WHAT: With a Majority in the House and as the Number of U.S. Senators Needed to Pass the Disability Integration Act Narrows, ADAPT Demands Collins Take Action
WHERE: 413 Dirksen Senate Office Building
WHEN: October 22, 2019
Disabled Americans with experience living in institutions as well as those at risk of returning to or being confined in such institutions are gathered today at 413 Dirksen Senate Office Building to bring a message to Senator Susan Collins – a message that disabled people should not be forced to live in institutions. Senator Collins is not a co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act (S.117) which would prevent further infringement of the right of disabled people to live with freedom in the community. Disabled people are looking for the Senator’s support.
“Two years ago, we celebrated Senator Collin’s willingness to stand up against the Graham-Cassidy bill, which would have affirmatively destroyed disabled people’s access to the services and supports we need to live,” said Colleen Flanagan, an organizer with ADAPT in Boston, MA, and who was present at the protests during the Graham-Cassidy hearings in 2017. “But the Senator had the opportunity to actually preserve access to community-based services, and she hasn’t.” After preventing the destruction of Medicaid, the largest payer of the long-term services and supports disabled people rely upon, National ADAPT has fought to ensure access to those services and supports in the community – not in institutions. “We’re sick and tired of defending against being murdered – we want to LIVE,” continued Flanagan.
Collins is already a co-sponsor of the EMPOWER CARE act which would continue funding a program called Money Follows the Person (MFP), which sees that money spent on services in institutions is directed to fund community-based services – following the individual so they can receive community-based services instead. “We need our Senators to recognize that people are kept locked up by an institutional bias, but reauthorization means disabled people actually have a life like everyone else,” said Roberta Wallach, a member of Rochester ADAPT who lived in a nursing facility but moved out with help from fellow activists. MFP is not permanent and requires periodic reauthorization. Meanwhile, the Disability Integration Act (DIA) would ensure a choice by anyone needing long term services and supports to receive those services in the community – a bona fide civil rights law not subject to reauthorization like MFP.
While Collins has already shown support for disability rights legislation by co-sponsoring the EMPOWER CARE act, she has yet to support and co-sponsor the Disability Integration Act, a bipartisan bicameral civil and disability rights legislation. “The DIA would end the institutional bias once and for all. Maine has 27,000 people who could benefit from community-based home care. Attendant services are critical to disabled people like me who want to live in the community. Senator Collins should publicly support and co-sponsor DIA today!” said Cathy Cranston, an organizer with ADAPT of Texas.
For decades ADAPT has worked to secure for disabled Americans the same rights and liberties enjoyed by their non-disabled neighbors. ADAPT’s history, the issues we are fighting for and our activities can be followed on our web site at www.adapt.org, our ADAPT Facebook page and on Twitter – look for #ADAPTandRESIST