FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 17, 2012
Cassie James Holdsworth, 215 219 0694 Philadelphia PA
Pam Auer, 717 798 2807 Harrisburg PA
Bruce Darling, 585 370 6690 Rochester NY
DISABILITY ACTIVISTS TELL MITT ROMNEY: "NO" TO MEDICAID CUTS AND BLOCK GRANTS
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania----Disability rights activists with the national grassroots group ADAPT have surrounded the Romney campaign office at 20 N. 2nd Street for a protest against the Romney/Ryan platform on Medicaid. The campaign offices are on the third floor. The activists, many of whom rely on Medicaid-funded home and community based services, are against the Romney campaign's position of cutting $810 billion from Medicaid in the next 10 years---amounting to one third of the entire Medicaid program. The protest involves street theater casting Romney as the executioner with an axe making 810 billion cuts to Medicaid.
"Our issue is that the Romney/Ryan plan proposes to cut 1/3 of federal Medicaid dollars which will utterly decimate Medicaid home and community based service in every state," said Nancy Salandra of Philadelphia ADAPT. "Our problem is that Romney and Ryan are not paying attention to what people with disabilities and seniors really want. Right now, Pennsylvania spends 85% of its Medicaid long term care dollars on costly nursing facilities, instead of investing in more cost effective home and community based services like Community First Choice Option and Balancing Incentive Program from the Affordable Care Act. When you have a situation where most people just want to live in their own homes, this fiscal policy is criminal."
"You can't just make cuts without understanding what good the existing money does," said Shona Eakin of Erie, Pa., ADAPT. "Our lives are not a business. Home services help my husband and I work and raise our children. The Romney/Ryan plan threatens our two children as well as us."
The protest is on the heels of four days of action by ADAPT in Harrisburg. On Sunday, ADAPT held a press conference at the Governor's Mansion, denouncing Governor Corbett's rollback of Medicaid home and community based services. On Monday, ADAPT took over the Harrisburg State Capitol rotunda, appropriations chair offices, and the Governor's office, winning promises of a hearing on their issues from Democrats. On Tuesday, ADAPT stormed the building housing the offices of Secretary Gary Alexander's Department of Public Welfare, which controls Pennsylvania Medicaid. 83 people were arrested. "The only thing more important than our lives is our freedom," said Pam Auer of Harrisburg ADAPT. "We were willing to risk arrest yesterday because our freedom to live at home is at stake."
For more information about ADAPT and to see this week's press releases, go to the Harrisburg Action page.