Protect the Lifeline

UPDATE - December 5, 2017

The House and the Senate have passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill which poses significant threats to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The bill would add about $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, increasing pressure to cut Medicaid and other programs to pay for the tax cuts. Advocates are urged to turn their attention to their representatives in the House to oppose the bill. The House and Senate need to pass the identical bills in order a measure to become law.

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The Arc of New Jersey and The Arc of Essex County participated in a press conference with Senator Bob Menendez in June to highlight the threats to Medicaid in the Senate’s version of the American Health Care Act. Eileen Stuart, whose daughter Laurie has lived in an Arc Essex group home for more than 20 years, told the Senator that Laurie has complex medical needs, including seizures, and that she will always require long-term supports and services. She explained that Laurie can’t afford to lose the supports she receives or the home she shares with other individuals with I/DD, and that she worries about what will happen to Laurie after she’s gone if Medicaid is slashed the way the Senate is proposing. She also told the Senator that it’s only because of Medicaid that Laurie is able to live an integrated life in the community. Following the event, Eileen spoke to multiple reporters about the importance of Medicaid and the impact per capita caps and related cuts would have on her daughter and thousands like her with I/DD living in New Jersey. 

About this Issue:

  • Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security, Medicare and civil rights laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are lifelines for people with I/DD and their families, providing benefits, supports, and civil rights protections that help make community living possible.
  • In 2017, The Arc calls on all advocates to join us in reaching out to the President and Congress to educate them on the importance of these lifelines and to urge them to preserve – not cut -- these essential programs and civil rights laws.
  • These federal programs provide the key to community living and inclusion for people with I/DD across the nation. Now more than ever, we must join together as a collective movement to ensure that our lifeline programs and civil rights are protected.

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