We haven’t been hearing any updates about the new “health care” bill that is being written, and that is for good reason: the bill is being written in secret.

The rules are being changed behind the scenes and roadblocks removed. The plan is to put it all together in one big amendment and substitute it for the House version very quickly on June 26 and go straight to floor for vote. No further discussion allowed, no additional amendments.

Funding will wither away year by year, waitlists will grow even more, and people with disabilities will have less opportunities to contribute, be independent and healthy, and will have a lower quality of life.

But make no mistake about this ― Medicaid DOES NOT just serve those of us with disabilities! Even if you don’t have a disability, even if no one in your family or circle of friends has a disability, you are probably going to need Medicaid at some point in your life. Read this for more. So don’t just do this for us ― do it for your own future.

Why the proposed changes matter: 

Medicaid is a federal-state partnership. With the changes that have been proposed (blocks, caps and complete eradication of some parts), the federal government is essentially pulling out of the partnership. The cost of programs, supports and health care will be placed fully on the states, which financially strapped states will not be able to meet.

What to do:

When the bill is finished, it’ll be sent to the Congressional Budget Office. It’ll take CBO about two weeks to evaluate and score a draft bill. Senate Republicans then want to vote on the bill before the July 4 recess.

We only need a few Republicans to break from party lines and be prepared to vote against bill. This needs to happen before June 23rd.

  1. Your first call should be to your senator’s main number (in a state or Washington office, either is fine). Staffer working on health care issues is best! A list of them is linked here.

  2. The conservatives (13 of whom are the only people writing this bill) should be called, as well as the moderates. Both are linked here. We are likely to have more success with the moderates ― and we only need a few to break from the party line, after all.

But what do you do if your own personal senators are not on either of these lists?

  • Call yours anyway as your name will go on a tally of “constituents who are mad about this.”

  • Contact the position, not the person. According to this helpful post on LifeHacker, 

“A member of Congress’s phone number is for constituents, not for the general public. Leave those lines open, and instead look up the office for the position they hold. I can’t seem to find a number like this for Mitch McConnell, but there is a phone line for the Speaker of the House that is separate from Paul Ryan’s regular number. And instead of bugging Nancy Pelosi, write or call the Office of the Democratic Leader. Each committee has its own contact information as well. You can call either leader of the House Intelligence Committee, for example, without having to clog up either Rep. Nunes’s or Rep. Schiff’s constituent phone lines.”

  • Ask your rep to pressure the person you’re concerned about. This works best if you have a member of Congress who shares your views on an issue. Let them know that you care about what’s going on, and ask them how they are going to stand up to their colleagues.

  • Get your friends to pick up the phone. Find a buddy who lives in another state who can make the call for you. And this is not cheating – this is getting others engaged!

Your senator could be the one who saves Medicaid. Your call could be the one to make the difference.

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