Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ryan Budget: "Dangerous to People with Disabilities"

At times in his political career, Governor Romney has been known as a solid moderate. As governor of Massachusetts, he was praised by noted liberal Senator Ted Kennedy for pushing for progressive health care reform and expanding coverage for that state's residents. In fact, "Romneycare" became a model for "Obamacare," and both Romney and Obama relied on the same adviser to help shape those plans.

But as the Republican Party shifts to the right, Romney sent a strong signal to the right wing of the party when he selected Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. Unlike Romney, Ryan has a clear voting record at the federal level, and his proposals for the federal budget are the closest we have to a Romney-Ryan policy plan.

If you are concerned about disability issues, you don't need a crystal ball to see how disability advocates will react to a Romney-Ryan agenda. All you have to do is look back to March and see the reaction to his proposed budget as chairman of the House Budget Committee. The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a group of 113 organizations representing the needs of people with disabilities, issued a strongly worded statement calling his proposal 
"dangerous for people with disabilities as it calls for deep cuts to Medicaid, deep cuts in spending for non-defense discretionary programs that support the health and well-being of people with disabilities, and would lead to tens of millions of Americans losing their health insurance or become underinsured."
 Donna Melzer, chairperson of CCD, said:
“The programs that would be cut under this bill make up the safety net of programs that people with disabilities of all ages depend upon. This Budget Resolution flies in the face of the Budget Control Act of last August, which was carefully negotiated and set already tough spending caps on both defense and non-defense programs. This budget goes much deeper than those caps. CCD urges a more balanced approach to deficit reduction.”
CCD's statement also said:
"Chairman Ryan says that these cuts to programs are necessary due to the nation’s severe fiscal situation. However, these cuts, and in some cases even wholesale elimination of programs, would surely be worse. Under Chairman Ryan’s budget many more people with and without disabilities will be in dire straits losing access toboth physical and mental health care that is urgently needed, veterans would not benefits from critical health and employment services, and children will not have access to supports and services in the education arena. This is not the America that CCD envisions for anyone."
And what did Governor Romney said about that same plan?
“I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. I think it’d be marvellous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan’s budget and adopt it and pass it along to the President.” [source: Ryan Lizza, "Fussbudget: How Paul Ryan Captured the GOP," The New Yorker, Aug. 6, 2012]
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