From the Desk of the Executive Director

As a proud member of the Arc “family”, this update is to thank the many friends of the disability community for the amazing efforts put forth leading to the July 28, 2017 defeat of the Senate Health Care Bill which, for now, halts the proposed disastrous Medicaid and insurance cuts which would have ultimately affected insurance coverage for as many as 16 million people nationwide.  Our AZ Senator John McCain listened to the people of Arizona as did Republican Senators Murkowski and Collins and for that, we are grateful.

That said, I’d like to include excerpts from the Arc of Arizona’s Newsletter from Friday July 28th, 2017:

“Make no mistake – we still have work to do. This year, Congress and the Administration have put on the table over a trillion dollars in cuts to the program, and so the threats remain, whether they resurface in another health care bill, a tax bill, or at any time. Just a few months ago, the House passed legislation that included over $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid, and to take health insurance away from 22 million people. Each vote in favor of these cuts devalued the lives and rights of people with disabilities in our nation.  Home and community based services were at greatest risk. This harmful bill was crafted behind closed doors, in a disgraceful process that showed a callous disregard for the lives at stake.

This recent (and hopefully not temporary) defeat of the Health Care Bill enables us to return to our efforts of providing excellent service to the members we support and our communities assuring that we do so in an efficient manner and with our Mission and principles of self-determination to guide us.

Among our primary efforts is the effect of the passing of Proposition 206.  This initiative will progressively raise AZ minimum wages to $12.00 per hour by 2020.  While I wholeheartedly agree that this issue represents an opportunity for Arizonans to earn a living wage, it also presents a challenge to every provider of services to people with Intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Arizona.  Chandler Gilbert Arc ( and other support organizations) funding is fixed and our primary funding source, the Arizona State DES/DDD agency, has only provided only a fifth of what is needed to even minimally address this massive expense change.  Already the impact of Prop 206 is only partially implemented (app. 35%) and has already resulted in the closure of agencies, reductions/eliminations of services, and the livelihood and life supports of individuals being seriously threatened.  Chandler Gilbert Arc has responded through a major shift in our strategic planning processes as DES/DDD, is no longer reliable.  These include diversification, volunteer development, and seeking non-governmental support combined with a close evaluation of our internal processes, benefits, and offerings to both staff and members we serve.

Our call to action/Your call to action

The same support that was gained through your efforts in defeating the Senate Health Care Bill is critical in assuring the continued viability of CGArc and other organizations serving Arizonans with I/DD.

I have joined with other Executives throughout the Arizona state provider community to represent CGArc to the Governor and other political representatives in advocating for critical budget changes to support I/DD program funding, and feel strongly that without our/your ongoing efforts, individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, will be without the support programs they so desperately need.

Please join me in this campaign by making this critical issue a part of your Call for Action

By contacting your Arizona State Representatives (http://www.azleg.gov/memberroster) , and in your conversations, letters, phone calls, e-mails, social media posts, attendance at events, and other advocacy efforts and by continuing to support Chandler Gilbert Arc.

 

Sincerely,

Billy Parker

Executive Director – Chandler Gilbert Arc