FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Disability Groups Emphasize Need for Quality Care & Access to Care, in Lead Up to the Congressional Supercommittee Hearing about Debt Reduction Plans
The Supercommittee decision cannot only be about saving money;
it must be about ensuring access to quality care
Washington, DC (November 1, 2011) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) oppose some measures in the previously-released deficit reduction proposals, which will be discussed at a hearing of the Supercommittee on Tuesday, November 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Former Senator Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles of The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Dr. Alice Rivlin and Former Senator Pete Domenici of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force are scheduled to testify.
“Changes to Medicaid in the Simpson-Bowles and Rivlin-Dominici proposals would put Americans with disabilities at risk. We urge Members of Congress and the Administration to stand firm against any measures that would jeopardize those with disabilities,” said Stephen Bennett, former UCP President & CEO.
“Medicaid provides me with in-home personal care services so I can choose to live in my home instead of an institution. Members of Congress must keep the millions of Americans like me in mind as they determine the fate of Medicaid,” said Robert Coward, a quadriplegic and member of a shadow Supercommittee — called “America’s Supercommittee” — established by UCP and AAPD to put a human face on Medicaid.
“Reducing access to care for Americans is not an option, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t reduce costs,” said AAPD President and CEO Mark Perriello. “To reduce costs without limiting eligibility, we need to ensure that programs are operating efficiently. Some of the proposals being considered today place too much of the cost-cutting burden on people with disabilities,” he added.
The Bowles-Simpson commission plan proposes repealing or reforming the CLASS Act, which establishes a voluntary program for workers to purchase long-term care insurance and supports. UCP and AAPD oppose repeal and urge members of Congress to reject any attempts to do so.
One proposal would require persons eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare to enlist in managed care programs. Many managed care programs have had success. Not all programs are equal, however. An acceptable plan will employ the best practices used by effective managed care plans and ensure that individuals have access to providers and quality care.
UCP and AAPD favor changes to save money in the Medicaid program that don’t adversely impact recipients, such as reducing prescription drug costs and enabling more people with disabilities to stay in their homes instead of costlier nursing homes. While both of the previous debt reduction plans being highlighted at the hearing contain measures opposed by UCP and AAPD, the organizations endorse the proposal in the Bowles-Simpson commission plan to extend the Medicaid drug rebate to those individuals who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
About United Cerebral Palsy
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.
About the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
The American Association of People with Disabilities is the nation’s largest cross-disability organization. We promote equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation for people with disabilities. Our members, including people with disabilities and our family, friends, and supporters, represent a powerful force for change. Visit www.AAPD.com for more information.