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The Republican “Inaccessible Care Act”

Bruce BirdA recent blog from Linda Rosenberg of the National Council of Community Behavioral Health paints a stark picture of the potentially dire consequences of the Republican Senate – proposed “American Health Care Act.”

But the consequences are potentially much worse. For millions of people with disabilities, or with mental illness or addiction problems, or older and sicker people, services will be eliminated. We will essentially be back to the 1950s level of support and services.

Yesterday Governor Baker released an analysis of what the cuts in Medicaid funding would do to Massachusetts- a stunning and devastating picture. We are extremely fortunate to have a Governor and legislature which has supported policies and funding to improve healthcare access and quality and reduce costs the right way – through system reform – but these changes rely on federal support which will be gutted.

I recently heard the following quote: if you are making $70,000 a year, healthy and young, this is a good bill for you. If you are old, ill, disabled, and/or not wealthy, your access to health and disability services is going to be drastically reduced or gone.

What is insidious in the bill is that healthcare will be available, but omits that it will not be accessible for millions and of Americans. This act should be called the Inaccessible Care Act.

Buried in the bill are special provisions in which Republican Senators who have previously voiced concerns have been placated – such as the exclusion of Alaska from the proposed Medicaid reductions because it is one state without a “dense population”.

What can we do? Our Congressional representatives are all voting the right way in these matters. What matters now is educating and energizing friends, relatives, and colleagues in other states to get to Republicans who might come to their senses and vote against this bill.

The time is now. If you are concerned about this – you can take action by calling, emailing, or writing friends, relatives, and/or colleagues in Republican controlled states to engage their elected officials in stopping this.