Federal health care bill ‘devastating blow’ to disabled, say River North advocates
Loop North News

Disability Rights

American Health Care Act

Federal health care bill ‘devastating blow’ to disabled, say River North advocates

7-May-17 – As the United States Senate deliberates the American Health Care Act, advocates in River North for the disabled say the bill, aimed at providing health care insurance to Americans but with controversial caveats, would be “a devastating blow” to millions of disabled people.

Rahnee Patrick “This bill threatens healthcare coverage and independence for people with pre-existing conditions and people who receive community-based supports through Medicaid,” says Rahnee Patrick, (left) Director of Independent Living for Access Living.

As passed by the House of Representatives on May 4, the bill, says Access Living, would allow states to offer higher-priced insurance to people with pre-existing conditions, resulting in many disabled people having inadequate insurance to cover their health needs.

Though $8 billion was added to help higher-risk people pay for insurance, Access Living says they would expect deductibles to be steep – as much as $5,000 – and many disabled people left out of state programs providing higher-risk insurance. The amount needed to insure all high-risk people with pre-existing conditions, says the organization, is closer to $200 billion.

The bill would also cut programs that support people with disabilities in their own homes, according to Access Living, and services such as treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues.

“This legislation fails to reflect the concerns of people with disabilities and it fails to reflect the reality of the lives of people with disabilities,” said Amber Smock (right), Access Living’s Director of Advocacy. “This legislation will not support the right of people with disabilities to get quality supports in communities instead of institutions. It will not ensure access to specialized services and equipment that provide independence. It will not keep healthcare affordable for people with disabilities.” Amber Smock

Smock called the legislation “the product of deals cut at the expense of people with disabilities.”

Access Living says it will continue to fight against the American Health Care Act and urged the Senate to “listen to the voices of people with disabilities” and reject the legislation.

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com

Published 7-May-17 11:00 PM

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