Obama's Crip Problem
Apr 29 10:50
President Obama has a crip problem.
It’s not malignant yet, but it’s growing, and it could metastasize if he doesn’t have it looked at soon.
Before I continue, let me share two quotes arising from this week’s ADAPT action, in which 91 activists were arrested after chaining themselves to the White House … the Obama White House:
"Take me inside with you right now and I'll call Obama a f------ liar to his face," says Peggy Dougherty, 69, from Easton, Penn, who has handcuffed herself to the White House gate.
“[You’ll have to] live with institutional bias,” ADAPT activists report Obama’s health care czar, Nancy-Ann De Parle, said when she made it clear personal assistance services were not a priority of Obama’s health care reform effort.
The second quote should explain the first. As reported, the context of this quote is that De Parle, and by extension Obama, is not interested in wrapping community-based services, ala Community Choice Act, into health care reform. Also, the quote is being taken as “proof” that Obama doesn’t understand how important the right of people with disabilities to choose where they live is to our community.
Wrapping personal assistance services into health care reform is a logical solution to a long-standing problem – it’s brilliant. But on the surface it seems unfair to expect Obama’s team to understand it on the first day it’s publicly unveiled. De Parle’s reported comment does not Obama a liar make.
But as ADAPT goes, sooner or later, so do the rest of us, whether we recognize it or not.
ADAPT organizers and many other disability rights activists worked their tails off for Obama in both the primary and general elections. You may recall I questioned this during the primaries, since other Dem candidates’ commitment to the CCA was longer-standing and more solid than Obama’s.
That stellar outreach to our community I kept going on and on about? Those are the folks who are now spanking Obama.
Why? One official not immediately agreeing to our demands isn’t usually as big a deal as it was this week, and certainly a stupid comment by an employee isn’t necessarily the view of the boss.
Here’s my theory: Obama has no unified disability policy. There is no team pulling together the threads of who we are, what we want, and how federal policy ought to reflect us.
There are great appointments from within our community, most notably Kathy Martinez who left her post as head of WID, and our own Henry Claypool. Kareem Dale’s OK, too, I guess, although it's hard to tell since he actually hasn't done anything yet. Perhaps he's sleeping. Still, generally, these aren’t bad appointments, and there are probably more from our community that I don’t know about. But what are their marching orders? Do they have any?
Based on past rumblings of discontent I’ve heard from big-name advocates to the effect of, “sure, Obama’ll back us, but we don’t know how much he actually understands,” this lack of an identifiable, unified disability policy is sloppy and inexcusable. Within this context, of course De Parle’s comments set off the activists. We’ll live wherever the feds say we’ll live until all nondisabled people get health care?
The hell we will.
Sure, two wars, an economic crisis and now swine flu are keeping Obama busy. But he’s a master-planner. He won the presidency in part because of how well he – or someone on his team – handled us. Is it too much to ask that he create a unified, integrated disability policy?
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Apr 29 10:43
I agree that Obama does not have a comprehensive disability policy. Does the disability community have a comprehensive disability policy to share with him? Maybe we shouls work through Claypool to surface one!?
Apr 29 01:40
I have heard and also read a article that just because I get SSID I am not going to get the 250.00 stimulus check. Anybody else out their getting the same conclusion
someone else |
Apr 29 03:39
IS there such thing as an identifiable "disability community"?
Apr 29 03:49
Great post! The President's website contains his and Vice President Biden's so-called disability plan.It very clearly endorses home and community-based long-term services and the Community Choice Act. And now, to tell us that we have to wait.....that our very freedom is negotiable, and that we don't matter as much as other people is just unconscionable and unacceptable. It is even more disheartening to remember that the former President signed the New Freedom Initiative, his very first Executive Order well within his first hundred days. For nearly 30 years we have "demonstrated" that home and community-based services and supports WORK, are, in the aggregate, LESS EXPENSIVE, they PREVENT SECONDARY CONDITIONS and IMPROVE HEALTH over all, and are OVERWHELMINGLY PREFERRED by seniors and pwd. There is no defensible reason to exclude long term care (and Medicaid and Medicare) from health care reform. Please urge your senators and reps to co-sponsor CCA & include long-term care in reform.
Apr 29 04:08
After the election, I mildly (for me) expressed a desire for people to look ahead for potential roadblocks with the new President. The CCA was at the top of my list of concerns.
The president and many of his advisers come from a state at the very bottom in terms of community-based support for PWDs. David Axelrod is on the board of a service provider that is arguably the most influential entity blocking community-based care in that state. We should all be worried that the institutional mindset of Illinois has found its way into the White House (A McCain win would have meant battles too).
It's fascinating that Daschle's book on health care reform states that you can't tackle reform without addressing long-term care issues. The president liked this book so much he wanted Daschle for HHS.
I am disappointed but not surprised that we find ourselves in this fight. I am optimistic that we can win. We have the facts on our side - that may count with this administration.
Apr 29 06:45
good on you guys i use a wheelchair from polio from 1970 to today i was born in algeria north africa and now i live in sydney australia for the last 12 y here life is great for pwd i live in a 3 bedroom from the housing dept the only way for us to have all politician looking after us is to be united world wide
and to have a world wide protest for pwd
to get more wrights we can do it if we orguanise our self world wide lest do it guys if we want a better life for all pwd my email is email@example.com