National Disability Rights organization ADAPT, a strictly nonpartisan group of activists, is feeling liberated after yesterday’s midterm elections handed the country a divided Congress. Having spent the past two years fighting the constant threat of Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and cuts to Medicaid, ADAPT sees the elections as a chance to fight for the Disability Community’s freedom, rather than its existence. ADAPT, which is widely credited with defeating Republican attempts to repeal the ACA and block grant/cap Medicaid, signaled that they would now be focused on advancing the Disability Integration Act (DIA) to ensure disabled people’s right to live in the community.
“We can finally take a breath after two years of fighting for our lives and actually work for our freedom” said ADAPT organizer Dawn Russell of Colorado. “The threat to Medicaid showed us why DIA was so important, until our right to live in freedom is guaranteed under federal it will continue to be under threat!”
“The divided Congress allows us to work on our issues rather than have to constantly defend ourselves,” said ADAPT organizer Marilee Adamski-Smith of Wisconsin. “Passing DIA means ensuring that the freedom many Americans take for granted is extended to disabled and older Americans as well.”
The legislation would require any insurance company that would pay for nursing facility or institutional placement to also cover long term supports and services in an individual’s home in the community. DIA is bipartisan legislation sponsored in the House by Representative Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and by Minority Leader Schumer (D-NY) in the Senate.
“Ensuring the freedom of any Americans should never be a partisan issue!” said ADAPT organizer Josue Rodrigues of Texas. “While many are busy fighting to put one side or the other in control, we know that progress for the Disability Community has only ever come when Democrats and Republicans have worked together. We saw this with the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and with the American’s with Disabilities Act, and we know it will make DIA a reality as well.”
ADAPT has already begun to shift its emphasis to the DIA. “We spent midterms pressuring politicians from both sides to commit their support to DIA and we saw Republicans and Democrats who found success in supporting the bill. Of the 146 people up for reelection that cosponsored DIA, 127 won and are returning to the next Congress. Of the remaining 19, ten did not run for re-election and nine lost their seats. Even so, four of the newly elected members of Congress have already committed to cosponsoring the bill.” Said ADAPT Organizer Bruce Darling of New York. “It was great to see so many in the Disability Community make the bill a big part of earning the Disability Vote. We are especially grateful to Disability Action for America for making it a key component required for their endorsement, and to the #CripTheVote community for using their platform to support the bill. The last two years have been exhausting, thanks to all of this support we finally feel as though we can push forward pro-actively.”
ADAPT’s history, the issues we are fighting for, and our activities can be found at www.adapt.org, the National ADAPT Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NationalAdapt/ page, and on Twitter https://twitter.com/NationalADAPT under the hashtag #ADAPTandRESIST.