Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Lots of Legislation: Walk through the Web With Me

Now the web on this tour is not like the lovely web in this picture... naturally not.

Our web is more like the one that I walked through on my porch this morning--all globbed up and folded on itself and stuck to me...

Now doesn't that sound like fun?

Seriously though, there is a lot of legislation and government activity going on right now that affects many aspects of living with disability. We can have an impact for ourselves or for our kids if we take action now.

First up, of course, is healthcare:

Healthcare coverage for people with disabilities is a very tricky and delicate proposal. And it not only affects people's health... it also impacts potential for employment and often even where a person with a disability can live.

Healthcare, is of course, necessary for people with disabilities and it can also be expensive. Therefore employers are often hesitant to hire people whose high health needs will make insurance more expensive for their company...

Employeers often need not worry though... even if they did hire someone with a disability and offer them insurance the likeliehood is that the person with a disability would be turned down for coverage because their disability is "pre-existing condition."

So then what does a person who needs care do? They sign on for Medicaid.

The care can be ok depending on your state, your town, your caregivers and all, but now you have to stay eligible...

To be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid you can't have more than $2000 in assets to your name.

So you can't work. At least not much...

This is why so many people with disabilities want a public option for health insurance--something affordable that they can buy on their own. So they can separate their healthcare from their employer AND make a living...

Action: Call (800)828-0498 and ask to be put through to your Senator's office. Let them know that these issues matter to someone you love.

More about healthcare:

Under the current payment systems for Medicaid and Medicare funding is guaranteed for people who live in nursing homes and other institutions and not guaranteed except under a variance for people to live in their own homes in the community.

Now living in your own home is more desireable, AND it has also been proven to be more cost-effective... but that isn't where the money goes. This 'institutional bias' forces many people who could live and work in the community to live in care systems they neither need or want...

What is being proposed under the Community Choice First Act is that the "money will follow the person" rather than the current system of the money going to organizations to divvy up the way they choose. This will allow folks who need or want more comprehensive care in a small or large facility to have the funds for them spent that way. And for the folks who want to stay home, the money for their care can be spent on community-based services.

Action: Check out this website and this website. Then go to this page click on the healthcare reform issue and fill out the capwiz. It will take about 5 minutes...

Now, about employment:

As you can see in this article, President Obama has declared that October is Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Creating employment opportunities for the 65-75% of people with disabilities who are unemployed in this country, most of whom live in poverty (see above) will improve their lives...

It will also improve the economy. There are millions of folks who are not participating in the economy either as worker or as customers because of the unnecessary poverty that is foist upon them.

This is NOT the future I want for my daughter.

Action: Pay attention locally for forums, discussions and events. Participate. Get to know the folks there. Pay attention to barriers and help build bridges in your workplace and community.

And the good news:

Not only can you have an impact on a complex and sticky bunch of issues, but it's actually good for you.

Yep, it's true. Read this article.

Now, aren't you glad you stopped by?

Picture from here.

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