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Disability Community Responds to Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 Passing

On Wednesday, after multiple votes and versions of the GOP’s tax reform bill, the House passed the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, sending it to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

The tax bill contains multiple provisions that will hurt the disability community and those living with health conditions. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill will cut Medicare by $25 billion in 2018. The bill also removes the individual mandate required by Obamacare, which forces those without insurance to pay a “penalty.” These penalties have led more people, including healthy people, to sign up for health care. Without the mandate — which ends as of 2019 — analysts are concerned that healthy people will leave the marketplace and, by forgoing penalty, will leave Obamacare without adequate funding, further increasing premiums and deductibles.

“By reducing revenue by at least $1.5 trillion, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act increases the pressure to cut Medicaid and other programs that are critical to the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc, said in a statement. “Each vote in favor of this bill was a vote against constituents with disabilities and sets the wheels in motion to quite possibly go back in time to an era when people with disabilities had little opportunity to live a life of their choosing, in the community.”

Congress also failed to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a plan which covers nine million children whose parents do not receive insurance through their employer but make too much to qualify for Medicaid.

“The President and Congressional leaders have said they would protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security when they were campaigning for office. We will hold them accountable for those statements,” Kim Musheno, chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, said in a statement. “The public will soon have time to fully understand the impact of this legislation that has been rushed through Congress and whether its many promised benefits ever materialize.”

Since voting began and as news of the bill’s passage spread, people with disabilities, those in the medical community and others affected by the bill took to social media to share their thoughts.

Here’s what they had to say. 

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