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Trumpcare Hurts Students with Disabilities

Trumpcare contains billions of dollars in callous cuts to services that help students with disabilities thrive. While many may not realize it, Medicaid is essential for our nation’s students and schools. Medicaid provides reimbursement for numerous services provided at schools and school-based health centers. Through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Medicaid reimburses schools for certain medically necessary services provided to Medicaid-eligible children with an individualized education plan (IEP) or individualized family service plan (IFSP).  Both IEPs and IFSPs establish the services, accommodations, and supports needed to ensure that students with disabilities receive a free, appropriate public education.

Critical services provided under Medicaid in schools include vision and hearing screenings, mental health counseling, diabetes and asthma diagnosis and management, speech and language therapy, occupational and physical therapy, and other medically necessary services that support students. Some districts utilize Medicaid reimbursement to purchase highly specialized equipment for students with disabilities, such as walkers, wheelchairs, and assistive technology that allow students with disabilities to participate in all aspects of school alongside their peers. All in all, estimates show that at least $4 billion of Medicaid funding goes to school districts each year – well over $4.5 million in federal funding goes to my home state of Delaware alone.

Despite the proven need for these services, Trumpcare would slash Medicaid spending by 25 percent, threatening school-based services that support the healthy growth and development of children. Slashing the Medicaid program will force states trying to fill budget gaps to cut benefits or coverage for kids, potentially inhibiting schools’ ability to provide meaningful educational benefits to students with disabilities. The President’s budget doubles down on Trumpcare, with extensive Medicaid cuts that will hurt kids in schools.

In real terms, Trumpcare puts the health and wellbeing of our nation’s students on the backburner, all while Republicans give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and corporations.  Trumpcare will result in a loss of school personnel and reduction in the school-based services provided to our most vulnerable children. 

Trumpcare is unacceptable for our nation’s students, particularly students with disabilities who rely on Medicaid-funded services to give them equitable access to education.

Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL) is a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

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What We All Have in Common

Who is forced to pay more for less under TrumpCare? Everyone. While Republicans jammed their harmful TrumpCare bill though the House without an updated CBO score and without holding a single hearing, every American, including those with employer-based coverage, would be harmed by the consequences of the legislation:

New York Times: G.O.P. Bill Could Affect Employer Health Coverage, Too

"About half of all Americans get health coverage through work. The bill would make it easier for employers to increase the amount that employees could be asked to pay in premiums, or to stop offering coverage entirely. It also has the potential to weaken rules against capping worker’s benefits or limiting how much employees can be asked to pay in deductibles or co-payments.”

“Employers who do not offer insurance to their full-time workers would no longer be fined.”

“Employers would also be freed from penalties if their insurance did not meet a certain affordability standard for their workers; that could mean charging workers a larger share of insurance premiums.”

Wall Street Journal: GOP Health Bill Jeopardizes Out-of-Pocket Caps in Employer Plans

“Many people who obtain health insurance through their employers—about half of the country—could be at risk of losing protections that limit out-of-pocket costs for catastrophic illnesses, due to a little-noticed provision of the House Republican health-care bill, health-policy experts say.”

“The provision, part of a last-minute amendment, lets states obtain waivers from certain Affordable Care Act insurance regulations. Insurers in states that obtain the waivers could be freed from a regulation mandating that they cover 10 particular types of health services, among them maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health treatment and hospitalization.

“That could also affect plans offered by large employers, health analysts said.”

“Under the House bill, large employers could choose the benefit requirements from any state—including those that are allowed to lower their benchmarks under a waiver, health analysts said. By choosing a waiver state, employers looking to lower their costs could impose lifetime limits and eliminate the out-of-pocket cost cap from their plans under the GOP legislation.”

“A company wouldn’t have to do business in a state to choose that state’s benefits level, analysts said. The company could just choose a state to match no matter where it is based.”



GOP vs. Reality on Trumpcare

Days after House Republicans voted to strip away health care from more than 24 million hard-working Americans, Trumpcare’s biggest proponents appeared on multiple Sunday shows yesterday – to defend the bill by blatantly lying about what it does. 

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney on CBS’ Face the Nation:

“Everybody will have coverage that's better than what they had under Obamacare."

Reality:

CNN: CBO report: 24 million fewer insured by 2026 under GOP health care bill

Twenty-four million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026 under the House Republican health care bill than under Obamacare, including 14 million by next year, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said.

***

HHS Secretary Tom Price on NBC’s Meet the Press:

“I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we're going through.”

Reality:

Vox: Tom Price says Americans will “absolutely not” lose Medicaid under GOP plan. That’s not true.

The Trump administration offers an appealing vision of what health care could look like in the United States, a future where everyone has robust insurance coverage at a low price. But American Health Care Act does not deliver on that vision. And if it passes, and its big cuts to Obamacare’s coverage expansion go into effect, Trump and Price will be forced to confront that reality.

**

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on ABC’s This Week:

“This is a rescue mission to make sure that we can achieve the goals we all want, which is getting the cost of coverage down, and making sure that everyone has access to affordable healthcare, especially including people with pre-existing conditions. That is what our bill does.”

Reality:

Rolling Stone: 5 Ways the New GOP Health Care Bill Is Even Worse Than Before

[AHCA] would allow for people with pre-existing conditions to be charged more per year for their insurance coverage – possibly to the tune of thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars more per year, some studies have found.



Op-eds from across the country: Trumpcare 'endangering lives'

Yesterday, House Republicans passed a Trumpcare bill that would mean higher costs and less coverage for American families. Now, while the Senate figures out what to do with the dumpster fire they’ve just been handed, Americans are speaking out in op-eds across the country about the potential impacts of Trumpcare on their lives and the lives of others:

Cincinnati Inquirer: American Health Care Act will kill people

“With his yes vote on Thursday, my representative, Steve Chabot, told me I mattered less than his healthy constituents because I happen to have been paralyzed at birth. As a 26-year-old young adult, I have only recently aged out of limits to remain on my parents' health insurance plan. Ahead of me is a lifetime of doctor appointments, tests, medications, procedures, and surgeries. That is to say nothing, also, of the future costs of medical equipment I need to sustain a high quality of life. I wonder if Mr. Chabot could look me in the eyes and tell me that I deserve to pay higher premiums because of my disability?” – Neil Kelly, a Symmes Township resident

New York Times: The Reality of a Pre-Existing Condition

“I would not wish what my family has endured on anyone, even the legislators who voted to take away the protection that gave us such relief. I don’t really care about theory, about which is the more efficient way to rein in costs, or to give families the most choices. To me, preserving the principle that people should not be punished for a fate they could not control seems fundamental. At the end of the day, this is not about ideology. It’s about humanity.” – Susan Chira, senior correspondent and editor on gender issues for The New York Times

Washington Post: I was raped. Thanks to Republicans, I could be denied insurance for surviving.

“Many rape survivors cannot pay the significant expenses incurred in the aftermath. They need assistance without being forced to pay a premium for their trauma and denied coverage altogether. Lawmakers have a responsibility to reject bills that inappropriately rely on our status as survivors to diminish our worth. Our suffering cannot be reduced to a ‘preexisting condition’ that allows insurers to turn us away at will.” – Carly Mee, a staff attorney at SurvJustice

New York Times: The Real Problem With the Health Care Bill

“If Republicans really want cheaper insurance policies to equal quality care, then they need to guarantee coverage, and make that affordable by reining in health care profits. Because getting cheaper insurance at the expense of endangering one’s life is not a health care bargain.” – Theresa Brown, a hospice nurse

Detroit Free Press: Health care reform, or cruelty?

Trumpcare “sets the clock running on a return to the days when the poorest Americans chose between health care and shelter or food, to the times when people without coverage faced bankruptcy or other financial ruin if they or their family members got sick. That’s not just sloppy — it’s incredibly irresponsible.” – Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor of The Detroit Free Press

Washington Post: Who gets hurt — and when — if Trumpcare becomes law

“House Republicans, eager to upend the Affordable Care Act (ACA), have passed a bill that independent arbiters such as the Congressional Budget Office say would increase the number of uninsured by millions, cut Medicaid by $800 billion, and raise premiums and deductibles — especially for those with preexisting conditions. But if this legislation, in its current form, is eventually enacted, the fallout won’t come immediately or all at once. It’s likely to take place over the course of several years, in a sequence of events affecting tens of millions of people.” – Jacob Leibenluft, a senior adviser at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

CNBC: Here’s the real loser in the GOP health-care reform plan

“To be clear, this bill does nothing to improve the health of Americans. Nor does it reduce the staggering cost of health care, or lessen its inexorable rise. The likelihood is that the overall health of our citizens will get worse, especially among those who cannot afford the full coverage they have today, including a large proportion of Trump voters. All the bill accomplishes is to shift the burden of paying for health care from the wealthy and healthy to middle class and unhealthy citizens.” – Bill George, Senior Fellow, Harvard Business School and Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Medtronic, Inc.

LA Times: The GOP's healthcare 'victory' was anything but

“Two days before the Kentucky Derby, House Republicans hit the trifecta: They used an undemocratic process to pass a healthcare bill that’s awful on the merits and can only hurt them politically… Trumpcare would quite simply be a humanitarian nightmare, resulting in untold avoidable death and suffering for no good reason. At least it’s now obvious — though it should have been obvious long ago — that Trump is not a compassionate populist and that Ryan is not a policy wonk.” – Scott Lemieux, an instructor of political science at SUNY Albany



Report Card for President Trump's First 100 Days

100 Day Report Card



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