UNLOCK THE WAITING LIST NOW
The Supreme Court of the United States of America declared, today, June 22, 1999 that Georgia's segregationpolicy of excluding people with disabilities to institutional settings "constitutes a form of discrimination based on disability prohibited by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act".
Georgia's own Tommy Olmstead, then commissioner of the state's Department of
with the support of still Governor Roy Barnes appealed to the Supreme Court through Olmstead vs
LC/EW to continue to proliferate the institutional bias of this Nation, demanding it a right of State's
and budgetary constraint to decide placement of its aging and disabled populations.
This stirred advocates across the Nation to acts of civil disobedience and
loud protest. The New
York Times called GA's stand alarmist. "More than half the states originally lined up to support
Georgia came under political pressure (by people with disabilities) to support the concept of
maximizing community placement. By the time the case was first argued in April, only seven states
remained in Georgia's corner: Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, and
ADAPT advocates here in Georgia met with Governor Barnes to discuss dropping
the case but he
refused, calling it a "states rights issue". Even after campaigning for our support pre-election citing
favor to community based services and the "Unlock The Waiting List Campaign", Governor Barnes
and Georgia's Long Term Care policy, continue to favor unnecessary and useless incarceration of
person's to institutional settings.
Involved with the Department of Medical Assistance's Long Term Care Advisory
Board for 3 years
now, and having given testimony at many of the Public Outreach Forums put on every year, I've
noticed a cycle of misrepresentation that condemns person's like myself to nursing home placement.
"It is not a lack of money which is the central issue but whether state's and corporations have the
right to profit at the expense of the people." Every year it's the same thing. We meet. The
Department tells us what they did, are doing, and asks us what we want. Those priorities are
considered then reflected in the DMA's proposed budget to the Governor. We ask for the same 5
things every year 1) increase the various waiver programs, 2) provide more inclusive community
based services, 3) better transportation issues, 4 and 5) free dental/eyeglass and examinations for the
Adult Medicaid community.
Every year whether it's Zell Miller or Roy Barnes, the Governor's veto those
proposals citing own
executive agendas, taking in to account the wishes of those powerhouse lobbyist who contributed
largely to election campaigns. We as the part of the general republic don't seem to matter because
we lack money to buy lobbying time and lack direct power to affect their campaign. 1/3 OF THE
MONEY GIVEN TO NURSING HOME INDUSTRIES JUST THIS YEAR WOULD HAVE
EFFECTIVELY WIPED OUT EVERY "WAITING LIST" in Georgia, saving thousands of persons
struggling just to survive patchwork realities, unnecessary incarceration and nursing home placement
at costs greater to the State than community placement.
Let me provide example from the DMA Budget FY2000
Enhancement Number 11 - Increase reimbursement rates to nursing facilities
by adding the 1999
DRI inflation factor less a 1% efficiency adjustment to the 1996 cost report
DMA request $6,282,378 Governor's Recommendation $21,466,428.
Enhancement 13- Increase nursing home intensity factors from 1%, 2%, 3% to
3%, 4%, and 5%
DMA request $0.00 Governor's Recommendation $4,654,574.
Enhancement 3- Fund 4,600 new slots in the Community Care Services Program
to effectively wipe
out the "Waiting Lists"
DMA Request $9,341,722 Governor's Recommendation $0.00
Enhancement 4- Fund 400 new slots in the Independent Care Waiver Program to
out the "Waiting Lists"
DMA Request 7,964,000 Governor's Recommendation $700,323
Clearly our State and our Representatives either misunderstand or do not care
about the quality of
life for its aging and disabled communities. I urge you to do two things. Register to vote and ask
everyone you know to do the same. Second, join advocacy groups and associations which will help
you access and be a part of a gathering of numbers and minds which can only benefit us all.
Disabled broke Medicaid person's cannot afford the traditional system of buying
campaign contribution. However we can exercise the extra-ordinary power of voting privilege to
insure that people like Tommy Olmstead and Roy Barnes never represent the deciding factor in our
lives. Almost 2000 and it was just today decided that it is not a crime to be disabled in America.
Olmstead vs LC/EW has come down from the Highest Court in our favor and set the standard for
inclusion, equal rights, justice, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all person's in America.
We must band together in education and awareness to make our concerns known
Governer Barnes, I've written you previously on occasion to persuade you to remember your so
graciously promised support of "Unlock the Waiting List" and home-community-based services,
while mounting the platform on Legislative Day in Macon prior to our voting for your election.. Need
I remind you that ADAPT/We are committed to restructuring the institutional bias of this state and
nation. All we ask is our State uphold the Supreme Courts decision for fair inclusion for all people's
and the children of our tomorrow futures.