People with disabilities around the control benefit from the Affordable Care Act and from Medicaid, just two programs that are essential to millions of people with disabilities. These programs, along with many others, face the threat of repeal or cut under the new Presidential Administration. Because of this, Rahnee Patrick, Access Living’s Director of Independent Living, participated in the Chicago Women’s March on January 21, 2017. Below is the speech Rahnee delivered, speaking to the critical need for Medicaid and the threat of Medicaid Block Grants.
Rahnee Patrick (left) and Aziza Nassar at the Chicago Womens March on January 21
In 1989, I was a 16 year old whose inflamed skin and joints had burned for eight years. I looked outside the bus window during a band trip. I was facing a future of unpaid medical bills, no sex and a nursing home bed until I died. But then Medicaid came into my life. Medicaid is a government insurance program that pays for medications, ointments, doctors and workers to clean my hair, body and home, like it does for millions of disabled Americans. Then, the Affordable Care Act came! With the Affordable Care Act, disabled Americans can get insurance and not be denied because of pre-existing conditions. I can get a mammogram sitting in my wheelchair. States can get more money to create more services for the workers who clean disabled people's homes and bodies.
The United States must keep the Affordable Care Act and make it better or disabled people will have to choose between rent and healthcare.
Today, I am paying my bills, married 10 years to a disabled man and we own a condo. And I'm having sex. I will not go back to 1989. Will you go back to 1989? No!
Laura Hershey, the late queer disabled poet wrote You Get Proud By Practicing. It called for disabled people to acknowledge our agency as resistance. that disability is powerful and to be proclaimed.
Let's all practice a proclamation of resistance: saying No!
Everybody say no! No!
Everybody say fight! Fight!
Everybody say Rights! rights
Is it doomsday? No!
Is it the end of the world? No!
The USA will not go into that dark night. We will fight, fight, fight! Access Living looks forward to resisting with you!! Please join disability rights!