Protect disability programs in making budget decisions

Published 4:59 pm Saturday, December 1, 2012

Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other programs that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) rely on are at risk for harmful cuts during end of the year budget decisions.

In the last year and a half, with your hard work, The Arc succeeded in helping to protect Medicaid in last year’s deficit reduction law, the Budget Control Act (BCA). Now there is mounting pressure to find an alternative to cuts mandated by the law. And the clock is ticking, as many tax provisions expire at the end of the year. The expiring tax cuts, coupled with BCA mandated cuts, may put the country over what is called the “fiscal cliff.”

 How can you protect critical programs for people with I/DD?

The Arc’s network needs to make its voice heard in the next few weeks. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families cannot afford more cuts to the critical programs that support them, particularly Medicaid. Congress must include raising revenues (including higher taxes for the top 2%) in the negotiations. Call your Senators and/or Representative and tell him/her that people with I/DD are counting on them to do the right thing.

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1. Reach out to your elected officials and tell them why Medicaid is important to you and how it has helped you or the people you work with. In addition, emphasize: Raising revenues is critical to achieving deficit reduction that does not harm people with I/DD and end tax cuts on the top 2 percent of earners.

The Medicaid program is a lean and efficient program that cannot sustain cuts without causing substantial harm to individuals and families who rely on its lifeline to health and long term services and supports.

2) Share your story with The Arc. Put your face on Medicaid, SSI, and Social Security by telling your story to help us protect these programs in Congress.

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