Upholding the ADA: Living in the Community

Everyone on the CES Waiver, all of you who enjoy having your loved one living near to you instead of in an institution, & providers who support waiver services:

The ability to live freely in the community has been questioned, according to this article, by a top official with the US Department of Health and Human Services, enough to alarm a group of Congressmen. They formed a bipartisan group and took action.


“The lawmakers said they were told that Lazare said she believed the Supreme Court came to the wrong conclusion in the landmark Olmstead v. L.C. case, which affirmed the right of people with disabilities to access community-based living, and that she prefers segregated and institutional settings. In addition, Lazare reportedly said she believed that a federal Medicaid rule outlining what types of settings qualify as community-based should be revisited, according to a letter from Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Gregg Harper, R-Miss., and Jim Langevin, D-R.I.”

Even when things are quiet in the news, someone in power is thinking these things. Maybe they want to save money, or possibly they think less of people with disabilities. Some in power think they have the means to change these protections. We need to always be communicating to our legislators why we want to live in the community or why we want our loved ones out in the community instead of institutions. We need to know our rights and assert them!

Laws that protect people with disabilities

The ADA National Network

Take a moment to make our Congressmen understand how much living in the community means to us. They are the ones who would have to fight a battle that threatens the ADA.

Contact our Arkansas Congressmen!!

Contact any US elected official!

2018 Election Info

It’s election season! In fact, early voting for primaries has begun. That means it’s time for you to do some homework and make decisions about which issues are most important to you. Sometimes your values on different issues may clash, which is why it’s important to rank one of them as most important to you.

Medicaid is a hot topic. We’ve seen a lot of change, and depending on the officials we elect, we may see even more. That’s why it’s important to be informed about election deadlines, requirements, and the candidates.


Your first question might be:

Who’s running?

Click here to find out.


Next you’re probably asking:

What are the deadlines?

Elections for the office of Arkansas House of Representatives will take place soon!

  • candidate filing deadline – March 1, 2018.
  • primary election – May 22, 2018.
  • primary runoff election – June 19, 2018.
  • general election – November 6, 2018.

All 100 House seats are up for election in 2018. Arkansas state representatives serve two-year terms, with all seats up for election every two years.

Elections for the office of Arkansas State Senate are also happening soon.

  • candidate filing deadline – March 1, 2018,
  • primary election – May 22, 2018.
  • primary runoff election – June 19, 2018.
  • general election – November 6, 2018.

A total of 18 seats out of the chamber’s 35 seats are up for election in 2018.Arkansas state senators serve one two-year term and two four-year terms each decade.

Arkansas will also hold elections for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Auditor, and Treasurer on November 6, 2018. The candidate filing deadline was March 1, 2018.

The 2018 U.S. House of Representatives will hold elections

  • candidate filing deadline – March 1, 2018,
  • primary election – May 22, 2018.
  • general election – November 6, 2018.

Arkansans elect representatives to the U.S. House, one from each of the state’s four congressional districts.


How can I be informed about the candidates?

As candidates are campaigning, make sure you take every opportunity to inform yourself. Know what questions to ask!


Have I met the requirements to vote?

Voter Registration

To register to vote in Arkansas you should provide one of the following:

  • The Last Four Digits of your Social Security Number
  • Your Arkansas Driver’s License Number

If you do not have any of these IDs, you can provide a copy of one of the following with your registration application:

  • Current and Valid Photo ID
  • Government Issued Document that shows your current name and address
  • Utility Bill
  • Government Check
  • Bank Statement
  • Paycheck that Shows your current name and address

You can alternatively provide one of these documents when you vote to complete your registration.

Voting In-Person

In Arkansas, you need to show a valid ID to vote. You can use any ID from this list:

  • Paycheck that shows your Current Name and Address
  • Current and Valid Photo ID
  • Utility Bill
  • Bank Statement
  • Government Check
  • Government Issued Document that shows your Current Name and Address
  • Veteran Health ID Issued by US Department of Veterans Affairs

Where should I vote?

Find out.


Source 1

Source 2

Source 3

H.R. 620 – Should you take action?

The Disability community is calling far and wide for people to take action against H.R. 620, saying that it is a bill that “fundamentally weakens the protections of the American with Disabilities Act.” Here are some resources to help you determine if it affects you or someone you love, as well as resources to help you to take action!

Does this affect you or someone you love?

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Take action!

A link originally shared by Disability Rights Arkansas gives these tips:

“Please contact your House Representative(and others from your state) and encourage them to stay strong in their opposition to H.R.620 and any “notice and cure” bill, as a rollback of civil rights. SAVE THE ADA!

  • Go to Contacting Congress using your zip code to find out how to reach your House representative via e-mail, phone, Facebook, Twitter, fax, etc.
  • Call your Representative using the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. They will help you find your Representative’s name, and switch you to their office. If you know your Representative’s name, you can use the House of Representatives phone list.
Sample Script:

“Hello, my name is [your name]. I’m a constituent from [your state], zip code [your zip code]. I am opposed to H.R. 620 and any change to the equal access protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I strongly encourage Representative [add last name] to oppose any reform efforts. Thank you.”

Reasons To Oppose H.R.620:
  • H.R. 620 would weaken the civil rights of people with disabilities, making it harder for us to use the same restrooms, shop at the same department stores, and eat at the same restaurants as our non-disabled friends, family members, and peers.
  • Disability rights are civil rights. The ADA is a civil rights law. H.R. 620 would not only roll back important parts of the ADA, it would pose risks for other civil rights laws as well (such as Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars public accommodations such as hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues from discriminating based on race; Title III of the ADA was based on this law).
  • H.R. 620 would not solve the problems its supporters are claiming it would fix. It would not stop fraudulent lawsuits. State courts and state bar associations are already equipped to address those problems, in better ways, without denying anyone equal access, or their civil rights. They have been successfully shutting down those bad practices in many areas.” More info

How to make sure Congress is listening to you.

Tax Reform Bill: How to Contact AR Senators


Watch the video above to get all of the contact information to get contact information and tips.

Other helpful links:

https://www.npr.org/templates/event/embeddedVideo.php?storyId=567758536&mediaId=567762951

Are you thankful for Medicaid?

Author: Lainey Morrow, Medicaid Saves Lives’ Founder

It’s customary this time of year to count our blessings, and there’s one in particular that millions of Americans shouldn’t forget: Medicaid. 

If you’re a recipient (or know a recipient), think for a second what your life would be like without Medicaid.

My little girl qualifies for TEFRA because of her diagnosis, and she’s thriving because Medicaid gives her treatments like therapy and medicines that we simply can’t afford. Medicaid not only helps her day-to-day, but it’s also giving her a future where she may someday be able to live on her own and provide for herself. Because of Medicaid, she can climb stairs, say that she wants a drink, draw a line, feed herself with a spoon, and sit quietly with other students around a table. When I think of life without Medicaid, I see many who would be crushed under personal debt and suffering without hope.

If you’re thankful for Medicaid, please tell those who make our state and national policies, especially if you need to continue receiving it.

This is the perfect time of year to let our lawmakers know that we’re thankful for Medicaid. Why? Because it’s improving and even saving lives! I ask you to take a moment, and write your elected officials a note. Even better, include a photo. Tell them why Medicaid is important to you. If writing several is overwhelming, just start with one. 

You can also post on social media about why Medicaid is important to you using the hashtag #thankful4Medicaid to help others see why Medicaid is so important.

We need to tell everyone the great things that Medicaid does and who it helps. People need to hear this positive message. By sending notes, calling, and posting on social media, we are clearly communicating that we still need Medicaid, and we’re directly asking the people in charge to continue funding Medicaid for us.

Let’s flood our government with letters and calls this holiday season!

Arkansas Only

Contact any elected official in the US!

Understanding the House Tax Bill

Taxes affect our daily lives, and the House is working on a bill to “reform the tax code.” If taxes are drastically altered, it won’t just affect our personal taxes; Medicaid funding could be affected as well. For example, Senator Cotton called for the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate through tax reform. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of what’s happening.

A House committee released the bill, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” this afternoon, and it’s a very long read. 

This is just a first version. They will revise the bill and try to pass it through the House by Thanksgiving to send to the Senate in order for it to take affect by January 1, 2018. 

Take the time to try to understand it and respond if necessary. Here are a few articles to help you understand what’s going on:

Make sure you understand this for yourself, and contact your U.S. Senators with your questions, concerns, and comments!

    Senate pulls All-night Session to Vote on Skinny Repeal

    The Senate is set to vote on a newly written bill, referred to as the skinny repeal, barely released an hour ago. They will vote around midnight.

    Read the full text.

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    Even Senators dislike it, but they may still vote it through.
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    Watch live as they vote:
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    Track the votes.

    Senate Voted to Proceed: Now What?

    Earlier today, the Senate voted 51-50 to proceed with debate over the health care bill. With only 2 opposing Republican votes, just 1 shy of what was needed, plus a tie-breaking vote from VP Pence, the motion succeeded. We now move toward serious Medicaid cuts that can’t be reversed once set into motion, and it will take all of us standing together to prevent it.

    Watch how each Senator voted.

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    Data shows that any bill, amendment, or revision proposed so far will be detrimental to Medicaid recipients. We (MSL) oppose the per capita caps or block grants that have been proposed because they will shift great stress to state budgets and reduce the ability to give recipients the coverage they need. We oppose ending expansion because it will result in millions losing coverage. In addition, the aforementioned bills remove essential health benefits and pre-existing condition protections, which would be detrimental to all Americans, making coverage unaffordable if not unattainable for many.

    As part of the AACF statement on how this vote will affect Arkansas, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families said: “Today’s vote shows that we have more work to do. Despite an outcry from health care professionals, business owners, families, and even governors, many Senators have decided to move forward with legislation that will destabilize the entire health care system. Too much is at risk to continue down the current path. Children with special needs, elderly enrollees, and people with chronic conditions who rely on Medicaid will lose coverage. Health care for families that were able to purchase affordable coverage, many for the first time, is also at risk.

    The people have spoken—any proposal that falls short of guaranteeing everyone affordable, comprehensive coverage, is unacceptable. Now, it’s time for Congress to listen. We ask that Senator Cotton and Senator Boozman commit to voting no on any bill that endangers the health of tens of thousands of Arkansans. Anything less is breaking their promise to all of us.”

    Now that we understand the ramifications haven’t changed, here’s what will happen next:

    1. The Senate will debate for 20 hours. By rules, to be fair, Republicans and Democrats get equal time of 10 hours each.
    2. The Senate will probably vote a bunch of times on amendments and such.
    3. Then the Senate will vote on a finalized bill and send it to the House.
    4. The House will vote, and if it passes, they’ll send it to President Trump.

    See a flow chart.

    As you can see, if you oppose Medicaid cuts, you can’t give up. Not a single Democrat voted to proceed, and we only need a few Republicans to oppose to keep any bill from moving forward. We were only one opposing vote short. Take a breath, renew your determination, and communicate in any way you possibly can!

    Contact your Senator!

    Email your Senators’ legislative aids!

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    Stand strong!

    Take Action: Graphic to Share

    The news changes like the wind. Are they voting or aren’t they? Repeal and replace or repeal without replace? No matter what’s happening with them, we need to continue to make our needs and wants abundantly clear.

    Many are saying that they can’t get through to Senators via phone calls. Don’t stop calling because they are counting the calls. 866-426-2631

    However, social media is a great way to publicly contact your Senators, especially since they won’t post their direct email addresses.

    Share this graphic with them and tag them in your posts. Use hash tags like #BCRA or #ProtectOurCare to help others see your posts!

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    Medicaid Saves Lila

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    This is my sweet girl, Lila. She’s active and intelligent. She loves to swing, eat blackberries, and paint. Don’t you dare turn your back on her because she’s mischievous too! She loves her friends, family, and kitty-cats. She is absolutely the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done with my life, and she just so happens to have Down Syndrome.

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    She might smile a lot, but her life hasn’t been easy. Born almost a month early due to multiple complications, Lila spent some time in the NICU. She’s overcome multiple illnesses and surgeries, including open heart surgery soon after her first birthday and many others since. In fact, we have received 2 new diagnoses this year alone, and she’ll have at least one surgery.

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    My husband and I are proud Arkansans. We’re educated, hard-working, tax-paying citizens. At the time of Lila’s birth, we lived in another state. Despite the fact that we both had good jobs and primary insurance coverage, we struggled to provide for her needs. When we moved back to Arkansas, Lila was significantly delayed in many areas.

    IMG_6519 Our friends told us about TEFRA, a type of Medicaid funding that provides for disabled children and that requires the family to pay a premium. Our primary insurance pays first for all that it will cover, and Medicaid makes sure that Lila doesn’t go without the rest. We gladly pay a monthly fee for this essential assistance!

    Lila now receives medical treatments that she needs from specialists and Occupational, Physical, and Speech therapy. She attends a school where she is loved and accepted, and they practice important skills in the classroom to prepare her for mainstream Kindergarten. Lila is constantly learning the necessary skills to be independent: speaking new words, learning to feed herself, to dress herself, and to climb stairs. One of my favorite moments was the first time I ever heard her say, “Ma Ma.” Can you imagine waiting 4 years to hear that?

    IMG_2776We never expected to need Medicaid. Even though we’d paid taxes for years for Medicaid, we didn’t know that a person’s life can change drastically in a moment – a car accident, a stroke, a job loss, a cancer diagnosis, a chromosomal difference – to cause them to need Medicaid. We thought that if we worked hard enough, we could take care of ourselves and Lila. But no matter how hard we work or what we give up, we just can’t afford to provide for all of Lila’s needs. Now, because of Medicaid, Lila is thriving, and we’re not being crushed under the weight of Lila’s ever-growing medical debt. We have hope that she will continue to develop and someday be a valued, contributing member of society. We are incredibly thankful for Medicaid.

    We tell everyone we can how essential Medicaid is! Lila has visited the Capitol and state lawmakers multiple times to represent herself and friends like her. Since she can’t speak much yet, my husband and I tell them how much Medicaid is literally saving lives. I can’t wait for the day that Lila will tell them herself. She brings a beauty and light to this dark world, and we will never stop fighting for her!

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