By Grant Heffelfinger, Youth Leadership Coordinator
| Friday, 3/10/2017 - 11:17 AM
Yesterday, I discussed how young people can learn about and voice their concerns and support for current events that impact their lives or which they otherwise care about.
As I prepare to get youth involved in legislative meetings at Wisconsin’s State Capitol next week, I think to myself, “how do current events affect and matter to young people with disabilities?” One of the current events that come to mind is the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Here are a few questions one might have and how I would respond to those questions.
What do we know? There are U.S. Representatives, Senators and other government leaders that are trying to repeal, and/or dismantle, the ACA. We also know that the ACA provides healthcare to individuals who have low incomes, disabilities or other chronic health conditions, or who are older adults, who may need an uncapped health care plan. We also know that recently the government leaders trying to reverse the ACA have come out with their own replacement to the ACA. Disability groups and organizations have concerns with the proposed replacement, including the services being cut for people with disabilities and older adults. A colleague at IndependenceFirst shared a great resource by a disability group called the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities that outlines some of the concerns being expressed with regards to the ACA replacement, the American Health Care Act.
Why would a young person with a disability want to be active in this political conversation? Youth with disabilities are already participating in healthcare if they go to the doctor or receive any form of medical care, mental health support/services or personal care services (i.e. long-term care, home- and community-based services, etc.). These are all services that our government is talking about cutting. The ACA provides youth with the opportunity to stay on their parent’s health insurance plan until they are 26 years old. This allows young people to focus on other priorities, such as post-secondary education (ex. college) or accomplishing other goals after high school without the financial stress of health insurance.
How can youth with disabilities be involved if they are not old enough to vote? Yesterday my blog post spoke on this topic. View that blog to find out the details to being involved, regardless of what age a person may be. The important thing to remember is to focus and be specific to how it impacts you, as a person with a disability.
For more information on the ACA Repeal or on how to be a disability advocate, check out Peer Power or an IndependenceFirst Advocacy Team.
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