National ADAPT in DC protesting against Medicaid Cuts

A few days ago, hundreds of disability advocates with National ADAPT arrived in Washington, D.C. to rally to protect services that support people with disabilities living in their own homes.

ADAPT has spent the last two days occupying parts of the Capitol Building, protesting against proposed cuts to Medicaid services. If these cuts go through, thousands of people with disabilities could lose vital services that enable them to live in their own homes. Without the supports, people may be forced into nursing homes and institutions.

Below is a release issued by ADAPT earlier today .

For Immediate Release

Contact: Janine Bertram (503) 915–5247
Contact: Bruce Darling (585) 370–6690
Contact: Marsha Katz (406) 544–9504


Following 91 arrests, ADAPT members from all over the nation returned to Congress to demand that Rep. Paul Ryan, John Boehner and Michelle Bachmann to publicly withdraw their support for Medicaid budget cuts and Medicaid state block grants.

“I think it is ridiculous that 91 of us have to get arrested to be able to talk to our members of Congress. But Medicaid funding means life and death for seniors and people with disabilities so, if arrests are necessary, we will do it again,” said Bruce Darling, an organizer with Rochester, NY. ADAPT, who spent the night jailed.

Under the Ryan Plan, Medicaid programs would be cut by 35%, which translates to a loss of $772 billion in human services. Additionally, the Ryan Plan proposes a system of Medicaid block grants for states—giving states greater ability to make cuts.

Of the 60 million people counting on Medicaid right now, 8.5 million are people with disabilities; 8.8 million are low income, frail, elderly and disabled individuals who rely on Medicaid to plug the gaps in Medicare coverage, such as long term care. Medicaid pays for vital services to assist people with intellectual disabilities to live and work in the community rather than be forced into an institution; and screening programs to identify and diagnose disabilities for children.

There is widespread support for services for the people with disabilities and older Americans. According to a recent Washington Post–ABC News poll, 69% of Americans oppose cutting Medicaid. These results are consistent with a 2010 Harris survey that found that 89% Americans supported a tax increase to assure that people could receive services in their own homes, rather than being forced into nursing facilities or other institutions. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) polls repeatedly find that the vast majority of seniors want to age in their own homes with any needed services.

“Congressman Ryan and his colleagues voted themselves huge health benefits and now they want states to have the flexibility to cut Medicaid spending and the few benefits for people with low incomes,” said Cassie James of Philadelphia. ADAPT. “We need flexibility of spending so people can choose the service options they want, and that will ultimately contain costs. It is the institutional bias, the payments to institutions that are breaking the federal bank.”

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