Disability Activists Hold Nationwide Protests of Proposed Medicaid Cuts

ADAPT’s June 22nd protest in Washington, D.C. brought unprecedented public attention to disabled people’s profound fears about the very real and personal consequences of proposed cuts to Medicaid. It’s not an exaggeration to say that lives and liberty are at stake.

Rachel Maddow’s coverage on MSNBC was especially detailed in painting a clear picture of the disability activist group ADAPT. She reached back into the group’s history, showing news clips and footage dating back to 1978. I joined ADAPT protests for lifts on buses in 1987, and took a screenshot of this scene in which I was placed under police arrest.

Diane Coleman being pushed in her motorized wheelchair by a police officer who had arrested her.

ADAPT’s focus is the Medicaid home and community based long term care services that enable people with disabilities, including seniors, to live in our own homes and communities rather than be forced into nursing facilities. Those services allow people to live with their families, get an education, work and enjoy their communities like everyone else. Currently, Medicaid is required to cover nursing facilities, while in-home services are optional, so the proposed cuts will sacrifice the “optional” services that maintain the liberty of disabled Americans.

ADAPT and Not Dead Yet have long been very close. In 1996, one of ADAPT’s national organizers, Bob Kafka, came up with the name for our group, based on a running gag in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

In the week since the Washington, D.C. protest of proposed Medicaid cuts, disability activists across the country have organized local nonviolent protests, taking the message to key U.S. Senators, as well as other politicians and government authorities. Many of the activists are Not Dead Yet staff, Board members and advocates. Anita Cameron, Carrie Lucas and I were arrested, Emily Wolinsky penned a strong letter to her Senators, Dominick Evans organized actions in Ohio and recorded a hard hitting You Tube message to Senator Portman, and I’m still gathering information. Links to some examples of coverage are below.

Disabled protesters arrested at Sen. Cory Gardner’s Denver office after 2-day sit-in (Denver Post, 6/29/17)

25 protesters arrested inside county GOP HQ (Democrat and Chronicle, 6/28/17)

Protesters stage overnight sit-in at Sen. Gardner’s office over health care bill (KDVR, 6/27/17)

Will Senate Republicans Have Enough Votes To Pass Their Health Care Bill? (NewsOneNow, 6/26/17)

Police Haul Off Protesters, Some With Disabilities, From Mitch McConnell’s Office (Huffington Post, 6/22/17)

Dozens arrested after disability advocates protest at McConnell’s office (CNN, 6/22/17)

GOP threat to Medicaid threatens liberty of millions of Americans (Rachel Maddow MSNBC, 6/22/17)

One thought on “Disability Activists Hold Nationwide Protests of Proposed Medicaid Cuts

  1. Unfortunately, because health care and all related matters grows as a percentage of the GNP and is a huge profit-making industrial complex, both political parties sell out the most vulnerable of the masses, the elderly, the disabled, the mentally ill as expedient and possible, to guarantee the continuing profits of all of the special interests in the Medical Industrial Complex.

    Both political parties are guilty and justify their positions and policies by suggesting that THEIR political survival is threatened if they try to change the way health care is delivered in this country. Profits cannot be sacrificed to altruism and the concept that health care is a civil and human right that should be guaranteed for all citizens by all democratic governments.

    Who has the will or the power to fight the power of the Medical Industrial Complex which now accounts for almost 20% of the Gross National Product? Is it even possible to fight these for-profit interests and win?

    Neither party will deliver a possible solution, i.e. single payer insurance, which forces the government to bargain with the for-profit entities to provide health insurance and benefits for all of its citizens as a civil and human right?

    Medicare and Medicaid have already been changed to managed care and managed death and the concept of “Hospice” as an option under Medicare and Medicaid will soon disappear and Hospice and Physician Assisted Suicide will be the only options available to those populations, the elderly, the chronically disabled, and the mentally ill who are targeted for savings in the costs of expensive end-of-life care in ICU or CCU hospital care in the USA.
    Sadly, as always, it’s always about the money. The courage of the Disabled Community who fight back —who try to protect their human rights —may stem the tide. The elderly on Medicare and Medicaid don’t understand that their health care and their right to live as long as is medically possible and as long as they want to live has already been removed under the administrative reimbursement protocols of Medicare and Medicaid that now embrace managed care and managed death. .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *