Become an advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities and Opportunity Enterprises
Here are some ways to advocate:
- Invite friends to OE events. See the list of upcoming events.
- Speak well of those with disabilities. Here are some guidelines.
- Display a Disability Awareness poster at your office or school. Download one here.
- Contact your legislator in support of individuals with disabilities and the staff that serve them. Click here to download a complete guide.
An Open Letter to Those that Love and Support Someone with a Disability
Dear Family and Friends of Opportunity Enterprises and Community Members who Care about Individuals with Disabilities,
As I’m sure you’re aware, the US House of Representatives recently passed the American Health Care Act. Much has been said in the media regarding the implications of this bill, however, we wanted to make you aware of the devastating consequences this bill will have on individuals with disabilities if this bill is passed by the Senate in its current state. Once you understand the overarching nature of this bill, we are confident you will be moved to act.
The underlying concern with the American Health Care Act as it is now is that individuals with disabilities, those least able to stand up for their own rights or even have awareness of what those rights should be will have their services revoked. Medicaid, which nearly all people with disabilities rely on for services such as transportation to medical appointments, support services such as on—site direct support professionals, job training, assistive technologies, and many forms of therapeutic curriculum-based programs that lead to self-sufficiency will no longer have the funding necessary to provide the services our loved ones deserve.
Here are three stories that will help shape the picture of how important this bill is to all of us –
Amy* has been a client of Opportunity Enterprises for several years. While here, she was able to participate in curriculum-based day programming that allowed her to continually meet and exceed her daily goals. Through the programs, she gained the skills necessary to become a gainfully employed citizen of our community where she bought her own house and contributes to the quality of life we all share. Without the services Amy received at OE, she would likely still be on the Medicaid rolls unable to care for herself properly.
Brian* found OE after an accident left him paralyzed. Due to the severity of his injuries, he found it challenging to find work and for potential employers to provide the accommodations he needed. Through OE’s employment services and assistive technologies, he secured a position, regularly uses his skills and training, and is a tax-contributing member of the community. Without services like OE provides, Brian might likely still be unemployed and surviving on disability subsidies.
Joan* lives in one of OE’s group homes where she is able to learn skills that allow her to live semi-independently such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Because she is cared for and has 24-hour staff on-site, Joan’s elderly mother does not worry that she won’t be cared for. If the AHCA bill passes now, Joan would have to move back home with her mother until her mother was 80 years old which would be incredibly difficult given her mother’s health.
We’ve changed the names of these stories to protect our *clients’ privacy, but the stories are no less true. Without proper support structures around those with disabilities, including Medicaid, they will directly suffer, they will not continue to make progress toward self-sufficiency, and they will not be the contributing members of society they deserve to be.
Medicaid, like many government regulated programs, is not perfect, but before we throw it out completely and by so doing hurt those with the most to lose, we should evaluate how it can be restructured instead to help those who need it most.
If you believe as I do, that individuals with disabilities deserve the best care possible, and not just a baseline survival subsistence, please consider contacting Senators Joe Donnelly (D) at 317-226-5555 or 202-224-4814 and Todd Young (R) at 317-226-6700 or 202-224-5623. You can even do it via a simple new text tool, ResistBot by texting “RESIST” to 50409 and following the prompts. Share what is important to you, how you or your loved one will be affected. Encourage others to join the campaign by social media, and log on to www.oppent.org/advocacy to keep up to date on what your next step can be to make sure individuals with disabilities are not left behind by the AHCA.
For Amy*, Brian*, Joan* and the rest of our Amazing clients and all those with disabilities, Ellen DeMartinis, CEO
Ellen DeMartinis, CEO
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE INFORMATION ON AHCA:
#SAVEMEDICAID resource guide