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