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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Evidence of Devaluation of Disability by Society

Hi there!

Increasingly, in light of increasing economic pressure to pass stricter austerity measures at every level of society from the national scene down to the community arena and even in interpersonal exchange, perceptions of people with disabilities are being altered - and not in a good way either. For example, in New York State where I reside, tin the effort to curb Medicaid expenditures Governor Andrew Cuomo empaneled a Reform Commission to find ways to realize huge savings. Among the recommendations that are presently being enacted is to shift control of home care from the traditional Human Resources Administration to a new bureaucratic entity called the Medicaid Managed Long Term Care Program which itself is grounded on the medical end business paradigm. This structure has the potential to negatively impact on the daily lives of people with disabilities like myself who use Consumer Directed Personal Assistant Program which enable us to live productive, independent lives by autonomous control over the duties and responsibilities of the personal assistant being utilized by the consumer with a disability. The real danger is that in the name of savings physician mandated hours of coverage will be cut severely to the point that the very quality of personal care will be compromised to the point that the consumer will have virtually no choice but to become institutionalized, an extremely expensive and will- sapping proposition. Those with severe disabilities will face a greater prospect of dying sooner than the average life expectancy simply because the quality of essential care is nonexistent. In addition, under the managed care framework, the autonomy of the consumer to hire and fire aides for good cause will be whittled away and replaced by bureaucrats who assume " custodial" care of us and have virtually no conception of the daily needs of the individual person with a disability. It is as if the presence f an impairment denotes incompetence in making daily decision even when evidence exist that there is a history of highly successful experiences. As a matter of fact Consumer Directed Personal Assistant Programs have been proven to cost at least a third of what is required to maintain the patient in a nursing facility precisely because it is situated in the home and therefore within the community. The accrued savings would add up to millions of dollars with the emphasis of community- based living with ancillary support systems in place. This is a classic instance in which stereotypic perception of people with disabilities informs the policy directives,usually controlled by the medical establishment. It harkens a return to the eugenic movements of the 19th century where the social Darwinist ethos of survival of the fittest predominated and those who either by birth or happenstance fell short of the ideal embodied norm faced moral and social opibrium.


  1. I write this Feb. 14th, 2013 & what Dr. Dan writes about is more true than ever!