DRA’s Statement on the Senate’s Motion to Proceed Vote on Health Care Reform Legislation

Tom Masseau, Executive Director of Disability Rights Arkansas, Inc. (DRA) made the following statement about the United States Senate’s vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act:

Yesterday’s action to proceed with debate on replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is indicative of discrimination against people with disabilities.  The Congressional Budget Office has reported that millions of individuals, including those with disabilities, will lose coverage under the various versions currently being debated on the Senate floor.

Senators who continue to push for a repeal of the ACA with no viable replacement are endangering the health, and the lives, of millions of people.  Many Arkansans with disabilities require supports and services provided by Medicaid and the ACA.  Before any further efforts to repeal and replace the ACA, we urge our Arkansas Senators to sit down with members of the disability community and become educated on the services provided through Medicaid, and how significant those services are to living a life outside institutional walls.  Medicaid is more than a health care plan; Medicaid provides supports for individuals with disabilities to maintain employment and live in the community, which studies have repeatedly shown is more cost-effective than placement in long-term-care facilities.

The Senate bill removes consumer protections for individuals and harms Arkansans with pre-existing conditions by allowing insurers to increase rates for those individuals.  Capping benefits will result in individuals with life-threatening conditions left not only uninsured, but deemed “uninsurable”.

Disability Rights Arkansas joins the many other organizations and individuals across Arkansas and the country in urging the Senate, particularly Senators Cotton and Boozman, to vote against any health care proposals that include caps or cuts to Medicaid, or don’t protect individuals with pre-existing conditions.  We implore our representatives to protect Medicaid services and work in good faith to improve the ACA in a way that preserves necessary health care services for people with disabilities.

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Disability Rights Arkansas,, Inc. (DRA) is the independent, private, nonprofit organization designated by the governor of Arkansas to implement the federally authorized protection and advocacy systems in Arkansas.  DRA’s mission is to vigorously advocate for and enforce the legal rights of people with disabilities in Arkansas.