Ohio Down Syndrome Awareness License Plate

We are pleased to announce that Ohio Down Syndrome Awareness license plates are available for purchase through any Ohio BMV beginning on April 6, 2017! For every license plate sold, $25 goes back to support advocacy and awareness efforts of the six Down syndrome associations in Ohio.

We are very thankful for the support of State Senator Joe Uecker, who introduced Senate Bill 359 and lead to the eventual passage of House Bill 455. House Bill 455 was signed into law by Governor Kasich on January 4, 2017.  


Federal Advocacy Initiatives

On June 22, 2017 the U.S. Senate unveiled the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which propose deep cuts to Medicaid and would allow states to deregulate insurance markets. Additionally,  since Medicaid is already one of the lowest-cost providers of healthcare, a state could either cut benefits, which would affect the quality of coverage, or reduce who is eligible for the program, which could hurt people with disabilities. In addition to health-related services, individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities receive Medicaid-funded support through in-school therapies, job coaching and development, transportation, and personal care services. These supports– and much more– would be at risk if this legislation passes.

What can you do to stop this? Please take a few minutes to write, call, or message Senator Rob Portman to share your story and ask him to vote against the BCRA!

Sample message:

“I am (your name) and I live in (your home town), Ohio.  I am calling about the Better Care Reconciliation Act, and to thank Senator Portman for his courage, leadership and holding firm on what’s best for Ohioans.   I am hopeful that Senator Portman will keep saying “No” to any reforms that would harm Medicaid coverage for people with developmental disabilities.  (It is more helpful if you can add a personal story about how the loss or reduction of Medicaid would be bad for you, your family members and/or the people you serve.)  Thanks again, to Senator Portman for doing the right thing for Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens.”

State Advocacy Initiatives

The Ohio General Assembly passed a budget that freezes Group VIII enrollment (AKA Medicaid expansion enrollment), starting July 1, 2018. In addition to ending new enrollment, it also precludes existing enrollees who temporarily cycle off of Medicaid from coming back on. This means once individuals cycle off for any reason (including seasonal work, paperwork, process, working more hours, briefly gaining other coverage etc.), they can no longer re-enroll under expansion even if eligible by today’s standards. Looking at experiences in other states, we believe this will lead to over half of the current enrollees losing coverage in just the first year of implementation, and 72% of existing enrollees within 18 months – approximately 500,000 Ohioans!

We have asked Governor Kasich to veto this provision, striking it from the state budget. But unfortunately, even if he does use his line-item veto authority, we are already hearing from the legislature there is more to come on this issue. House and Senate leadership are contemplating a vote to override a potential veto from the Governor on the Medicaid expansion freeze as soon as Thursday, July 6 at 9:00 a.m.

Please join us and raise your voice for the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who currently rely on extended Medicaid coverage so that they can continue to take care of their basic health needs, chronic physical and mental health diagnoses and/or stay on a path to recovery from drug and alcohol addictions.

Not sure who your local Representative is or what district you’re in? Click here for a listing by county.

Your local legislators want to hear your story to better understand why Medicaid funding is critical to you and other families in our community!

Have specific questions regarding advocacy? Please find and contact your local Down Syndrome Association for support. Not sure who your local Down Syndrome Association is? Check out our "Get Connected" tab to find an association in your region!