May 5, 2017
The House of Representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) with the addition of amendments that fail to reflect the reality of the lives of people with disabilities. The Autism Society of America, along with its many partners, are outraged by this vote. AHCA was not properly debated and was voted on without a Congressional Budget Score. Most importantly, this bill has deep cuts and restructuring which will decimate the Medicaid program – the lifeline for individuals with disabilities and their families. The bill allows loopholes that permit discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions. In addition, the American Health Care Act will cut Essential Health Benefits–such as rehabilitation services and mental health programs. The cuts will permit states to return to imposing lifetime caps on coverage and will not keep healthcare affordable for people with disabilities. Rather, this legislation would have devastating cuts of over $800 billion to Medicaid.
The bill now goes to the Senate where we hope it will be debated and scored to determine the impact on low income households, seniors, and those with disabilities. Despite the outcome of the House vote, we will work on both sides of the aisle to ensure our voice is heard on coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and individuals requiring Essential Health Benefits. “We strongly encourage our advocates across the country to continue to reach out to their members of Congress and educate them on why AHCA harms millions of individuals with disabilities and why this bill could have detrimental consequences,” said Scott Badesch, President/CEO of the Autism Society of America.