Don’t Sacrifice People with Disabilities in the Budget Deal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

United Cerebral Palsy Contacts:
Lauren Cozzi, 202-973-7114, LCozzi@ucp.org
Alicia Kubert Smith, 202-973 7168, akubertsmith@ucp.org

American Association of People with Disabilities Contact:
David Hale: 202-521-4305, dhale@appd.com

Don’t Sacrifice People with Disabilities in the Budget Deal

The majority of Medicaid funds are used for the eight million Americans with disabilities who benefit from the program

Washington, D.C. – July 22, 2011 – As negotiations around the debt ceiling and budget continue, the American Association of People with Disabilities and United Cerebral Palsy urge lawmakers not to sacrifice people with disabilities in the budget deal.

“There are a lot of choices to be made in any final budget deal, but we want elected officials to explain how they would justify tax breaks for corporate jets if they deny a person with a disability a wheelchair,” said Helena Berger, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of AAPD. “Cuts to Medicaid would slash essential services that make it possible for people with disabilities and their families to be productive and contributing members of their community.  For a person with a disability who wants to work, who wants to get out there and contribute to her community, to be responsible for herself—we can’t say to that person ‘no, this country doesn’t value what you have to offer’.”

“This country makes a commitment to a life of opportunity for every child born today. If that child has a disability, Medicaid is their safety net. By gutting Medicaid, elected officials are betraying their promise not only to those children, but also to American families who rely on that support to be contributing members of society; it becomes an empty promise,” said Stephen Bennett, former United Cerebral Palsy’s President & Chief Executive Officer.

Individuals and their families who benefit from Medicaid – and who are examples of the millions affected – are available for interview:

  • Anna Libenow of Providence, Rhode Island, who relies on personal assistance paid for by Medicaid that lets her work and volunteer in her community;
  • The Hetrick family of Columbus, Ohio, who depends on Medicaid for assistance for their son Micah, who has Down syndrome, so his mother Sue can go to work and support their family; and
  • Linda and Javi Guzman, who count on Medicaid to provide an aide and life skills training for Javi, while Linda works.

 

These families are real-life examples of the increased cost of not having Medicaid as a safety net. If Medicaid and other entitlements are slashed, Anna Libenow, Sue Hetrick and Linda Guzman aren’t the only Americans who might have to quit their jobs. Millions of other Americans might have to do the same because of lack of supports.

The majority of Medicaid funds are used for the eight million Americans with disabilities who benefit from the program.

Polling shows that the majority of Americans oppose cuts to Medicaid, e.g.: A Washington Post-ABC News Poll found that 69 percent opposed cuts to Medicaid to reduce deficit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/postpoll_04172011.html.

Both organizations are encouraged by President Obama’s latest statement during today’s University of Maryland Town Hall, where he said there are a certain set of equities they are not willing to sacrifice, including core commitments to Medicaid:

27:51 – http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/PresidentialTownHallMeeting

 “…Now we’re not going to solve the entire debt deficit in the next ten days. So there’s still going to be more work to do after this. What we’re doing is to try to make sure that any deal that we strike protects our core commitments to Medicare and Medicaid recipients, to senior citizens, to veterans. We want to make sure that student loans remain affordable. We want to make sure that poor kids can still get a check up, that food stamps are still available for folks who are desperately in need. We want to make sure that unemployment insurance continues for those who are out there looking for work, so there are going to be a certain set of equities that we’re not willing to sacrifice…”

Learn more about the real life Faces of Medicaid:

Hear their recorded stories:

 

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.

About The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country’s largest cross-disability membership association, organizes the disability community to be a powerful force for change – politically, economically, and socially.  AAPD was founded in 1995 to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national force for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To learn more, visit the AAPD website: www.AAPD.com.

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