Washington, D.C. (September 19, 2011) – The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) introduce America’s Supercommittee, a group of six engaged citizens who are lending their voices to the fight to preserve Medicaid. Over the next two months, the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the “Supercommittee”), composed of six senators and six members of the U.S. House of Representatives, will deliberate and craft proposals concerning the federal budget. They are likely to recommend trillions of dollars of spending cuts, and could recommend major cuts to Medicaid. AAPD, UCP and the disability community, including our families, friends, and supporters, are engaged in a campaign to preserve Medicaid, which provides millions of Americans with disabilities the tools to remain healthy and participate in our communities.
America’s Supercommittee members will share their perspectives on the importance of Medicaid and personal stories, in an effort to educate the public, the media, and Congress about preserving Medicaid. The public is encouraged to send questions and also share personal perspectives and stories at the America’s Supercommittee website, http://www.ucp.org/public-policy/america-s-super-committee. The site contains information about how to contact members of Congress, and information about the congressional Super committee’s meetings and deliberations.
The members of America’s Supercommittee are:
Robert Coward, Washington, DC: An Air Force veteran and DC native, Robert Coward has advised federal and local officials on accessibility and health care. “Medicaid offers people with disabilities real freedom and choices. The quality health care Medicaid provides allows us to live in our communities and lead independent lives.”
Richard Donovan, New York, New York: Rich Donovan is Managing Partner and principal owner of IPS, a strategic consultancy that works with business and government to create value in the disability marketplace. Donovan also acts as Chief Investment Officer of WingSail Capital, a new investment management firm that uses a disability lens to find outperformance in global markets. “The world of disability has changed since 1950, and legacy programs like Medicaid must adapt to those changes. Society has an opportunity to use this moment of focus on fiscal sustainability to reshape programs that aren’t delivering on promises to position people with disabilities to deliver the value inherent within them.”
David Feinman, Washington, DC: David Feinman is Senior Legislative Associate for The Jewish Federations of North America. He is a member of the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition Steering Committee. “Considering the challenges the “Super Committee” and the rest of the Congress face coming to a consensus on most issues, it is critical that they hear from people who want to have a constructive conversation.”
Jessica Norwood, Stow, Ohio: Jessica Norwood is working toward her bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Kent State University. She also works as an office aide at two child development centers. Medicaid provides Jessica with a personal aide who assists her with driving, college work, and tasks at home. She participates in a program that connects parents of people with disabilities and adults who have disabilities. “I want you to understand that including people with disabilities in our communities benefits everyone. Medicaid helps so many people to live fully in our communities and contribute,” said Norwood.
German Parodi, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: German Parodi studying political science and is involved in community activism around disability rights. “Without Medicaid, I wouldn’t be able to go to college, work, and be a contributing member of my community. This is about our basic civil rights—the right to be free and to live full lives.”
Amelia Wallrich, Chicago, Illinois: Amelia Wallrich attends Northwestern University Law School. Previously, she attended the University of Illinois and completed an internship with Senator Richard Durbin. Wallrich explains, “Our country’s financial stability doesn’t have to be at odds with genuine reform and making people’s lives better.”
“We have to let our elected leaders know that we are watching and they are accountable to us,” said AAPD President and CEO Mark Perriello. “The real Americans on America’s Supercommittee are sending a clear message: our leaders must not erode the opportunities that Medicaid provides millions of Americans with disabilities. Members of Congress are going to hear from thousands more people just like them, and they need to listen,” he added.
“Americans with disabilities and their families are relying on Supercommittee legislators to preserve Medicaid’s vital lifeline which allows eight million people to participate in community life, remain healthy and live to their potential—American values of opportunity, fairness and dignity,” said Stephen Bennett, United Cerebral Palsy President & Chief Executive Officer. “The Supercommittee will compromise American values if it cuts Medicaid’s critical health and long-term care initiatives, upon which those now eligible rely, thus forcing people to leave their homes and live in institutions—at greater expense to taxpayers.”
About United Cerebral Palsy
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.
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The American Association of People with Disabilities is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities.