May 26, 2023, Rockville, MD—Disability and aging groups and Senator Bob Casey were joined by care advocates and nearly 500 activists from around the country for a Save Medicaid Online Rally on May 24. During the rally, attendees called on Congress to defend Medicaid, an essential program that 88 million Americans rely on for their health care, including 54 million older adults, children, and people with disabilities.
The rally, hosted by The Arc of the United States, Autism Society of America, Disability and Aging Collaborative (DAC), Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities (CCD), and Caring Across Generations, served as an opportunity for supporters to learn more about the harmful effects of work requirements and program cuts against Medicaid included in the Default On America Act. This rally is one of many actions supporters and care advocates across this country are participating in to save Medicaid, including last week when Caring Across Generations delivered 12,000 petitions and The Arc of the United States delivered 86,000 petitions demanding Congress put a stop to harmful cuts.
“Let’s call it like it is: the Default On America Act will directly harm millions of families across this country. I find it alarming that this extreme proposal will take Medicaid away from millions who do not meet new bureaucratic work requirements, including people who have a hard time finding work, such as family caregivers, older people over 50, and disabled people,” said Nicole Jorwic, chief of advocacy and campaigns at Caring Across Generations. “This plan puts a false choice in front of us: take care away from families, children, older adults, and disabled people — or force a default that will disrupt Social Security checks and raise interest rates on credit cards, mortgages, and car payments. There is a better way: raise the debt ceiling cleanly and invest in the care we need by making the ultra-wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share.”
“Medicaid is a lifeline for people with disabilities, and its underfunding has already created a crisis of care,” shared David Goldfarb, Director of Long-Term Supports and Services Policy at The Arc of the United States. “Many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have serious medical needs and already face barriers to accessing safety net programs and our health care systems. Millions of them are falling through the cracks right now because these complex systems have overwhelming red tape and years-long wait lists. Adding work requirements to Medicaid will only exacerbate disparities and discrimination against people with IDD and jeopardize their access to life-sustaining health care and community living.”
“The stakes have never been higher,” stated Christopher S. Banks, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America. “Cutting Medicaid will further exacerbate the current unacceptable waiting lists for services and support for people with Autism. Understandably, aging parents and caregivers have intense anxiety surrounding the fears of what will happen to their family members after they are gone. We must create equitable and accessible health care for Autistic individuals and the greater disability community.”
According to Carol Tyson, Chair of the Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities, “People with all types of disabilities rely on Medicaid for access to critical health care, and services and supports to live in, and contribute to the community. The evidence is clear that Medicaid work requirements are not effective. Medicaid work requirements would create unnecessary barriers and result in millions of the already underserved facing life-threatening cuts to essential coverage. Congress must prioritize the health and well-being of people with disabilities, and all those who rely on Medicaid and essential programs, by rejecting proposals that would cut Medicaid funding, impose work requirements, or restrict access to care.”
About The Arc of the United States
The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy, and other diagnoses. Founded in 1950 by parents who believed their children with IDD deserved more, The Arc is now a network of nearly 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with IDD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. Through the decades, The Arc has been at the forefront of advances in disability rights and supports. Visit www.thearc.org or follow us @TheArcUS to learn more. Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.
About Autism Society of America
The Autism Society’s mission is to create connections, empowering everyone in the Autism community with the resources needed to live fully. As the nation’s oldest leading grassroots Autism organization, the Autism Society and its approximately 70+ local affiliates serve over half a million members of the Autism community each year. It envisions a world where everyone in the Autism community is connected to the support they need, when they need it – including education, advocacy efforts, and supports and services throughout the lifespan. For more information, visit www.autismsociety.org.
About Disability and Aging Collaborative
The Disability and Aging Collaborative (DAC) is a coalition of approximately 40 national organizations that work together to advance long-term services and support policy at the federal level. Formed in 2009, the DAC was one of the first coordinated efforts to bring together disability, aging, and labor organizations.
About Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities
The Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities (CCD) is the largest coalition of national organizations working together to advocate for Federal public policy that ensures the self-determination, independence, empowerment, integration, and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society free from racism, ableism, sexism, and xenophobia, as well as LGBTQ+ based discrimination and religious intolerance.
About Caring Across Generations
Caring Across Generations is a national organization of family caregivers, care workers, disabled people, and aging adults working to transform the way we care in this country so that care is accessible, affordable, and equitable— and our systems of care enable everyone to live and age with dignity.
To achieve our vision, we transform cultural norms and narratives about aging, disability, and care; win federal and state-level policies; and build power amongst the people touched by care. For more information, visit caringacross.org.
Kim Musheno, Autism Society of America, firstname.lastname@example.org