650 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.