Washington, D.C. (July 9, 2011) —On Tuesday, July 12, Americans with disabilities and their family members will meet White House officials and members of Congress to discuss the way that Medicaid has strengthened their families and provided them with opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach. These everyday Americans will meet with the most powerful people in government to share their stories and provide a human face to the debt ceiling negotiations. The Administration has signaled their strong support for Medicaid and other programs critical to people with disabilities. It is vital that this support continues and that members of Congress work with the Administration to prevent devastating cuts.
Medicaid is a lifeline for 8 million children and adults with disabilities, among others including millions of seniors and families.
“It is critical that President Obama continue his support for Medicaid and that members of Congress stand up for the most vulnerable people in America. Leaders in Washington must not balance the budget on the backs of people with disabilities, children, the elderly, and the poor,” said Mark Perriello, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).
“Tackling our nation’s budget woes cannot be combined with an attack on people with disabilities, their families, and caregivers,” said Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of United Cerebral Palsy. “Medicaid is a fundamental lynchpin for people with disabilities to live and work independently in communities across our nation. To eliminate this vital support is short-sighted and wrong.”
People meeting with White House officials and Capitol Hill offices include:
Linda and Javi Guzman (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
Linda is a single mom whose 17-year old son, Javi, has both autism and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Medicaid provides him health care, daytime assistance, and training in life skills that will help him achieve an independent life. Linda explained, “Without the services from Medicaid, I would have to quit my job and go on public assistance, or even worse I would have to possibly place Javi in an institution that costs a lot more than Medicaid services.”
Anna Liebenow (Providence, Rhode Island)
Anna has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair. She lives alone and is unable to get in and out of bed without assistance. Because of Medicaid, she has an aide who helps her with getting out of bed and other basic activities. Because Medicaid provides this service, Anna is able to work and volunteer in her community.
Sue and Micah Hetrick (Columbus, Ohio)
Sue’s son Micah has Down Syndrome. Through Medicaid he gets assistance from an aide during the day, enabling his mother to work. Without this aide, his mother would likely need to be on public assistance herself.
In addition to providing aides to assist people with disabilities, Medicaid also provides access to wheelchairs and prosthetic devices for people with spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Medicaid pays for prescription drugs for persons with mental illnesses, epilepsy and other medical conditions. Medicaid enables people with intellectual disabilities to live and work in the community by providing skill-building and support programs, and through Early and Periodic Screening Diagnosis & Treatment programs Medicaid helps identify children’s disabilities early and gets them the care they need.
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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.