The Resolution is in!
The NGA will consider ADAPT’s Long-Term Care Resolution.
JULY 19,2004) Over five hundred ADAPT activists, demanding that the National Governor’s Association hear their resolution, packed the streets around the NGA meeting, blocking traffic on 5th and 6th Avenue, Stewart Street and Westlake. Thick swarms of Seattle Police greeted the protesters with barricades; but after a three hour stand-off, Pennsylvania Governor Rendell promised demonstrators that the ADAPT Resolution would be introduced and heard by all the governors.
“The resolution will be introduced tomorrow,” said Cassie James of Pennsylvania, “ADAPT does not stop until we get what we are after.”
At about 10:45 am, the ADAPT contingent made a short march down through downtown Seattle. At the Westin Hotel, the NGA meeting place, ADAPT activists stormed into several busy downtown intersections blocking traffic and using the street as a billboard with chalk signs and slogans. ADAPT was united in the message that the governors should introduce and pass a resolution on long-term care.
“We were really strong,” said Barbara Toomer of Utah ADAPT. “I am always amazed at folks savvy at handling themselves in
situations like this. The endurance that people have, some were in the sun all day. I am really proud of us.”
“Honestly, I think the action today was pretty awesome,” said Steve Verriden of Wisconsin ADAPT. “I really didn’t expect that the resolution would reach the floor of the NGA meeting. Like they say, every journey begins with a first step.”
Seattle police worked all afternoon at the barricades and used several tools to attempt to control the demonstrators and reroute traffic. They also used misinformation to disperse the crowd, telling activists that the leaders had said to move, but ADAPT held strong and did not give an inch.
“This is Sergeant Yamatah of the Seattle Police Department,” The Police blasted over a loudspeaker vehicle. “You are currently in violation of the laws of the city of Seattle and subject to arrest. This is a legal order to disperse.”
Not a single ADAPT demonstrator moved, and Daniece McMullen-Powell helped raise the volume of the chants.
“I am more than happy to introduce on the floor at the plenary session, the resolution, your resolution,” said Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania, who came out to speak with ADAPT activists in the streets when arrests were imminent. “Not only will I read the resolution, but I will give reasons…and I will try to convince all of the delegations to vote for it.”
Read the ADAPT Resolution.
The resolution acknowledges the institutional bias of the current Medicaid system that unnecessarily institutionalizes Americans and supports progressive changes of the system. The resolution also calls for a more aggressive implementation of the 1999 Olmstead Supreme Court decision.
“I have seen a big change in Rendell’s attitude,” said John Gladstone of Philadelphia ADAPT, “since he was the Mayor of Philadelphia and we protested to get curb-ramps.”
“Pennsylvania ADAPT really kicks ass,” said Weasel about the statement of Governor Rendell.
The governors were targeted because states control how federal Medicaid funds are spent and some states are more progressive. ADAPT will announce at a press conference on Monday, outside the Westin Hotel, the ten worst states at providing long-term alternatives to institutions like nursing homes. Institutions are the least desirable and most expensive use of the public’s long-term care funding.
State governments are vulnerable to coercion of the nursing home lobby. Although two-thirds of the nursing home industry’s profits come from public funds, the American Health Care Association is allowed to lobby in every state for continued government subsidy. Some activists were skeptical about the NGA, from their experience working with their state governments.
“I was thrilled that it was the Pennsylvania governor who will introduce the resolution,” said Shona Eakin of Erie ADAPT. “I think he will introduce the resolution tomorrow because he knows that ADAPT will have his head if he doesn’t.”
“The Governor of Pennsylvania was wonderful,” said Barbara Toomer of Utah ADAPT, “he came out and through the police barriers with only his health care staff. The governor spoke to us with no police escort. That guy this morning Matt Salo, a nobody, had to have a state trooper when he came to speak to us.”
- Tim Wheat