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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Trumpcare: A Clear and Present Danger to the Disability Community

The Republican-dominated House of Representatives,  conisisting largely of Congressmen  committed to an antiquated free-enterprise and states-centric ideology reminiscent of the philosophical outlook of Ayn Rand: a government without any regulatory authority, unveiled their own "health care plan",  the American Health Care Act, an extremely short-sighted response to the Obama signature legislation and legacy, the Affordable Care Act. As a matter of fact, under leadership of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Congress was able to repeal the Affordable Care Act which included expanded Medicaid coverage for the most vulnerable segments of American society, especially those living at or below the poverty line. The entire Medicaid program as it exists today is to be defunded  under this Republican proposed legislation. This includes persons with disabilities, African-Americans, Latinos and LGBTQ groups.  The Congressional Budget Office charged with providing nonpartisan cost estimates, just released a detailed budget report outlining the financial consequences of eliminating Medicaid and other entitlement programs, causing 21 million people to fall between the cracks jeopardizing their overall well-.being and "replacing" it with a bogus, state-run block grants program with virtually no no federal accountability at all, is courting apocalyptic disaster for the disability community both on an individual basis  and as a powerful political entity (approximately 40 million in US according to government census and CDCP figures). To put bluntly, members of of the disability community will left without any dependable insurance system that pays for the enable me  and others with physical disabilities to lead highly productive meaningful lives such as personal care assistants who daily tend to our overall well-being. The key in fighting this erosion of protective enabling legislation  is to mobilize ALL stakeholders(especially the Medicaid Long Term Care agencies such as ICS, Concepts, Partners Health Plan (for developmentally and intellectually disabled consumers), state/city agencies as well as disability rights advocates) to forcefully pressure key liberal Democratic lawmakers such as Senator Charles Schumer the Senate Minority Leader, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Senator Kirsten Gillibrandt, Congressman Jim Langevin from Rhode Island and a paraplegic himself, Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts , former Vice President Joseph Biden and even former President  Barack Obama to push back hard and eliminate the proposed GOP agenda entirely! I’ll collaborate with leaders of the disability rights movements, some of whom are friends of mine to make it happen, but the pressure must be a sustained one!

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