Sunday, April 29, 2007

ADAPT Activists Arrested in Washington

99 Arrested as ADAPT Demands U.S. House Hearings on Community Choice Act

Washington, D.C.--- 99 arrests occurred when ADAPT invaded the
Rayburn House Office Building to push for hearings on the Community Choice
Act (CCA, S 799 and H.R. 1621) by the House Energy and Commerce Committee
Subcommittee on Health. ADAPT took over the hearing room along with the
office of Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), and filled
the horseshoe drive outside the Rayburn front door.

"We've been waiting for ten years for this legislation to pass,
and all the while Congress has refused to act on this national scandal of
America forcing people into nursing homes against their will," said Dawn
Russell, currently with ADAPT in Colorado. "I had to leave my home state
of Tennessee in order to get the assistance that would keep me out of a
nursing home. I want so much to be able to go home to Tennessee to be with
my family, but I can't because then I'd be forced into a nursing home just
because I need personal assistance to get through my day, and Tennessee
refuses to provide that assistance to people in their own homes. I won't
give up my freedom, my privacy, my dignity and the control over my life,
so I have to stay in exile in Colorado."

The CCA was introduced in March 2007, and is the newest version of
legislation that would remove the institutional bias in the nation's
outdated Medicaid program by allowing Medicaid to pay for the services and
supports people need to remain in their own homes. Currently under
Medicaid, states are federally mandated to provide only nursing home
services, and are not equally mandated to provide similar services in a
person's own home, thus diverting the person from being forced into a
nursing home or other institution. In order for the CCA to move through
Congress, the next step is to hold hearings. ADAPT met with the Democratic
National Committee (DNC) last week, and is meeting with the Republican
National Committee (RNC) this week to garner their support for hearings,
and to gain additional co-sponsors.

"It's easy for Congress to ignore us," said Guadalupe Vasquez of
Texas ADAPT. "After all, they all make a very good living and have great
benefits, and so they will never have to face the prospect of forced
institutionalization and loss of their freedom. On the other hand, many of
us live on $600/month, so we are the people who Congress, by its inaction,
is guaranteeing will lose our freedom. We'll lose our freedom, and we'll
be relegated to back wards where we will lie in our own waste until
someone eventually takes the time to change us, and where we acquire
deadly pressure sores because no one takes the time to reposition us. It's
way past time for Congress to correct this travesty."

The ability to stay in one's own home with needed services is even
more critical now that the baby boom generation has entered its
"disability years," the time of life when they are most likely to acquire
disabilities that will cause them to leave the workforce and apply for
disability benefits. Some members of ADAPT have been part of the
organization since its inception nearly 25 years ago, going from being
younger people with disabilities forced into nursing homes to elders of
retirement age, again being threatened with forced institutionalization.

Observed Barbara Toomer of Utah ADAPT, "More and more of us have
come to see the need for home and community-based services from two
perspectives- disability and aging. The perspectives may differ a bit, but
the desire to remain in our own homes with the services and supports we
need is exactly the same. We must assure passage of the Community Choice
Act now."

On Tuesday, May 1, ADAPT will host HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson
for a meeting at their hotel in the morning, and then will meet with Mike
Hudson, Chair of the Republican National Committee in the afternoon.


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