Washington, DC – The Arc released the following statement following the defeat of the Health Care Freedom Act in the United States Senate:
“Never underestimate the power of the disability community, who took on this civil rights fight for themselves and future generations.
“The defeat of this disastrous health care bill is a huge win for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc thanks all Senators who voted against this bill. Medicaid and the home and community based services and supports program funds are safe, for now.
“Make no mistake – we still have work to do. This year, Congress and the Administration have put on the table over a trillion dollars in cuts to the program, and so the threats remain, whether they resurface in another health care bill, a tax bill, or at any time. Last night, 49 Senators voted for more than $200 billion in Medicaid cuts, and to strip 16 million individuals of their health insurance. Just a few months ago, the House passed legislation that included over $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid, and to take health insurance away from 22 million people. Each vote in favor of these cuts devalued the lives and rights of people with disabilities in our nation. States would have been forced to cut people from the Medicaid rolls or to substantially reduce services; home and community based services were at greatest risk. This harmful bill was crafted behind closed doors, in a disgraceful process that showed a callous disregard for the lives at stake.
“So the work of our movement continues. Advocates across the country will reach out to their Senators and Representatives to thank those who opposed this approach, voice their concerns about threats to Medicaid, and continue to educate elected officials about why Medicaid matters to them,” said Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc.
The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 650 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.