CCD Statement in Response to the Release of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's FY2015 Budget Proposal

Ryan Budget Dangerous for People with Disabilities: CCD urges Congress to Reject the Ryan Budget

April 2, 2014

Contact: Donna Meltzer, 202-506-5813 or dmeltzer@nacdd.org
               Kim Musheno, 301-588-8252 or kmusheno@aucd.org
      Jennifer Dexter, 202-347-3066 or jdexter@easterseals.com
Julio Abreu, 571-236-2802 or jabreu@mentalhealthamerica.net
                        Annie Acosta, 202-783-2229 acosta@thearc.org

Washington, DC April 1, 2014 - The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a national coalition of 113 organizations representing the needs of people with disabilities, believes that the budget resolution proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is dangerous for people with disabilities as it calls for deep cuts to Medicaid, deep spending cuts for non-defense discretionary programs that support the health and well being of people with disabilities, and would lead to tens of millions of Americans losing their health insurance or becoming underinsured.

"The programs that would be cut by Chairman Ryan's budget make up the safety net for people with disabilities," said Katy Neas, CCD Chair. "CCD urges Congress to reject the Ryan budget and work across the political aisle on solutions that will strengthen our national economy."

The Budget introduced yesterday would block grant Medicaid and cut Medicaid spending by $810 billion over the next 10 years. A cut this deep would leave many without health care, cost-effective screenings and treatment. With half of Medicaid's recipients being children, many of whom have disabilities, this means that millions of children will be denied preventative care and treatment. Medicaid is also a critical lifeline for adults with disabilities - financing long-term supports and services.  Cuts of this magnitude in Medicaid will prevent people with the most severe disabilities from living in the community and avoiding costly institutionalization. This change as well as the structural changes to Medicare will result in shifting costs to states and to individual consumers. This will put a huge burden on already strained state budgets and will lead to further cuts to human service programs.

Slashing of non-defense discretionary spending -- which funds everything from veteran's services to medical and scientific research, highways, education, housing, transportation and more -- will deeply affect people with disabilities. In order to achieve this spending level, almost all federal spending except for defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP, and interest on the debt, will be eliminated.

Chairman Ryan says that these cuts to programs are necessary due to the nation's severe fiscal situation. However, these cuts, and in some cases even wholesale elimination of programs, would surely be worse. Under Chairman Ryan's budget many more people with and without disabilities will be in dire straits losing access to both physical and mental health care that is urgently needed, veterans would not benefit from critical employment services, people with disabilities and elders will lose access to community-based services and supports enabling them to stay out of costly institutions, and children will not have access to supports and services in the education arena. This is not the America that CCD envisions for anyone. We therefore respectfully urge Congress to reject this budget.

Further, Chairman Ryan's budget is out of touch with public opinion.  The majority of Americans reject a "cuts only" approach to deficit reduction and support a balanced approach that includes increased revenues from those who can most afford them.  Instead, Chairman Ryan is seeking to balance the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it - people with disabilities and other low income Americans.

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities is a broad coalition of national organizations working together to advocate for national public policy that ensures the education, self-determination, independence, empowerment, integration and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society     

###