In Support of The Independent Care Waiver as Oppossed to Instituitional Death

I am truely sorry that my schedule would not allow me to bring my presence to your room at this time. We all realize how critical these next few years are as far as establishing the structure of long term care here in the state of Georgia. We should also realize how very important it is to have consumer input into the questions we are now delving over.

I am proof positive as to the benefits of the waiver program to that of institutional care. I will not brag or go into detail about my accomplishments, what i've been able to do or done or am manifesting now. However, I would like to stress how important it was and is for me to have established a safe, secure, healthy environment in which to create and be inspired. Without the help of the Georgia Medicaid Waiver I would not have had the support to become actively involved in the legislative or logistical aspects of Long Term Care here as well as the basis of Independent Living Philosophy. Without that one element of security in my life I could not and would not have had the ample space to pursue the many endeavors which entice my soul.

It is vitally important that this sort of opportunity be extended to all brothers and sisters whose lives are preoccupied by the most trivial and simple things that we overlook everyday; (things like brushing teeth, washing hair, eating, or even getting up.) In Georgia, we must decide not if there is meaning for these services, but whether we are willing to allow institutional murder to continue unprotected and unadministered simply because a few in past history established contracts which were biasly written to favor corporate profit instead of human compassion.

People like Larry Goolesby who fight all odd to try to live in a community setting and end up transported to a nursing home with no alterative but warehousing at a cost of 30+,000 dollars a year to tax payers. Why is it that he had to like so many others endure strange hardship just to live.

He racked his body for 4 years through attendant after attendat abused, neglected, and at times abandoned. Now his battle lost Larry spends his time in bed being eaten by sores and too much time with nothing to do with it. This is the state of fling winging it that we place the disabled individuals in this state through. If we expect them to come out of this with any sense of Independence or empowerment then we are wrong. We should never have allowed such realities to have existed, but then we are here and not there and must live with the consequences of prior generations.

It is needful that each individual not be allowed to go through what the Larry Goolesby's of the world go through to finally recieve assistance. But also it is needful that the reality I experience everyday be alloted to other individuals so that they too can empower themselves and hopefully others by example and not just empty words. Blooming space must be created for the flowering of other advocates who will spurn the Independent Living Philosophy forward into all issues associated with disability. If we do decide to truely make a difference, then let us do so with whole heartedness and enthusiasm.

The same decisions we make today can either continue to propagate nursing
home death, or begin the ripple that will transcend legislation and grant people once
devastated by fate to lives again touched by inspiration. We should ask not if there is money to provide that type of service, but where the money for these types of programs are currently being spent. Then we should ask not whether disabled individuals (1/5 of the population) deserve access to the same free and beautiful life, but how it got to be that they, we were, and are still denied the simple god-given blessing of conscious experience in a place of personal preference.