Government action on disabilities issues is shifting to Washington DC. As you know, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act which would cap the federal share of Medicaid funding and have a very detrimental effect on individuals with disabilities across the nation.
(For an explanation of the Medicaid changes passed in the House bill read: How Proposed Changes to Medicaid Could Affect Misericordia)
The Senate is now considering its own health care bill. It appears that the Senate bill will be drafted in June and debated and voted on in July or early August. It is unknown what the Senate bill will provide regarding Medicaid funding. Earlier this week, the White House announced its proposed budget for fiscal 2018, starting on October 1. Again, the proposed budget would dramatically cut Medicaid funding by capping the federal portion. Both houses of Congress will consider the budget this summer and fall. Finally, the new leadership at federal CMS will be reviewing the HCBS settings rule which currently restricts the residential and day programming options for individuals with intellectual disabilities. We have the opportunity to try to convince the new CMS leadership to revise the rule to broaden options. There is no doubt that our efforts will be strongly opposed by Equip for Equality and others.
To influence Congress and the federal agencies, it will be important to show that Misericordia has a broad nationwide base of support. We have very strong support among our federal representatives in Illinois. Our two Illinois Senators and most of the Illinois congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle know Misericordia well and fully appreciate that great services we provide. However, we need to be able to influence the Senators and Congressmen from other states in order to garner the votes we need on federal legislation that is important to Misericordia. These representatives will listen to the views of voters in their districts. We also need friends across the country willing to contact CMS in order to show that our views are shared by many others throughout the country.
Therefore, we need your help to build a nationwide advocacy network for Misericordia. We are asking you to provide us with the names, street addresses and email addresses of family members and friends throughout the country who you believe will be willing to write, call or email their representatives in Washington in support of Misericordia. You can provide this information by filling out the form at the following link: Misericordia Friends & Family National Advocacy Network Entry Form. Please complete one form for each family member or friend. We will incorporate this information in a data base. When we e mail our families asking you to contact your representatives in Washington, we will also email your family members and friends in other states asking them to do the same. MISERICORDIA WILL NOT USE THIS INFORMATION FOR FUNDRAISING. It will only be used for our advocacy efforts and we will do so only on matters of importance to Misericordia.
In completing the form, please also do so for family members and friends in other parts of Illinois. Our families are primarily from Northeastern Illinois. For matters of importance in Springfield, it would be helpful to show that we have strong support throughout the state. When there are matters in Springfield about which we want our families to contact their state representatives, we will use the data base to contact your family and friends in other parts of Illinois to add their voice in support.