Meet in Person
Meeting with your elected officials is not only a lot easier than most people think, it’s more important. Remember, your legislators work for you and need to hear your concerns about the devastating impact of cuts or caps to Medicaid on people with disabilities.
You don’t have to travel to Washington: every member of congress has offices in their local congressional district. While you may not be able to meet directly with your representative, permanent staff members are available to meet year round.
You can prepare for the meeting by practicing your personal story, reading the talking points below, and educating yourself about the impact of Medicaid cuts in your state. Relax! You don’t need to know all the answers, focus on your area of expertise, your own story.
Helpful How-To Guides:
Fact Sheet: In-Person Meetings with Elected Officials (Autistic Self Advocacy Network)
Guide to Setting Up a Meeting (FamiliesUSA)
- The latest healthcare bill being considered by the Senate, the Graham-Cassidy proposal, would restructure Medicaid through per capita caps and would lead to devastating cuts in Medicaid.
- The Graham-Cassidy bill would reduce federal funding to states by $215 billion by 2026, and by more than $4 trillion over the next 20 years.
- The Graham-Cassidy bill would result in a 15% decrease of traditional Medicaid spending for people with disabilities and a 31% decrease of traditional Medicaid spending for children.
- 11 million people with disabilities rely on Medicaid for critical services that help them live and participate in their community.
- Many people with disabilities are unaware that the services they receive are part of Medicaid. Services funded through Medicaid may be called something else in your state. If you’re a person with a disability and you receive any community-based support, it’s very likely through Medicaid.
- Eg: nursing and personal care services, specialized therapies, intensive mental health services, special education services, employment supports, and other needed services that are unavailable through private insurance.
- Cuts to Medicaid would force states to reduce services, cut optional services, restrict eligibility, and increase waiting lists.
- People with disabilities will be disproportionally harmed by Medicaid cuts. Care for people with disabilities makes up a significant part of state Medicaid budgets due to their long term care needs.
- The home and community based services (HCBS) on which people with disabilities rely to live and participate in their communities are especially at risk because they are optional and could be completely eliminated.
- The Graham-Cassidy bill ends an important program for home and community based services (called Community First Choice) while at the same time requiring states to maintain funding for institutions.
- The bill also would allow states to waive the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions (including people with disabilities) and the requirement for plans to cover “essential health benefits” that help people with disabilities, like mental health and substance use services and habilitative and rehabilitative services.
- The Graham-Cassidy bill also would phase out the Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies and instead turn them into an inadequate block grant program that would end in 10 years.
- Oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill or any bill that caps or cuts Medicaid, cuts healthcare for people with disabilities, and does not protect people with pre-existing conditions.
- Instead work in a bi-partisan fashion to protect and improve the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.
Personal stories are the most effective form of advocacy. Talk about why is Medicaid important to you.
- If you or a family member are on Medicaid (including a waiver), what are the most important services to you? What difference has that made in yours and/or your family member’s lives?
- Access to critical healthcare or therapies
- Ability to receive in-home supports, residential supports or live independently
- Ability to work or go to a day program (so your family can work)
- What was your and/or your family member’s lives like before receiving Medicaid services?
- Are you or a family member on a waitlist for Medicaid services? How would getting services make a difference in your lives?