Gayl Brunk, President
3210 Peoples Dr., Suite 220
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
540-438-9265 (tty)
540-433-6313 (fax)

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 American Health Care Act


The Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living (VACIL) is concerned about the American Health Care Act and what it means for the future of available and affordable health care for people with disabilities. Resources provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia for health care services and community supports are inadequate now. Provisions in the American Health Care Act will significantly increase the cost to states for critical services, thereby further stressing the resources now provided by the Commonwealth.

 Along with our national organization, the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), we are concerned about provisions in the American Health Care Act that would repeal or phase out key aspects of health insurance coverage and Medicaid provisions that are critical to people with disabilities. Paying for repealing the Affordable Care Act by cutting services for low income people is wrong.

 Medicaid is vitally important to people with disabilities who have low income, including people who need supports to live independently in the community and avoid placement in nursing facilities and other institutions. The American Health Care Act would restructure Medicaid into a per-capita cap system, replacing the current funding structure. The proposed changes are intended to cut costs, regardless of need. The Virginia Medicaid program is already lean with low income thresholds and strict eligibility criteria. The Commonwealth will have to commit significantly more funds for Medicaid or people with disabilities who have low income and others will see eligibity restricted and services cut.

 We agree with NCIL that “This proposed legislation will be incredibly dangerous for people with disabilities. If it passes, affordable coverage will once again be out of reach for many people with disabilities, and our ability to live in our homes and communities will be at risk.”

 Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a plan to maintain and improve existing coverage and access to health care and critical supports would be dangerous. Over the next few weeks as Congress deliberates the American Health Care Act it will be imperative that people with disabilities and other advocates learn about proposed changes and that we continue to educate Congress and the Virginia General Assembly about these important issues.