Thursday, November 8, 2012

The President Has Been Reelected. What Now for People with Disabilities?

"I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try."
--President Obama's acceptance speech, Nov. 7, 2012
Here are some reactions from disability advocates.

From American Training, Inc.:
"Obama's Victory Speech Includes People with Disabilities. Will His Policies Do the Same?" Chris Lenois writes, "Yes, people with disabilities are part of the President’s vision of the American dream. Obama used practically the same inclusive language at the start of his 2008 acceptance speech and I’m sure many other U.S. Presidents also have done so. Now comes the work to make the vision a reality."But the election is over, mercifully. Now it is time for the country that President Obama called 'the most diverse nation on Earth' early Wednesday morning to open its arms a little wider and embrace the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities who walk among us."
From the American Association for People with Disabilities:
"AAPD looks forward to working with President Obama, his administration, and Members of Congress to continue to expand employment opportunities, improve access to affordable health care, and increase independence for people with disabilities." AAPD President & CEO Mark Perriello said, “President Obama has a strong record on disability issues. I am confident that President Obama’s second term offers an opportunity for significant progress for Americans with disabilities.” Read more.

From Autism Speaks:

In a blog post titled "The Election is Over. Now What?" Shelley Hendrix of Autism Speaks writes: "Autism doesn’t take a break for the holidays. It doesn’t have a lame duck session. It doesn’t conduct business as usual until it is sworn into office....Our community understands that autism is an urgent public health crisis. Over the next couple of months, we need to continue our 1 in 88 Can’t Wait campaign to ensure that our family members, friends and most importantly, our elected officials, understand that as well....

"We have a lot to do....We must unite this community. We must unite our voices. We can make a difference and we can make change, but that change that we all want to see will come faster when we work together. We can do that. We just have to make a commitment to ourselves and our children that we will.

"The Autism Votes advocacy program makes it easy for you to engage to affect change at the state and federal level for people with autism and their families. Sign up today at and when we send you an email, take five minutes to open it then make the call, send the email and ask your friends to help you make a difference."

See also "Following Election, Disability Advocates Fear Budget Cuts," from

Monday, November 5, 2012

Disability Policy and the Election: A Wrap-Up

Still trying to decide who to vote for? Want to easily share a summary of the top issues to people with disabilities? Review this blog's most popular posts this election season:

Easter Seals on Campaign Issues: Exclusive Interview. The head government relations official at Easter Seals on the record of the Obama Administration, health care reform, special education, and key differences between the candidates' positions.

Thank You, Ann Coulter! A response to Coulter's offensive use of the "r-word."

Ayn Rand and Disabilities: Part 1 and Part 2. Why author Ayn Rand is relevant to this year's election, and her shocking disdain for people with disabilities.

Advocates Agree: Health Care Law is Good for People With Disabilities

Obama vs. Romney: The Bottom Line

All things considered, the 2012 presidential election comes down to one issue for people who care about people with disabilities -- and that's health coverage. Put aside the misleading attack ads and confusing statistics, and consider the following facts.

  • Fact 1: The Affordable Care Act prevents insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions or disabilities.
  • Fact 2: The Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid coverage for people with disabilities.
  • Fact 3: Governor Romney has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act on his first day in office.

From the Arc of the United States, read "How the Affordable Care Act Helps People with Disabilities."

Having a major health need, or a chronic health need like a disability, can easily lead to bankruptcy even for working Americans. In Massachusetts, Governor Romney implemented a plan very similar to the Affordable Care Act. Now he wants to deny coverage to 45 million Americans, including veterans, families living in poverty, and people with disabilities. Is that the America we want?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

VOTE -- and Do It Early If You Can. State-by-State Info

 A Message from the Association for Americans with Disabilities (AAPD):
"We would like to take this time to remind everyone that Election Day is fast approaching, and that for many, it has already begun. You have a lot at stake in this election. Many issues like employment, education, and health care will have a real impact in your life and the lives of people you care about. These are issues that affect all of us. Whether it’s you personally or a family member, friend, neighbor, grandparent, parent, or child who has a disability; together we will make sure important programs are preserved. But whatever your issue, whoever your candidate; your vote is important. Join us and the AAPD community by voting early. Your strongest civic tool is your vote and early voting is the best way to ensure your vote is counted. We hope that you are able to get out to vote and make your voice heard. In many states, early voting has already begun. Find out when and where early voting is available in your area."
Check the early voting schedule for your state.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Krugman: This Election Is Really About [Which Program?]

Writing in the New York Times, columnist Paul Krugman says that in many ways, this election is all about Medicaid. That's because if Governor Romney wins, his plan will deny health coverage for up to 45 million people who will have coverage if President Obama is reelected, and two-thirds of those people are current Medicaid recipients. 
More than 9 million Americans benefit from both Medicaid and Medicare, most of them elderly or disabled. Krugman outlines the program and its beneficiaries and points out a fact that would surprise many people -- most Medicaid recipients are in working families.
"For those who get coverage through the program," Krugman writes, "Medicaid is a much-needed form of financial aid. It is also, quite literally, a lifesaver. Mr. Romney has said that a lack of health insurance doesn’t kill people in America; oh yes, it does, and states that expand Medicaid coverage show striking drops in mortality."
Another perception that Krugman corrects is that Medicaid is poorly managed, with skyrocketing costs. Actually, Medicaid controls costs better than the rest of our health care system -- the average cost of care for adult Medicaid recipients is about 20 percent less than it would be under private insurance, and the difference for children is even larger.
Krugman concludes: "By any reasonable standard, this is a program that should be expanded, not slashed — and a major expansion of Medicaid is part of the Affordable Care Act. Why, then, are Republicans so determined to do the reverse, and kill this success story? You know the answers. Partly it’s their general hostility to anything that helps the 47 percent — those Americans whom they consider moochers who need to be taught self-reliance. Partly it’s the fact that Medicaid’s success is a reproach to their antigovernment ideology.
"The question — and it’s a question the American people will answer very soon — is whether they’ll get to indulge these prejudices at the expense of tens of millions of their fellow citizens."

Disability Scoop

Special Ed News (Education Week)

Special Education Law