For Immediate Release



July 19, 2004
For more information, contact:
Bob Kafka (512) 431-4085
Marsha Katz (406) 544-9504
Joelle Brouner

 ADAPT Scores Resolution Intro by PA Gov. Rendell at NGA Summer Meeting

(SEATTLE) ADAPT blocked intersections around the Westin Hotel headquarters of the National Governors Association (NGA) summer meeting in Seattle for five hours before Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell agreed to introduce ADAPT's long term care resolution to the NGA membership. The resolution calls for reform of the Medicaid long term care system, so persons with disabilities, old and young, would have the choice to receive services and supports in their own homes instead of nursing homes and other institutions. 

Gov. Rendell's commitment to read the resolution to the NGA membership today, and begin a formal process to move it forward, not only prevented imminent arrest of up to 200 ADAPT activists, but it set the stage for a vote on the resolution by the NGA membership at their February meeting. Rendell delivered his promise in person to the 500 ADAPT activists. 

"I was so proud of my Governor today," said Nancy Salandra, an ADAPT Organizer from Philadelphia. "It's my birthday, and Governor Rendell gave me the best possible present when he came out of the Westin hotel to join us in the street and tell us that our resolution is an idea whose time has come, and that a lot of governors agree with us." 

Rendells public meeting with ADAPT bucked the party line put out by NGA staff before the summer meeting. That party line was contained in a written statement that, among other things said NGA would work to minimize media coverage generated by protests and would not arrange meetings with Governors for representatives of ADAPT Additionally, Rendell sent Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Health Care Reform, Rosemarie Greco, to speak at the ADAPT kick-off rally at Victor Steinbrueck Park on Saturday. 

Some of the other Governors who chose to communicate with their constituents in Seattle include Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour who arranged to meet personally with Mississippians from ADAPT and committed to a follow-up meeting on July 23 back home; Kansas Governor Kathleen Sibelius who called personally during the rally, asked to have the ADAPT resolution faxed to her, and sent constituents a box of fruit; Montana Governor Judy Martz who, although ill herself, had her Communications Director Chuck Butler meet with constituents after Gov. Rendell's meeting with ADAPT. 

Sundays blocking of streets around the Westin was a response to an early morning appearance at the ADAPT hotel by NGA Health and Human Services Committee Director Matt Salo. Salo called to arrange the meeting, only to arrive and tell the assembled 500 people that he had no power to do anything. He also stated to the TV cameras present that he would not even take the ADAPT resolution back to the committee. He quickly left amid loud booing from ADAPT. 

"I don't get it", said Mark Johnson, a Georgia ADAPT Organizer. "Is the NGA leadership in touch with its own members? When we arrived in Seattle we read the NGA staff propaganda about not covering or communicating with us, but individual Governors have been very responsive. They seem to understand that we share their concern about long term care reform, and we want to partner with them to be part of the solution. After all, having fought for and used home and community based services for years, we are the real experts, and we are ready and willing to share that expertise. Our very lives depend on it." 

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54 million Americans have some level of disability, 26 million people have a severe disability. [Current Population Reports. U.S. Department of Commerce - Census Bureau. Aug. 1997 p. 70-61]

Summary of MiCASSA

The ADAPT Action Report

2004 Tim Wheat