The Arc Wisconsin: The Arc Wisconsin and people with disabilities in Wisconsin express relief after failed healthcare vote

Contact:
Lisa Pugh
(608) 422-4250

Madison, WI – Wisconsin residents with disabilities and their families are breathing a sigh of
relief this morning following the late-night U.S. Senate vote that defeated a healthcare reform
bill that had included drastic changes and cuts to Medicaid. More than 1 million Wisconsin
residents depend on Medicaid for their health insurance and funding for essential community
based care. Two-thirds of Medicaid funding goes to support people with disabilities and older
adults.

“It never made sense to overhaul a popular and effective 50-year program that people with
disabilities, elderly and children rely on without holding a single hearing and wrapping it up with
the repeal of the Affordable Care Act,” says Lisa Pugh, Executive Director of The Arc
Wisconsin. “That is why you saw so many people with disabilities and their family members
making daily calls and sending emails and letters to Washington on this issue. We wake up
this morning knowing that our stories did matter.”

Wisconsin currently receives a 60% funding match from the federal government for all its
Medicaid programming which includes Family Care, IRIS and the Children’s Long-Term
Supports waivers that allow individuals and families with disabilities to get supports in the
community that help them to be healthy, allow them to live in their own homes and keep them out of institutions. Various versions of the House and Senate bills were predicted to reduce Medicaid funding to states by billions. Wisconsin would have faced particularly steep future funding reductions as compared to other states since the state operates Medicaid programs more efficiently and proposals would have capped funding at current levels.

“We know threats to Medicaid still exist, despite this vote. Members of The Arc Wisconsin
stand ready to provide ideas on how to improve Medicaid programs and make them work
better, be more cost-effective and improve quality, “says Pugh. “Any future efforts to change
these important programs must include real discussion with and input from people with
disabilities and their families.”

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