National Disability Institute's Washington Insider

This special issue of National Disability Institute's Washington Insider gives an update on the fight to save Medicaid and offers information to help readers find and contact their Senators so that they can share their stories about what Medicaid means to them.


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July 2017 | Vol. 9, Issue 6
The Current Threat to Medicaid (UPDATE)
How to Find Your Senators
How to Communicate with Your Senators
Share Your Story
ABLE National Resource Center Set to Launch National Public Awareness Campaign
June 2017 Employment Profile

The Current Threat to Medicaid (UPDATE)

After several proposals by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all of which would have devastating effects on people with disabilities and their ability to access vital supports and services provided through the Medicaid program, the Senate has voted, successfully and on party lines, to begin floor debate on the House repeal and replace legislation. This vote was a procedural vote that will now lead into debate, proposed amendments, and a subsequent vote on whichever version prevails.

The disability community is confident that no successful amendments currently exist that would not cause drastic harm to people with disabilities and their families.   

National Disability Institute (NDI) has been standing alongside the larger disability community in an effort to educate members of the Senate about the largely irreversible consequences of what we believe will be proposed legislation during this debate process, particularly that cutting and/or capping Medicaid is unacceptable. However, it is of utmost importance that members hear from you in the next 12-24 hours. Below are instructions on how to contact your Senators, along with a suggested script. We, at NDI, strongly encourage you to act now: the future of people with disabilities could be decided within the next couple days, if not sooner. 

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How to Find Your Senators

Follow this link to find out who your Senators are and learn how to contact them. Remember, every state has two Senators – be sure to contact them both!

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How to Communicate with Your Senators

There are several ways that you can contact your Senators, and we encourage you to utilize them all:

  • Call your Senator’s Washington, D.C. office
  • Call your Senator’s district office
  • Email your Senator
  • Use social media to communicate with your Senator (ex. tweet @ your Senator)  

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Share Your Story

Your Senators (and their staff) need to understand what Medicaid means to you and your family. We encourage you to share short stories on how the supports and services provided through the Medicaid program have helped you, your family member(s) or friend(s) with a disability live, work and/or thrive in the community. Additionally, it is important to paint a picture on how that would change if Congress passes the currently proposed legislation.

If you are not comfortable with sharing your story or would like some help, please feel free to use the following script as a guide (attributed to the Center for Public Representation):

Hello, this is [Name]. I’m a resident of [City, State] and [I/my child/sister/friend/co-worker, etc.] is a person with a disability who relies on Medicaid for health care and community support.

The proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act calls for per capita caps that will result in $772 billion in cuts to Medicaid, leaving 10 million people with disabilities at risk of losing the services that enable them to live and participate in the community.

This would be devastating to individuals and families.

A health care plan that would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026 is an unacceptable replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Please pass my concerns along to [Senator’s Name].

Thank you for taking my call!

If you are leaving a voicemail: Please leave your full street address and zip code to ensure your call is tallied.

Optional: Add A Personal Story

Again, personal stories are the most effective form of advocacy. Consider the following:

  • If you or a family member are on Medicaid (including a waiver), what are the most important services to you? What difference has that made in your life and/or the life of your family member?
  • What was your and/or your family member’s lives like before receiving Medicaid services?
  • Are you or a family member on a waitlist for Medicaid services? How would getting services make a difference in your lives?

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ABLE National Resource Center Set to Launch National Public Awareness Campaign

The ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC) will launch a month-long #ABLEtoSave grassroots campaign beginning July 31st and running throughout the month of August. The purpose of the campaign is to educate and inform the general public about Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts. The goals of the #ABLEtoSave campaign are to increase awareness about ABLE accounts and to increase the amount of ABLE accounts opened across the country.

ABLE accounts are tax-advantaged savings accounts that have the potential to significantly increase the independence and quality of life of individuals with disabilities without jeopardizing benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

During each of the five weeks in August, ANRC will provide a detailed calendar of messaging, social media posts and other resources to all campaign participants. Informational and marketing videos have also been developed, and webinars on ABLE-related topics will be held on Wednesday of each week.

Currently, 23 states have ABLE account programs. To learn more about the #ABLEtoSave campaign and ABLE accounts, visit the ABLE National Resource Center website and be sure to “like” the ANRC on Facebook and Twitter (@theABLENRC).

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June 2017 Employment Profile

Disability employment statistics for June 2017 show that the unemployment rate among people with disabilities was 8.9 percent. This shows a 3.2 percent change from June 2016. The latest employment statistics also find that only 20.7 percent of people with disabilities are actively in the labor force, as compared to 69.1 percent of people with no disability. Data on people with disabilities covers those between the ages of 16 to 64 who do not live in institutions.

U.S. Disability Employment Profile
With Disability
Without Disability
Percent of Population in the Labor Force
Employment-Population Ratio
Unemployment Rate
As reported by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table A-6

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