Joe Biden is right – it is a big f___ deal.
First, here’s what ADAPT, a national grass-roots community that organizes disability rights activists to engage in nonviolent direct action, including civil disobedience, to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom, has to say about the health reform bill passed by the House and signed by President Obama:
For more information, contact:
Mike Oxford, (785) 224-3865
Bob Kafka, (512) 431-4085
ADAPT Celebrates Community First Choice Option in Health Care Reform
ADAPT, the national cross-disability grassroots group, today celebrates the inclusion of the Community First Choice (CFC) Option and other long term care-related provisions in the health care reform package passed by the House on Sunday, March 21. These provisions bring people with disabilities across America one step closer to home and community-base supports and ending the institutional bias in Medicaid. Twenty years ago, with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities realized the beginning of a civil rights dream of access to all levels of society. Today, ADAPT continues to fight to protect that dream, re-committing to the enforcement of the ADA-based Olmstead Supreme court case, which holds that no person can be forced to remain institutionalized against their will.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its companion legislation, the Reconciliation Act of 2010, together include several items related to home and community based services. For example, starting in October of 2011, the CFC Option will give states the choice of providing home and community based services to Medicaid recipients instead of simply forcing them into nursing homes. The federal Money Follows the Person program will be extended until 2016. Provisions of the CLASS Act are also included in the new legislation. States will have increased federal funding matching incentives to fund community services. Yet while passage of this legislation is a social landmark, much remains to be done.
We’re celebrating here at NDY as well. Assisted suicide, active euthanasia and withdrawal of treatment aren’t the only ways to cause the premature deaths of people with disabilities. Underemployed or unemployed people – or those with “pre-existing” conditions have been left to fend for themselves in a profit-driven health care system in this country. People who have to rely on emergency rooms for treatment don’t really get the same care for life-threatening conditions that can be gained through regular medical visits. And, of course, those of us who are lucky enough to be insured get to “enjoy” premium increases since the cost of the emergency room treatments get passed on to us – and our insurers.
There are a lot of shrill voices out there – Tea Partiers being the loudest right now. From “death panels” to “government takeover” they are talking about expansion of health coverage as though it’s the end of civilization itself. And yet, I get the feeling from the Tea Party crowd that the only “solution” they have to offer for the health care crisis is to keep the current system in place – in which more people get pushed out of the system. And that means more people die early and unpleasantly. We like to call that “backdoor euthanasia.”
So, yeah, for all its faults, we are celebrating this long-overdue first step into ensuring health care for all US citizens. It’s about bloody time. And it’s a big f______ deal. –Stephen Drake