Support for Better Care Reconciliation Act Falls Short; Future of Repeal-only Proposal Uncertain

On Tuesday, July 17, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suspended Senate consideration of its Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). His action comes on the heels of Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) announcing, in separate statements, that they would not support BCRA, joining Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) in opposing BCRA.

Instead, Majority Leader McConnell plans to hold an ACA repeal-only vote in the coming days that would include a two-year transition period for Congress to pass its replacement. It is uncertain if there are 51 votes in the Senate to pass repeal-only legislation. Easterseals supported the ACA for its protections and improvement to care for individuals with disabilities. Easterseals will continue to fight against the ACA repeal and other legislation that cuts Medicaid services for people with disabilities.

Easterseals’ Statement on the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

The Administration’s FY 2018 budget severely threatens the health and independence of low income children and adults with disabilities and their families. Easterseals urges Congress to reject this budget. The budget disproportionately targets reductions in key disability services programs that allow people with disabilities of all ages to live, learn, work, and play in their communities. These include:

  • Medicaid: The budget calls for per-capita caps or block granting of Medicaid that will reduce essential health and support services to children and adults with disabilities.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income: These programs, slated for billions in cuts, provide critical income supports for people with disabilities, many of whom have disabilities that restrict or eliminate their ability to work.
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program: This budget eliminates this program that is the ONLY federal program that assists low income seniors return to work. This cut is in addition to the nearly 50 percent cuts in other federal job training programs.
  • Other essential programs that are cut: The National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, the Developmental Disabilities State Grants for Developmental Disabilities Councils, the Social Services Block Grant, Universal Newborn Hearing Screening, and the CDC Autism programs.

In total, this budget jeopardizes the health, well-being, and independence of people with disabilities. The program cuts also threaten the ability of Easterseals affiliates that rely on public private partnerships to meet the needs of their communities.