While the latest GOP attempt at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act failed, healthcare access is still at risk. President Trump has taken several steps to make the healthcare market more unstable, including threatening to withhold payment to insurers, releasing anti-ACA videos, decreasing the window for enrollment, and considering not enforcing the clause requiring everyone to purchase insurance. The House and Senate appear to have moved on from healthcare….for now. This doesn’t mean they won’t revisit changes in the future.

Waivers are the means through which Autistic people and people with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities receive services that allow people to live in the community. Latest released information on consolidated waivers is available here.

Possible PA medicaid changes, with work requirement! PCAA opposes work requirements for Medicaid. See coverage in the Post-Gazette here.

Paul’s Law [SB108], introduced by Senator John Sabatina and a long list of bipartisan co-sponsors, would ensure that people with disabilities are not discriminated against for organ transplants. The bill is named for Paul Corby, an autistic man from Schuylkill County, who has left ventricular noncompaction, which means his heart is less able to pump blood. Paul was initially not considered a candidate for a heart transplant because he is autistic. Like Paul, many people with disabilities are often denied life-saving organ transplants merely because of their disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits this discrimination, but little has been done to enforce the federal law. 

During the 2015-2016 session, Paul’s Law passed the PA House unanimously, but did not come up for vote in the Senate because of timing. Senator Sabatina reintroduced the bill, which has now passed the Senate and is sitting in the House judiciary committee. 
2015-2016 Resources

Civil Rights

Pennsylvania will shut down Norristown State Hospital and Hamburg State Center over the next 18-24 months, in a process which will include individualized plans to help residents adjust to living in the community.

Pennsylvania’s new guidelines will gradually move individuals currently working in sheltered workshops to spending 75% of their time in integrated settings over the next 3 years. Read Cori Frazer’s commentary here.

DHS’s most recent changes to proposals re: sheltered workshops

A group of 22 representatives introduced a bill “establishing a bill of rights for individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism” into the PA House. Representative Thomas Murt is the primary sponsor of the bill. The bill affirms the right of individuals to receive services in the community, recognizes the competencies, right to independence, and decision-making capability of individuals, and calls for DHS to develop a five-year plan to eliminate waiting lists for waiver services. The bill is currently in the PA House Human Services Committee. Gene DiGirolamo of Bucks County is the chair of the committee. Contact his offices at: 215-750-1017 (Bensalem office) or 717-783-7319 (Harrisburg) to encourage him to move the bill through committee. One Page Information Sheet on HB 414.

The Disability Integration Act has been introduced in both the US House and Senate. Senator Bob Casey is already a co-sponsor, as are Representatives Robert Brady [PA-1] and Dwight Evans [PA-2].  Key targets for co-sponsorship are Representatives: Brendan Boyle [PA-13], Mike Doyle [PA-14], and Matthew Cartwright [PA-17]. Contact your representative and ask them to co-sponsor this legislation. For more information, click here. 

Get Involved

Your involvement in the legislative process makes the difference whether the voices of our community are heard. Find your legislator here.

Is there a policy or law we should comment on? Email jess@autisticpgh.org.