Today, ADAPT members from the Rochester area are staging a sit in at the Monroe County Republican Party’s Office at 460 State Street, demanding that the Republican Party openly oppose any healthcare bill that includes cuts or caps to Medicaid. “Without Medicaid, I would not have money for healthcare, my durable equipment and pay my aides. I would be forced into a nursing home,” said Bobbi Wallach, an ADAPT member from New York.
ADAPT members from the Rochester area are drawing attention today to the life and death issues that many Americans with disabilities and the elderly will face if Medicaid is cut. Both bills “cap and significantly cut Medicaid which will greatly reduce access to medical care and home and community based services for elderly and disabled Americans who will either die or be forced into institutions,” said ADAPT organizer Bruce Darling from New York. “Our lives and liberty shouldn’t be stolen to give a tax break to the wealthy. That’s truly un-American.”
“The healthcare bills we have seen would take away our freedom,” said Susan Stahl, an ADAPT member who protested the Senate bill last week in Washington, D.C. “Our lost freedom will also cost Americans much more money. Nursing facilities are much more expensive than community-based services that the bills would cut.” In 2012, the National Council on Disability (an independent federal agency that makes policy recommendations to the President, Congress and federal agencies) reported that States spent upwards of $300,000 more per person serving disabled people in institutions each year than they would spend providing services in the community. Medicaid block grants to states, lifetime limits on coverage, and a sunset date for the Community First Choice Option all mean the end of life and liberty for people with disabilities and the elderly, forcing them into restrictive and costly nursing homes.
Our protest today comes days after a protest in Washington DC where ADAPT activists from all over the country were literally dragged out of the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the 18th anniversary of Olmstead v. LC, the 1999 Supreme Court Ruling which first recognized disabled people’s right to live in the community. Across the country ADAPT members are raising their voices and putting their bodies on the line to raise awareness and bring about change.