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Jun 19, 12:21 PM EDT

Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin fears funding cuts for disabled

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JERUSALEM (AP) -- Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin says she is "extremely concerned" about funds being cut from services for the disabled.

Matlin, who was the first deaf person to receive an Academy Award, spoke Monday in Tel Aviv. Matlin is in Israel to receive the prestigious Morton E. Ruderman Award for her lifelong activism for people with disabilities.

She said it would be a "disaster" if health care is cut back in the U.S.

Congressional Republicans are targeting the Medicaid health program, which helps the poor and disabled, and funds nursing home care for millions of older people who could not otherwise afford it.

Matlin said "people with disabilities need to be more outspoken."

Matlin won the Oscar for best actress for 1986's "Children of a Lesser God."

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