July 1, 2004

Congressman Danny Davis Holds Town Hall Meeting on MiCASSA 

By Larry Biondi

Larry Biondi(CHICAGO) Illinois Congressman Danny K. Davis held a town hall meeting on May 27th in his district office on the Medicaid Attendant Services and Supports Act (MiCASSA -H.R. 2032). This legislation would change Long-Term Care system for people with disabilities and senior Citizens for them to move easier from nursing homes back into the community. 

Calling the town all meeting "Democracy at work," Congressman Davis heard testimonies for 3 hours from consumers of services about the need for a mandatory personal assistance program nationwide. Seventy-five people filled Congressman Davis' second-floor room and half of them told personal stories about the horrid conditions of living in nursing homes. 

One individual recited a moving poem about the oppressiveness she endures daily. Another consumer told how she ended up in an institution and befriended a woman who lived in the same institution for 60 years. Their experiences really sent a strong message about why MiCASSA-H.R. 2032 should be passed immediately! 

The town hall meeting was attended by different organizations that are supporters of MiCASSA: Local 880-SEIU and Metro Seniors in Action. Special thanks to Access Living and Lake County CIL that brought people to testify regarding this critical issue. This past April, there were federal public hearings for MiCASSA in the Senate. The Senate version of the bill (S 971), was sponsored by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. 

At the end of he town hall meeting, the Congressman praised the disability community for diligently pushing for MiCASSA. Eleven Illinois Congressmen has signed on to H.R 2032. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin has signed on to S. 971. Over the years, Durbin has been reluctant to be a co-sponsor because of ridiculous arguments that MiCASSA would break the bank. Thank goodness common sense prevailed!

Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep Danny Davis at the Free Our People Rally.

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