For Immediate Release

ADAPT logo: universal access symbol breaking a chain overhead; text: FREE OUR PEOPLE! May 7, 2002
For more information, contact:
Bob Kafka (512) 431-4085 cell
Marsha Katz (406) 544-9504 cell

ADAPT Calls for Administration to Follow Through on Promises

(Washington, D.C.) ADAPT, the national disability rights organization, will take to the streets in the nation's capitol May 12-16 to demand that President Bush and his administration follow through on the string of promises they have issued throughout the past year. A beginning to that follow through would be strong presidential support of the passage of S.1298 and HR 3612, both known as MiCASSA, the Medicaid Community-based Services and Supports Act, designed to allow people real choice in where they receive their long term care.

In February 2001, the President issued his New Freedom Initiative (NFI) in which he committed to "…tearing down the remaining barriers to equality that face Americans with disabilities today." Bush followed the NFI with an Executive Order in June, 2001, mandating swift implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C. & E.W., and ordering cabinet members and agency heads to submit written Olmstead implementation plans outlining how they intend to remove existing barriers for persons with disabilities.

"We've heard a lot of great talk and promises from Washington this past year, but a year later we have nothing to show for all those pretty words," said Linda Anthony, a Pennsylvania ADAPT Organizer. "Not only has the President not backed up any of his commitments with funding, but, adding insult to injury, he has actually recommended cuts in the very areas he highlighted as essential in the New Freedom Initiative. This is entirely unacceptable. " 

The greatest barrier to equality for the disability and aging community is the public policy perpetuating the institutional bias in the Medicaid program. Removing that bias, which continues to force people with disabilities of all ages into institutional settings against their will in order to receive needed long term care services and supports, requires federal legislation like the House and Senate versions of MiCASSA. Once forced into nursing homes and other institutions, people typically languish until death, almost always at a much higher cost to the states than similar care in the community, according to data from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

On May 15 at noon, ADAPT will join Senators Tom Harkin (D, IA) and Arlen Specter (R, PA), and Representatives Danny Davis (D, IL) and John Shimkus (R, IL) at the Dirksen Senate Office Building for a press event on both the Senate (S1298) and House (HB 3612) versions of MiCASSA. Once passed and enacted, MiCASSA will allow people to choose to receive long term care services in their own homes in the community instead of being forced into institutional settings. Thousands of MiCASSA supporters from all over the country will join the Washington event by phone.

"Getting MiCASSA passed as part of the President's New Freedom Initiative is the best way we know to begin to remove barriers to equality for persons with disabilities," said Bruce Darling, ADAPT Organizer from Rochester, New York. "Once we are in our own homes in the community, free of institutional warehousing, we are committed to partnering with the Bush Administration to remove the remaining barriers. Anyone can talk, but honorable people back that talk with action, and that's what we're demanding from the President."

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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

MiCASSA Questions and Answers 

© 2002 etc information