Winthrop, Maine 1-800-273-5200

Funding for Services at the State and Federal Levels

ACTION ALERT 1 - Funding for services at the state level (email/phone campaign)
LD 323, which would provide funding to eliminate the waitlist for Section 21 adult developmental services in Maine for persons with intellectual disabilities or autism, was voted Ought to Pass unanimously by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee (13-0), and the full House has followed suit (137-0).  The Senate has also passed LD 323.  However, because the bill has a fiscal note of approximately $33 million a year in state funds, it is now sitting on the Special Appropriations Table pending enactment.  In order for the bill to be enacted, the Appropriations and Financial Affairs (AFA) Committee must vote to fund it.
LD 967, as amended, which would increase the rates for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) to the 2007 rates plus a 10% increase, passed a vote in the House, passed in the Senate, and went back to the House, where a 2/3rd majority vote was required to enact it under emergency status; it passed unanimously and moved to the Senate, where it was placed on the Special Appropriations Table pending enactment.  Just as with LD 323, in order for this bill to be enacted, the AFA Committee must vote to fund it.
Now is the time to contact members of the Legislature, and/or members of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs (AFA) Committee directly to educate them about your story, including how the waitlists have affected you or your family, or someone for whom you provide care or support, and express your support for these bills.  
Contacting members of the AFA Committee is easy - click the link below and you will be right on the Committee's website.  Committee members are listed on the left side of the screen.  When you click on a name, that Legislator's contact information will be displayed.  There are also links to contact information for the House and Senate below, which bring you to each chamber's member directory.  You can call or send a quick email.  It doesn't have to be long and your message can be simple:
"Please vote to fund LD 323.  This bill would cure the Section 21 waitlist.  Doing so would provide essential services to 1550 people waiting for them, so they can work and be included as part of the community.  Additionally, please vote to fund LD 967.  This will increase the rates for Direct Support Professionals, so that they can provide critical services.  Please support the portion of the Governor's budget that raises the caps on Section 29 services so working families can continue their careers.  Thank you for your consideration."
Thank you for taking action!
UPDATED CONTINUED ACTION ALERT 2:  Funding for services at the federal level (letter writing/email campaign)
On May 4th, by a vote of 217-213 along party lines, the House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The Senate is now working on its version. 
As discussed at the 3/13 meeting of the Coalition (click here for the March minutes), the proposed healthcare bill includes reforms to Medicaid (MaineCare) that will very likely affect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Maine, including converting Medicaid funding to a per capita cap arrangement, with an additional option for states to administer Medicaid under a block grant arrangement.  Other proposed changes include cuts to Special Education, changes for people with pre-existing conditions, and additional language regarding high-risk pools.  These cuts are dramatic, estimated to be $839 billion over the next ten years, and clearly cuts of those magnitude will markedly reduce funds for services under Section 21, Section 29, and other sections of MaineCare.
Under the current MaineCare program, people with disabilities are eligible for and receive an array of services.  Under a per capita cap or block granting of MaineCare, Maine will get far less federal funding and there will be fewer protections for people with disabilities.
Now is the time to contact Senator Collins and Senator King and ask them to:
  • Please vote against the American Health Care Act (AHCA); and
  • Please oppose any restructuring of Medicaid, such as block grants, per capita caps, or anything similar, because they would restrict MaineCare's ability to give people the care they need.  Our growing waitlists demonstrate that we have insufficient resources already.
Below are links to draft letters to Senator Collins and Senator King.  The letters include space for people to tell their stories, and explain how imperative MaineCare services are to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Maine.  Sending a letter to the Senators is easy - simply add in your information to replace red and italicized sections of the draft letters (click here for the draft letter to Senator Collinsclick here for the draft letter to Senator King), and email them to:
Additionally, our action alert and a meeting with some concerned parents in early May helped educate Senator King about the need to protect MaineCare.  He did exactly that on May 17th; Senator King took to the floor of the Senate to share the stories of two Maine people with disabilities who would be affected should the American Health Care Act (AHCA) pass.  If you haven't already, please take a few moments to watch Senator King's compelling speech here.  If you reached out to him - thank you!  If you have not yet done so, please thank him for his tremendous leadership on this issue. 
By telling your story and the importance of MaineCare for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Maine, you can help our members of Congress understand why funding for services are vital.  Thank you for your collective advocacy!

A Forwarded Action Alert

By Cullen Ryan, Executive Director Community Housing of Maine (6/15/17)