DRP Opposes the U.S. Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act

Disability Rights Pennsylvania Opposes the United States Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act

As a leader in the advancement of the civil rights of people with disabilities for forty years (40), Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP) is opposed to the Better Care Reconciliation Act introduced today by the United States Senate (Senate).  We are deeply concerned about the direction Congress is headed and the impact this legislation will have on rights, independence, and health of individuals with disabilities.  Today, on the eighteenth anniversary of the historic Olmstead Supreme Court decision that ensured that individuals with disabilities must receive services in the most integrated setting, the United States Senate has proposed a bill that will force people with disabilities to lose access to health care and community based supports.  This bill decimates the promise of Olmstead that allows people with disabilities to participate and thrive in their communities.

The Better Care Reconciliation Act ensures that people with disabilities will lose access to critical health and mental health care.  The decision to allow states to either Block Grant or create a Per-Capita payment will result in the program being eligibility based instead of an entitlement.  Individuals will only get services if funding is available, and if there is not enough funding then individuals will be placed on a waiting list.  Waiting lists for services will grow exponentially and individuals with disabilities could be placed in life threatening situations.  This bill will result in even less funding available over time than what the House bill proposed.

In addition, there is still a requirement to provide institutional based care.  This bill will all but ensure that Pennsylvania will not have enough funding available for Home and Community Based services and supports in any way that allows people to meaningfully participate in their communities or work.  Optional services such as employment, person driven services and home and community based long-term supports would not be required to be provided by the state.  People with disabilities will have no guarantee that any home and community based services will be available ten years from now.

We call on the Senators in Pennsylvania to stand up for the promise of Olmstead and replace this bill with legislation that supports the needs of people with disabilities by retaining the current Medicaid financing system.

For more information about the rights of people with disabilities visit www.disabilityrightspa.org.


Posted Via Information provided by Disability Rights Pennsylvania.


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