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Old 04-28-2011, 08:38 AM
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Soapbox ADAPT to Washington: "Stop De-funding Our FREEDOM!"

ADAPT to Washington: "Stop De-funding Our FREEDOM!"

Washington, D.C.- Over 400 members of the national grassroots disability rights organization, ADAPT will converge on Washington, D.C. from all parts of the country April 30-May 5 to tell Congress and the Obama Administration to "Stop De-funding Our FREEDOM!"

"For people with disabilities and those who are aging, it feels like we
are being drowned in a man-made tsunami of cuts to Medicaid services,"
said Bruce Darling, ADAPT organizer from Rochester, NY. "Between the
draconian cuts we are experiencing in our home states, and the added
threat of collateral damage from the budget wars here in Washington, we
are not only at risk for losing our freedom to live in our own homes, but we are truly afraid for our lives."

The 1999 U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision, affirming Title II of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, mandates that people with
disabilities of all ages should be served in the "most integrated
setting," which almost always is their own home and community. Olmstead
further states that isolating people unnecessarily in institutions is
segregation, and therefore illegal.

Yet today, at least 38 states are proposing or have made cuts to Medicaid that threaten the civil rights of older and disabled Americans to live in their own homes and neighborhoods. These cuts are proposed in a variety of areas, from home-based attendant services, to medications, vision and dental services, to mental health services, and durable medical equipment like wheelchairs. All of these services and equipment are medically necessary for the health and safety and freedom of those with disabilities and who are aging.

"Our own home states are treating us like second class citizens, and it's no better here in Washington," said Mike Ervin, ADAPT organizer from Chicago. "For 20 years we've been telling everyone that removing the institutional bias from the Medicaid program, giving people who need some daily assistance the choice to stay in their own home to receive services, would save the government money along with being in compliance with the law. And yet, even with research to back us up, Congress has chosen not to make this simple change in the law and save both money and lives."

Medicaid currently mandates states to pay for nursing homes, but does not similarly mandate that states can pay for the same services in a person's own home. This is not a partisan issue. The Obama administration says it is open to any solutions that could help reduce the deficit, and Democratic congressional leaders like Sen. Tom Harkin (IA) and Rep. Danny Davis (IL) and Sen. Max Baucus (MT) have long supported home and community-based legislation. Republican Rep. Dennis Rehberg (MT) has stated, "To control long-term care costs, Congress and the Administration should also examine ways to move Medicaid away from
institutionalized care and toward home and community based care," and
Republican Gov (WI), Scott Walker, recently wrote, that Medicaid is
" biased toward caring for people in nursing homes rather than in
their own homes and neighborhoods."

"We'll be in Washington this week DEFENDING OUR FREEDOM, and demanding
that Congress stop de-funding our freedom," said Rahnee Patrick, ADAPT
Organizer from Chicago. "Many of us live on $674/month, 75% of poverty
level. Federal and state budgets should not be balanced on the backs of
the poorest of the poor.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION on ADAPT visit our website at
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