Thursday, September 24, 2009

National Arc Alert: Take Action Now!

Health Care Reform: Now it’s Personal

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Help Bring Desperately Needed Improvements in Health Care and Long Term Services for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Do you know anyone who has been denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition?

Do you know anyone who has been unable to access quality affordable health care?

Do you know anyone who has been waiting a long time for Medicaid home and community based services?

Then you need to get involved right NOW.

Why Now?

The stakes have never been higher. National health care reform is hanging in the balance.

From early August through Labor Day, Members of Congress are back in their home districts hearing from their constituents about health care reform. Many will be making their decisions on whether or not to support an overhaul of our health care system.

The chance to make meaningful improvements in health care only comes along every few decades. There are strong opponents to reform, such as the insurance industry. If we don't speak now .....

What Do People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Most Need in Health Care Reform?

1) No Pre-existing Conditions Exclusions
Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing coverage because of medical history.

2) No Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage
Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on coverage.

3) Coverage for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, and Orthotics
These products will be included in any new health plans.

4) Increased Medicaid Reimbursement Rates for Primary Care Physicians
More doctors will serve Medicaid patients when their reimbursement rates are increased to match to those of Medicare.

5) Improved Home and Community Based Services
When the institutional bias is removed from Medicaid, more states will serve more people and allow them to choose where they receive long term services and supports.

6) Reduced Demand for Medicaid Long Term Services and Supports
Medicaid will be strengthened when a national voluntary long term care insurance program (from the CLASS Act) is implemented and people can receive support without having to use Medicaid.

Take Action

Many Members of Congress will spend the August recess in their home districts. Please participate in one or more of the following types of events over the recess from now through September 8:

Town Halls meeting sponsored by your Members of Congress. You may be able to find a list of town halls on your Senators' and Representatives' web sites. Locate your Senators websites by selecting your state at the top of and your Representative's website by entering your zip code at the top of If you cannot locate this information on the web sites, please call their main offices and ask to speak to the scheduler.

In-district meetings with your Members of Congress. Please contact your local Members offices NOW to schedule a meeting. Guidance on requesting in-district meetings is usually provided under a "Constituent Services" section of your Senators' and Representatives' websites. Again, you can also call their district offices and ask to speak to their schedulers.

Other Community calendar events. Most local newspapers, chambers of commerce, and other civic organizations have extensive listings of fairs, parades, concerts, and other community events in which Members of Congress may be participating. Find your local newspaper's web site by entering your zip code at:

Calls to district offices and local radio programs. Phones are already ringing off the hook. Constituents are calling to voice strong opinions for and against health care reform. Only you can make sure your ideas and opinions are heard. Find the district office phone numbers at and Find your local radio stations' call in shows by entering your zip code at:

Please use the following materials to guide your discussions:
Fact Sheet
Talking Points
Personal stories from your community, such as:
* being on a waiting list for home and community based services
* having to quit a job to care for a loved one at home
* having to take a second job to pay a care provider
* not being able to move to another state due to loss of Medicaid services
* having to move a loved one into an institution due to lack of home and community based services
* being unable to find appropriate medical care

Thank you in advance for your great advocacy during this historic opportunity to improve the quality and accessibility of health care and long term services.

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