Disabled activists have been leading the charge to save Medicaid from GOP cuts, from Fairbanks, Alaska to Orlando, Florida; from Portland, Maine to Phoenix, Arizona. Bruce Darling is a longtime activist with ADAPT, the disability-rights group that has fought for decades for the right of people with disabilities to live in and be treated equally in the broader community. Now those hard-won rights are at risk as the Republicans aim to cut over $770 billion from Medicaid, the service that pays for home care attendants, medications, wheelchairs, and lifesaving equipment for millions of Americans. Bruce joined me to talk about ADAPT’s fight against “Trumpcare.”
For us, what this bill will do is…disabled Americans will die. Others will be forced into institutions and increase this terrible feedback loop because institutions are more expensive. With capped funds it will drive more money to the institutions, making less money available for healthcare and services and supports in the community, so more folks will die and go into institutions. We wanted to people to see it is the equivalent of basically being dragged off; the way they saw it on the news, that is actually what happens, even now with the Medicaid program as it is. This will just make it far, far, far worse.
…We wanted to highlight that using language that we thought, or hoped, Republicans would understand. There isn’t an asterisk on the Constitution that says “Except disabled Americans.” We should have a birthright of life and liberty. Medicaid is the thing that actually pays for and supports our lives and our liberty in the community. So cutting that is actually cutting the lives and liberty of disabled Americans. It is killing disabled Americans. We really wanted to drive that point home.
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