Thursday, September 21, 2017

Action Alert! Call Congressional Representatives from New York to Oppose the Graham-Cassidy Bill

Action Alert in bold white text on dark red background

Act today to stop the Republicans in the Senate from repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and making devastating cuts to Medicaid!

The Graham-Cassidy proposal is the latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and gut the Medicaid program. It will have a devastating impact on Medicaid, especially in New York State, which will suffer billions of dollars in Medicaid funding cuts if this bill passes.

It would cause virtually all of the same devastating impacts  as previous repeal bills already rejected by the Senate, and would disproportionately harm seniors and people with disabilities. This bill would:

- Allow insurers to charge individuals with pre-existing conditions more money for health coverage

- Cap and block grant Medicaid (the equivalent of Medicaid cuts)

- Cut funding for Medicaid expansion

- Cut funding for financial assistance that helps low-wage workers and moderate-income families buy private insurance

- Repeal the ACA individual and employer mandates

This bill is gaining momentum in the Senate, and it must be stopped! While our New York Senators are thankfully opposed to this harmful bill, it is important that we push for Republican Representatives in the House to come out in opposition!

ACTION:

Call the following Congressional Representatives and urge them to come out publically in opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill.

Lee Zeldin, First District  #202-2253826
Peter King, Second district #202-225-7896
Daniel Donovan,11th district #202-225-3371
John Faso, 19th District #202-225-5614
*** Elise Stefanik  21st district #202-225-4611 ***
Claudia Tenney  22nd district #202-225-3665
Tom Reed, 23rd  District #202-225-3161
John Katko, 24th District #202-225-3701
Chris Collins, 27th District #202-225-5265

Urge them to:

- Oppose the Graham-Cassidy proposal and any other bill that cuts, caps, or block grants Medicaid.

- Support bi-partisan efforts to stabilize the healthcare marketplace and improve healthcare for all.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/UC5slzTqmoDnaJfoCEoa5g

Additional Resources:

Kaiser Family Foundation
http://www.kff.org/medicaid/fact-sheet/5-ways-the-graham-cassidy-proposal-puts-medicaid-coverage-at-risk/

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
https://www.cbpp.org/research/health/like-other-aca-repeal-bills-cassidy-graham-plan-would-add-millions-to-uninsured

Manatt Health
https://www.manatt.com/Insights/White-Papers/2017/Impacts-of-New-Graham-Cassidy-Repeal-and-Replace-P

This is an Action Alert from the New York Association on Independent Living.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Paratransit Vote Coming!

The Clinton County, NY Legislature is due to vote at their September 27, 2017 meeting on a plan to reduce transit costs by eliminating Paratransit services in the greater Plattsburgh area, and replacing it with route deviation. Click here to read the full plan. The plan includes this map showing the areas where Paratransit would be replaced by Route Deviation.

Paratransit is an accessible bus service intended to serve people with disabilities who can't navigate the regular bus routes and schedules, even when those buses are physically accessible. It is an individual pickup service, currently available by appointment throughout the county, during regular bus hours.

Route Deviation is when a bus diverts from its regular public route to pick up a specific passenger, such as a person with a disability. It provides a more limited door to door service within a narrower area, and is dependent on the regular bus schedules.

This issue has been discussed in several public meetings over the last several months. It has also been covered in local newspapers. To learn more, you can read the articles linked below, listed in chronological order:

County weighing elimination of paratransit service
Pete Demola, Sun Community News - June 1, 2017

Proposed Clinton County bus schedule change brings rider angst
Joe LoTemplio, Press-Republican - June 1, 2017

Para-transit riders: Don't take away our independence
Joe LoTemplio, Press-Republican - June 5, 2017

Change in para-transit system moves to planning stage
Dan Heath, Press-Republican - June 12, 2017

Transit officials to craft paratransit replacement plan
Elizabeth Izzo, Sun Community News - June 13, 2017

County moving toward para-transit change
Joe LoTemplio, Press-Republican - September 11, 2017

County paratransit plan slated for final vote
Elizabeth Izzo, Sun Community News - September 12, 2017

Clinton County hears about para-transit again
Joe LoTemplio, Press-Republican - September 13, 2017

If you care about this issue, please contact your Clinton County Legislator before September 27. They especially need to know if this plan would adversely affect your mobility and access to healthcare, employment, and everyday commerce within the county.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Action Alert: Call Now to Oppose Graham-Cassidy Repeal Proposal!

Action Alert in bold white capital letters on a dark red background
Take action today and over the next few days to stop the Graham-Cassidy repeal proposal from gaining any more traction in the Senate!

This effort will derail any bi-partisan action on cost sharing reductions and could lead to the decimation of Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Republicans have only two weeks before their ability to pass an ACA repeal with 51 votes expires on September 30. Reports are they are getting close to the needed number of votes- even though the public is more opposed to ACA repeal than ever. This vote has moved up on the list of Republican priorities and must move up on ours!

We need everyone to call offices asking Members to reject Graham-Cassidy and remind them that it still does all the bad things that the other repeal bills did:

• Ends Medicaid As We Know It

• Punishes people with Pre-Existing Conditions

• Eliminates subsidies that help moderate income people afford coverage forcing millions into the ranks of the uninsured.

ACTION: Call this number which will connect you to a random key Senator: 866-426-2631

Talking Points

Graham-Cassidy is a last-ditch effort to repeal the ACA. It would cause virtually all of the same devastating impacts  as previous repeal bills already rejected by the Senate, such as:

• cutting health coverage and raising premiums and out-of-pocket costs for millions

• slashing Medicaid, converting the traditional Medicaid program to a per capita cap, and ending the expansion

• allowing states to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions

The country has moved on from repeal. They want and expect Republicans and Democrats to work together to stabilize the health insurance marketplaces, protect children's health, and take steps to help people afford the coverage they need.

These bipartisan efforts are where Congress should be placing its focus, not on last-ditch attempts to resurrect ACA repeal measures the Senate has already rejected.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Radio Reading Service Closes September 30, 2017

The North Country Center for Independence has administered the Radio Reading Service for nearly two decades, and we are so grateful for the amazing volunteers that have made this program so strong and vital for so many years. Times are changing though and technology has changed the way blind and visually impaired people access print material. There are so many options out there that didn’t exist when the program first started. NCCI’s funding priorities are also changing, and as a result of these changes, we have decided to close down the Radio Reading Service effective September 30th, 2017.
 
This was a difficult decision for us, it was not made lightly. Two of NCCI’s board members are long time volunteers of the program, and three NCCI staff are blind or visually impaired, so we’ve always been big supporters of the Service. NCCI staff will provide assistance to any member of the community that needs help accessing local content that was previously available through the Radio Reading Service. We want to thank the listeners, our volunteers, and various funders, including the United Way, for the decades of support for this program.
 
Please contact us at 518-563-9058 for assistance of any kind. The Radio Reading Service will continue to run through September 30th, 2017.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

September is Fall Accessibility Month!

Fall Accessibility Month sign, with illustration of a person in a wheelchair at the bottom of a flight of stairs, and an orange colored maple leaf

​Accessibility is a little like the weather. Everyone complains about it, at least in the disability community, but even we rarely do anything about it.

Do you see places around the North Country that aren't as accessible as they should be for people with disabilities? Would you like to do something useful to address the problem?

If you have a smartphone and / or access to a computer with an internet connection, we invite you to join our special effort this month to document the accessibility features of businesses in North Country ... starting with restaurants in the Plattsburgh area.

The first step is to download the AbleRoad app, or visit the AbleRoad website, and set up a free account. This will enable you to look up any business in the area and enter a star rating of its accessibility in regard to parking, approach and entry, counters and tables, restrooms, etc. These ratings will then be viewable by people with disabilities who want to know which businesses are accessible, which are not, and which have some accessible features but also some barriers.

For another overview of AbleRoad, watch this video:



Once you register with AbleRoad, call, email, or visit NCCI and we will give you a list of 5 restaurants to visit If you are ready to help, we will give you a list of 5 restaurants to visit. After you rate each place's accessibility using AbleRoad, let us know you are finished, so we can keep track of our progress. We can also give you another list of 5 restaurants if you want to keep going. And of course, you can also give accessibility ratings of any businesses you vist in your everyday. Each business rated in AbleRoad gives us a clearer picture of what's accessible and what isn't in the North Country.

To get started:

Call us at 518-563-9058
Or visit NCCI at 80 Sharron Avenue in Plattsburgh

Join us, and let's see how much we can get done in September!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Paratransit Hearings on September 13th, 2017

ACTION ALERT in bold white letters on a dark red background

The Clinton County Planning Department sent out the following press release, announcing two hearings on September 13, 2017, about their plan to eliminate paratransit and replace it with route deviation ...

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P R E S S   R E L E A S E
Clinton County Public Transit
8/25/2017

The Clinton County Legislature will be conducting two Public Hearings on Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 in the Clinton County Legislative Chambers at 137 Margaret Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901; one Public Hearing will be at 11:00 am and the other public hearing will be at 7:00 pm. Both Public Hearings are for the purpose of considering the replacement of Clinton County Public Transit (CCPT) paratransit service with deviation of the regular CCPT routes. 

A draft plan for the deviation service design can be viewed online at www.clintoncountypublictransit.com or a hardcopy can be requested by contacting the Clinton County Planning Department at 518-565-4713.

Clinton County does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services.  In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, special accommodations, within reason and upon request at least forty-eight hours in advance of the meeting, will be provided to persons with disabilities.  Please contact James Bosley, Planning Technician, at 518-565-4713 or by email at James.Bosley@clintoncountygov.com to request a special accommodation for either hearing.

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This is a map showing the areas affected by the proposed change:
We strongly urge people with disabilities who use paratrnaist services to attend one of these public meetings and describe how the proposed changes would affect you. You can also contact us here at NCCI and tell us how the proposed change would affect you and your access to reliable, accessible public transportation. You can call us at 518-563-9058.