People with all types of disabilities have a significant stake in securing comprehensive health reform legislation this year that improves access to quality, affordable health and long term services and supports. According to a 2008 National Center for Health Statistics report, from 2001–2005, approximately 19% of non-institutionalized adults with mobility, sensory, and cognitive disabilities and mental illnesses and 17% of people with complex disabilities (such as those that limit self-care, work, or social or leisure activities) reported being uninsured. This is compared to approximately 19% of adults who do not have a disability who were uninsured. Twenty-eight percent of people with mental illness reported being uninsured, the highest rate among people with disabilities.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee has begun its mark-up on health reform legislation. This historic legislation addresses many of these access issues including: prohibiting discrimination based on health status or disability; requiring guaranteed issue of insurance policies; prohibiting pre-existing condition exclusions; prohibiting life-time and annual caps on coverage; and inclusion of community-based long term services and supports.
Offices on the Hill are being flooded with calls and emails opposing health care reform. Please contact your Senators as soon as possible to voice your support for health care reform efforts. This will likely be the only vehicle for enacting long term services and supports.
Your voice is needed now. Use this toll-free number to contact the offices of your two Senators: 866-210-3678.
Urge others to call their Senators, also! Our voices must be heard this week!