From: Justice For All Moderator <jfa@jfanow.org>
Date: Wed Mar 19, 2003 6:01:25 PM US/Eastern
To: justice@jfanow.org
Subject: ACTION ALERT!! Budget Cuts Threaten People with Disabilities

"ACTION ALERT!! Budget Cuts Threaten People with
Disabilities"

From The Arc and UCP Public Policy Collaboration
<publicpolicy@thearc.org>:

Immediate Action Needed on Federal Budget Resolution;
Tax Cuts Threaten People with Disabilities

This week (week of March 17), both the U.S. House and
Senate are expected to debate and vote on budget
resolutions. Once both houses of Congress agree to a
single resolution, it will provide the basic parameters for
the federal budget for next year (beginning on October 1,
2003). This will have a dramatic impact on all programs
for people with disabilities, from entitlement programs
like Medicaid and Medicare to discretionary programs like
IDEA, housing, assistive technology, and others.

President Bush's "economic growth" plan, a central feature
in the development of the House and Senate joint budget
resolutions, includes a tax cut that will benefit primarily
wealthy people and provide almost no relief for others.
In fact, 31 percent of the nation's taxpayers would get no
benefit from the Bush economic stimulus package and almost
half would receive less than $100 in tax cuts. The
Administration's overall tax package revenue reductions
would leave our government $2 trillion poorer after 10
years. This will create massive deficits and put
disability programs at grave risk of significant cuts.

As it now stands in both the House and the Senate, the
budget proposals contain:

* Tax cuts that will further exacerbate the budget deficit
and devastate spending for programs for people with
disabilities for years;

* Requirements for massive cuts in domestic programs
including Medicaid; and

* NO other fiscal relief for states, including no provision
for an increase in the federal medical assistance
percentage (FMAP).

To understand the impact, here is what might happen to
Medicaid under the House budget proposal. It requires
reductions in Medicaid and all other mandatory programs
except Social Security and military retirement. The
reductions are calculated proportionally, requiring each
Committee to find the cuts in the programs they oversee.
If the Committees spread the cuts proportionally across
their programs, then Medicaid must be cut by $93 billion
over 10 years.

The impact of this proposal is even more devastating
because states are experiencing their worst fiscal crisis
since World War II. By the end of this fiscal year, 49
states will have cut Medicaid this year and 32 states will
have cut Medicaid twice. Cuts mean that people lose
Medicaid coverage or access to absolutely essential
services like: home and community based services, physical
and other therapies, dental and vision services, and
prescription drugs. It also means that the direct care
worker crisis will get worse.

As a short-term, stopgap measure, it is important for
people with disabilities that the budget resolution call
for a temporary increase in the federal share of Medicaid
(known as the "FMAP").

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Throughout the week of March 17, call or email your
Senators and Representatives.

* Use the Action Center (http://capwiz.com/thearc/home/) to
send an email directly to your Senators and
Representatives (sample message below), or

* Use the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Urge your Senators and Representatives to:

* Oppose the Bush Administration's tax cuts.

* Oppose any cuts in Medicaid and any other human services
program.

* Vote to support amendments to provide state fiscal
relief, including one that would increase the federal
matching rate in Medicaid (FMAP).

Thank you for your help. The future of vital programs for
people with disabilities and their families hangs in the
balance. Remember that every office counts every call and
email. You can make a difference!

================================================== =======

SAMPLE MESSAGE

Dear Member of Congress:

The tax cuts in the Budget Resolution are irresponsible and
will cause massive cuts in Medicaid and other critical
programs for people with disabilities and their families.
In our state, we are already living in fear of drastic cuts
due to Medicaid budget deficits. The Budget Resolution
will force my state to make even more cuts in benefits and
services that people need.

Medicaid works. It is a lifeline for people with
disabilities. Home and community based services,
prescription drugs, physical and other therapies, and
vision and dental care are fundamental to keeping people
healthy and enabling them to live outside of costly
institutions.

Oppose tax cuts, protect vital human services, and support
amendments to provide state fiscal relief that will provide
more funds for Medicaid. People with disabilities are
counting on you to ensure these vital services. Please do
not let us down.

# # #

=====================

NOTE: Some Internet Providers (including AOL, Earthlink and
Juno) may see JFA postings as spam because of the large
volume of JFA mail recipients and fail to deliver the
posting. If this happens more than a few times, the JFA
system may automatically unsubscribe some email
addresses. Should you stop receiving JFA Alerts, please
subscribe to JFA again as per the instructions at
www.jfanow.org.
=====================

JUSTICE FOR ALL -- A Service of the
American Association of People with Disabilities
www.aapd-dc.org www.jfanow.org

There's strength in numbers! Be a part of a national
coalition of people with disabilities and join AAPD today.
www.aapd-dc.org