NYT: Disability Rights Group Rallies in Support of Health Law

Disability Rights Group Rallies in Support of Health Law

By Ashley Parker   New York Times  September 30, 2013


By midday Monday, roughly three dozen members of a grass-roots disability rights group called Adapt, many of them in motorized wheelchairs, had gathered on the steps of the Longworth House Office Building to protest House Republicans’ repeated attempts to repeal and delay President Obama’s health care law.


Mike Oxford, 54, who has a spinal injury, said people with disabilities were at a disadvantage no matter what. “If the government shuts down, there goes the money that pays for our home and community services, housing funding, transportation.” he said. “On the other hand, if the Affordable Care Act gets abolished, repealed, we’ve got three major programs in there.”


Referring to House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, Mr. Oxford added: “The guy just totally doesn’t care. He’s thinking only about his narrow political interests.”


At one point, the group — people in wheelchairs and with service dogs and some using sign language — slowly formed a single-file line, and made their way to the other side of the building, where another group of Adapt members were waiting.


As the other members came into view, Carl Grayson, 36, of Rochester, N.Y., who said he has a learning disability, said, “Look at that, I like it!”


Earlier, roughly 20 Adapt members went inside the building to try to visit Mr. Boehner’s office. They said the door was locked, but they chanted and marched in the hallway until Capitol police asked them to leave.


“Our message was stop defunding our freedom, because of his attacks on the Affordable Care Act,” said Anita Cameron, 48, of Denver, one of the group’s organizers. “Defend our freedom. Don’t defund our freedom.”


She said the current health care law, which Republicans want to repeal — or at least delay — contained provisions that allow members of the disabled community to be cared for in their homes, rather than in institutions.