WHO: ADAPT; 500 members of the national grassroots disability rights organization
WHAT: Deliver Medicaid Reform Resolution on “Community First” to NGA
WHEN: 6:00 p.m., Sunday, February 27, 2005
WHERE: J.W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C.
WHY: Coming out of a very positive meeting with CMS Administrator Mark McClellan, ADAPT will remind the nation’s governors of the human face on the Medicaid Reform resolution before them this week. Catching the governors before they make their way to a black tie dinner with President and Mrs. Bush at the White House, ADAPT will present a 5 foot copy of the “Community First” Resolution in a symbolic gesture of cooperation.
When adopted by the NGA, the resolution will lay out a Medicaid Reform plan for long term services and supports that is focused on home and community based services, and that will additionally save the states money. The original resolution, proposed by Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, has been watered down by the NGA Health and Human Services Committee, which is co-chaired by Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, objectively the worst state in the nation for community services according to federal statistics.
“The resolution is all about family values. It keeps families together, let’s people stay at home where they want to be, and it’s the moral thing to do,” said Mike Eakin, an ADAPT Organizer from Pennsylvania who uses a ventilator. “We want the NGA to amend the watered down resolution to its original state and pass it. It’s cost effective, an efficient use of public dollars, and most importantly, it’s simply the right thing to do.”
In a Sunday morning meeting, CMS Administrator McClellan told an assembled 500 ADAPT activists from all over the U.S. that as a direct result of ADAPT’s tenacity on Community First, the administration intends to seek legislation to reform Medicaid to make community services mandatory, not optional. McClellan additionally affirmed that persons with disabilities are the real expert on community services, and that their involvement is critical to the success of Medicaid Reform.
“Now we just have to be sure that the President’s initiatives don’t leave older people, or anyone else with disabilities behind, so we need to monitor things very closely to assure that there are no cuts or caps or ‘state flexibility sleight of hand’ to destroy the commitment we heard from Administrator McClellan this morning,” said Barbara Toomer, ADAPT Organizer from Utah. “We believe he is sincere in his commitment, but we are all too aware of living in a country where people like Clint Eastwood have the money and influence to make movies that try to tell the world, ‘it’s better to be dead than disabled.’ We don’t want lethal injections and plugs pulled. We want to live, and we want services and supports in our own homes so we can live lives of quality and choice.”
Lillibeth Navarro, of ADAPT and Not Dead Yet, can be reached at the Oscars at 213/840-4199,