Is anybody else exhausted? The constant phone calls and social media posts; the hard-won meetings with Senators or their staff; the advocacy rallies; the worry; the constant worry!
Every day seems like groundhogs day when it comes to political issues that would have a real, and present danger for our children and adults with disabilities.
In less than two months, the Senate healthcare bill, which would cut $800 billion from Medicaid, was changed twice without a public hearing and delayed 3 times. In just the past 24 hours the bill went from losing support from 2 Conservative Republican Senators, to a last ditch effort under a potential procedural vote to just repeal Obamacare (without a replacement), to immediate opposition to a repeal and no replacement by 3 moderate Republican Senators. Are you following?
The healthcare debate is like a zombie apocalypse: it never dies!
But really, this is how a representative democracy works–Not the zombie apocalypse part, but the checks and balances part. Our founding fathers set up a system of incremental governance for a reason. Level heads must prevail! And it seems they have, in part because of disability advocates.
Almost every disability advocacy group, and many other health professionals organizations, have spent countless hours on the phone, email, social media, in offices, and on the steps of Capitol Hill, opposing the healthcare bill.
I, myself, have always been a silent activist. I would easily foment my distaste of a particular topic in the comfort of my own home.
But like thousands of other special needs parents, for the first time I’m coming out! Medicaid cuts would have a real impact on my son’s future independence. It’s too important not to speak out!
Republican Senator John McCain recently called for what should have been happening all along in this debate: “The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care.” I know I would have had much more respect for a bill that was hashed out in public, and included compromises from both sides.
Of course the war is not won, but we’re winning some important battles. The message here: resistance works! It’s exhausting, but it works. During the battle it’s not always clear if it works, but the result of the healthcare debate is proof it does.
Disability advocates demand transparency and reforms that don’t stall hard-fought progress for independent living and supports for our children with Down syndrome. We’re not going away!