ADAPT :: Disability Rights Activists Nationwide Confront Democrats On Institutional Bias..

As far as these Fingertips are concerned, continuing to force persons with disabilities (PWDs) into long term care (LTC) facilities (e.g. nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, etc), especially for basic “maintenance” health care is NO less than continued, conscious segregation of those same people..

Segregation: the act or practice of separatism..

:raises brow:


For Immediate release: July 21, 2009

For information contact:

  • Bruce Darling 585-370-6690
  • Marsha Katz 406-544-9504

Disability Rights Activists Nationwide Confront Democrats On Institutional Bias

Washington, D.C. — Demanding an end to the institutional bias in the nation’s health care policy, ADAPT, the nation’s largest cross-disability, grassroots disability rights organization, took their fight to the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in Washington, DC, with 24 simultaneous protests at Democratic offices across the country, and at Senator Max Baucus‘ office in Missoula, MT.

ADAPT is calling for Congress to eliminate the Medicaid institutional bias in 2009 – either in health care reform or as separate legislation, specifically the Community Choice Act (CCA). CCA (S. 683/H.R. 1670) allows people to choose to stay at home to receive long-term services and supports instead of being forced into nursing homes and institutions because that’s what the law will currently pay for.

The protesters are additionally demanding that the Democrats apologize for the loss of freedom suffered by countless Americans that resulted when a Democratically-controlled Congress created the institutional bias over 40 years ago; and that the DNC facilitate an immediate meeting between ADAPT and Senator Max Baucus, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee; Representative Henry Waxman, Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison, to develop a plan to pass the Community Choice Act and eliminate the institutional bias in 2009.

“For 44 years, Medicaid’s institutional bias has stolen the lives of Americans with disabilities and older Americans,” said Mike Oxford, ADAPT organizer from Topeka, KS. It has deprived them of their most basic freedoms. The Democrats were in power when that bias was legislated. Now it’s time for them to apologize, and most importantly, it’s time for them to take action and fix it.”

ADAPT‘s action nationwide comes in part as a response to a video released last week by the Democratic National Committee. The video tells Americans “It’s time” for health care reform, and urges them to call their Senators. Picking up on that theme, ADAPT released its own video this week telling the Democrats “It’s time” to eliminate the institutional bias and pass the Community Choice Act. (See also: www.adapt.org/takeaction.)

“The Democrats say they want health care reform to focus on covering more people and saving money,” said Cassie James, ADAPT organizer from Philadelphia, “yet they refuse to change the current law that mandates people receive long term care (LTC) in the most expensive setting rather than less expensively at home where they would rather be. In addition, the current law forces states to go through complicated procedures just to let a few people stay at home and get assistance there.”

Many states have no home and community-based services, or they may provide limited services with waiting lists that keep people stuck for years in institutions and nursing facilities before they have any chance of getting services. It is not uncommon for people to wait so long that they die before their name reaches the top of the waiting list.

In an unprecedented show of unity this year, disability and aging groups across the country have demanded that healthcare reform be the vehicle to change federal policy which favors paying for institutions over community based services. They have repeatedly asked Congress and the President to pass the Community Choice Act, but currently, NO proposal in the health care reform package eliminates the institutional bias in Medicaid.

“The Democrats have historically supported the Community Choice Act every time it has been introduced in Congress,” said Dawn Russell, an ADAPT organizer from Denver, CO. “Many in the disability community were optimistic that the Democrats would finally pass CCA and eliminate the institutional bias, but the Democratic leadership in Washington is doing absolutely nothing. It seems as though the Democrats are so concerned with political maneuvering that they have completely forgotten about the people they represent who have no voice in Washington.”

ADAPT is concerned about people who right now are stuck in nursing facilities and other institutions. We are concerned about people on Medicaid who will continue to be forced into those places if the law isn’t changed. And if the Democratic leadership won’t speak up for them, then I will,” added Russell.


For those wishing to get involved in similar future actions, National ADAPT may be followed as:

Advertisements

ADAPT :: Obama Administration Continues Institutional Bias in Healthcare Reform..

There are any number of things I could say right now.. I won’t.. I think this most needs to quickly see the light of day first.. Will save personal comments for another day, perhaps even for Twitter, instead.. 🙂

My deepest thoughts are with everyone from the Disability Community walking in these particular Shoes this moment.. Maybe if I’d been more of an outright bitch or something last year.. Maybe if I’d been just a little more healthier to keep pushing at it at the time.


For Immediate release from: ADAPT Press Releases
Wednesday, 2009.07.08, 6:11 PM EDT

For Information contact:

  • Bob Kafka 512-431-4085
  • Marsha Katz 406-544-9504

Obama Administration Continues Institutional Bias in Healthcare Reform

Washington, D.C.— The nation’s largest grassroots disability rights organization, ADAPT, expressed outrage today at the Obama administration’s selective endorsement of one piece of proposed long term care legislation while refusing to support a companion measure aimed at eliminating the institutional bias in Medicaid for aging or disabled lower income people that Obama, with strong support from over 80 national disability and aging organizations, co-sponsored as a Senator.

July 6, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, sent a letter to Sen. Edward Kennedy, Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, expressing President Obama’s support for Kennedy’s “CLASS Act [H.R. 3001],” which would allow middle class Americans to set aside money from their paychecks in anticipation of the expenses they will likely face for long-term services and supports as they age, or acquire a disability. After paying into the fund for at least 5 years, workers or their non-working spouses could draw on the fund for long-term services and assistance, either in a nursing home or in the community. Workers who wish could opt out of the program, an outcome more likely in tough economic times or in cases where low worker-wages barely cover individual or family survival expenses.

“Those of us with disabilities, who are aging, and who aren’t able to work are outraged that the President has issued public support for this primarily middle class legislation, and has completely ignored the companion legislation that would include lower income disabled and older people in reform of long term services and supports, and health care reform,” said Bob Kafka, Texas ADAPT Organizer. “It’s like we don’t exist!”

ADAPT and a multitude of other national disability and aging organizations in Washington have gone on record in support of Sen. Kennedy’s CLASS Act only if it is paired with a “fix” for Medicaid addressing lower income and non-working people, similar to provisions contained in the Community Choice Act (CCA, H.R. 1670). CCA inserts the concept of “personal choice” into the law, adding language that mandates states to pay for help in a person’s own home the same way the law mandates them to pay for nursing homes. Current law can force people with disabilities and who are aging into nursing homes in order to receive services that can just as easily be delivered in the community. Research has demonstrated that community-based assistance is almost always less expensive.

“When President Obama was a senator, he co-sponsored CCA,” said Dawn Russell, ADAPT Organizer from Denver Colorado, “and when he campaigned for the Presidency, he pledged to support CCA. But since he was elected, and we met with his people at the White House, they told us that he will not include long term services and supports in health care reform. When we heard that, we expressed our disappointment and anger in a peaceful protest outside the White House. The President responded by having [200 of] us arrested, and there were very heavy fines levied against us. It feels like the President is trying to intimidate and silence us so we won’t speak up for people with disabilities, people with low incomes, and those who are aging who are at risk of being forced into nursing homes under the current law.”

Because the CLASS Act does not address the Medicaid “institutional bias,” people who use up the benefits they save under the act will still face having to move to nursing homes to keep getting assistance, unless they can afford to stay in their own homes because of other resources they have.

“When I voted last November, I was sure I was voting for a great man who would bring freedom to people with disabilities,” said Bruce Darling, ADAPT Organizer from New York. “Just as President Lincoln freed the slaves, I felt that President Obama would free those of us with disabilities from the continued threat of incarceration in a nursing homes and institutions. Now, I feel like a fool, because this administration apparently cares nothing for us and has no respect for our freedom and our civil rights.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION on ADAPT:

  • Netblogged..

  • Enter email address to subscribe to this blog's emailed notifications of new post updates.

    Join 1 other follower

  • Cindy Sue Causey

    Aspiring jewelry designer; disability self-advocate (degenerating cognitive abilities, mental health); Human rights activist; hobby webmistress..

    In a "past" Life, I've also worn the Shoes of: Marine mammal trainer/show performer; indoor tropical plant sales; department store merchandising; cryogenics small parts shipping; office clerk (accounts payable/receivable; labor data collection)..