An Update on the Senate Health Care Bill

As many of you realize, the Senate version of the Health Care bill was released yesterday, June 22.  Unfortunately, this bill also severely cuts Medicaid and health care coverage provisions as in the House bill. The bill includes deep Medicaid cuts and focuses on reducing premiums (Ted Cruz says they are NOT low enough in the Senate bill) but neglects long-term impact on out of pocket and premiums for those who have existing health conditions like people with disabilities.

More than 10 million people with disabilities rely on Medicaid to live in their community, receiving basic services. Continue reading

The Arc of MA Releases a House Ways and Means Budget Analysis

Massachusetts State House

The Arc of Massachusetts (The Arc) celebrates the release of the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Budget announced by Chair Brian Dempsey.  Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director of The Arc, stated “Chair Dempsey and the House Ways/Means Committee members not only recognized the rising number of students requiring public support as adults, but ensure that all young adults who need DDS funding will receive it   –it’s a landmark decision.” Continue reading

Making Dental Care Available in Massachusetts

On February 15, Laura Krantz’s story in The Boston Globe reported the “high-stakes battle over better access and higher quality oral care for the poor.” In that article, our own Maura Sullivan talked about driving three towns away to find a dentist who would work with her children. In fact, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) provides funding to Tufts Dental Clinic to ensure that dentists are available. Thousands of people must use Tufts clinics due to the lack of available dentists. Add to that the barriers faced by people with low income who use MassHealth for dental care and you multiply the problem by tens of thousands more (perhaps hundreds of thousands). A cost-effective solution is now in sight after decades of facing the problem, but the Massachusetts Dental Society is advocating against it. Please stay tuned, as we advocate for passage of this bill. Read Globe Article Read CBS Boston Article

Landmark Decision Made

Marylou SuddersThe decision by Governor Charlie Baker and Secretary Marylou Sudders to right-size the Department of Developmental Services’ Turning 22 budget is a major policy change. The Arc has been advocating for it since the 2009 recession.  The Turning 22 program funds people who have an intellectual or other disability and require adult services.  Without this funding, persons and families often face tough choices: a parent may have to leave his/her job, a young adult may be stuck at home in a potentially unsafe and isolating situation, and other undesirable outcomes. The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget, which was released yesterday, fully funds this line item with $24 million, while addressing ongoing needs for this year’s graduates. Continue reading